12 Apr It’s Official, CoCo Owns 7514 S. Vermont! The Future Home of the Center for Community Organizing
By SADE ELHAWARY | Director of Strategic Initiatives &
VALERY MENDOZA-MARTINEZ | Special Projects Manager
Community Coalition is extremely excited to announce that we officially became the owners of our second site on April 4, 2022. Located at 7514 S. Vermont Avenue, the new building will house the Center for Community Organizing (CCO). The CCO will be a trailblazing national school for organizers, civic leadership training center, a cross-city learning lab, an inside/outside strategy think tank, and an arts & cultural activism hub. The space will be a People’s Center to harness the power of communities and support activists across the nation in multi-racial organizing toward our collective freedom.
From the beginning of this process to acquire a site, CoCo organizers worked closely with our members to ensure we focused on the idea of reclaiming our land and the importance of community-led economic development projects. With the community’s leadership, we have seen a bustling transformation of the Vermont Corridor that reflects the urgent needs of South LA residents. The CCO will be a people-centered campus anyone can use to hold community activities. This acquisition marks another win for our community’s ownership of their neighborhood!
Last Thursday, April 7th, CoCo celebrated with over 75 residents in our parking lot. The celebration was the culmination of residents’ work through five focus groups. What a great way to kick off our 2022 membership events and our first in-person South Central LA Community Meeting since the start of the pandemic! As one attendee shared, there were many favorite moments, but one, in particular, stood out: “Elders and high school youth dancing alongside each other while chanting ‘South LA is our home!”
Bringing our community together to mark this momentous occasion also included a photo booth for members, keychains to display community ownership of the new building, and architectural designs that showcased the community’s input. This event was truly an organization-wide effort. The CCO team worked closely with the Adult and Youth Organizing teams and our Administration and Arts+Culture departments. Huge shout out to all of our facilitators and volunteers! Lastly, none of this would be possible without the incredible leadership of our Executive Vice President Aurea Montes-Rodriguez, our CEO Alberto Retana and our outstanding Board of Directors.