University of Southern California

USC Event Calendar

Visions and Voices

  • Voices of South L.A.: Civic Action and Community Voice

    Visions and Voices

    -

    A dynamic discussion will highlight the visions of activists and leaders concerned with the disparities and injustices that structure life in South L.A. Panelists include journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan; Francisco Ortega of the L.A. Human Relations Commission; Community Coalition’s Alberto Retana; and media maker Sahra Sulaiman.

    In light of USC’s recent expansion and potential impact on our neighbors, it is crucial that we take stock of the university’s role in the civic and community life beyond our walls, and understand the significant work, service and fellowship already being cultivated by community members and institutions. A three-part series will examine community building in and around USC and South Los Angeles, with a focus on movements and organizations that are responding to the disparities and injustices that structure life in South L.A. Their daily leadership, sacrifice and creativity helps bind South L.A., catalyzing progressive and sustained neighborhood change.

    A dynamic discussion will highlight the visions of activists and leaders from the worlds of neighborhood journalism and community organizing. Panelists include journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan, one of the primary chroniclers of African American life in Los Angeles; Francisco Ortega of the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission; Community Coalition’s Alberto Retana; and media maker Sahra Sulaiman, who works with South L.A. youth and others in the fight for residents’ safe access to the streets.

    About the Panelists:

    Erin Aubry Kaplan is a journalist and columnist who writes about African American life in Los Angeles. She was op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times from 2005 to 2007, and was the first black op-ed columnist in the newspaper's history. Currently, she is a contributing editor to the op-ed section of the LA Times, and was a staff writer and columnist for the LA Weekly and New Times Los Angeles. She is a regular contributor to many publications, including Salon.com, Essence, Black Enterprise, BlackAmericaWeb, Ms. and the Independent, and is a columnist for make/shift magazine. (Official website)
     
    Francisco Ortega is the immigration-policy advisor and South Los Angeles policy advisor for the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission. He helps facilitate community access to local government by empowering historically underrepresented, special-needs communities with the knowledge, skills and leadership training to participate effectively. He also helps to establish and maintain neighborhood councils throughout the city, and works with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to help make each council inclusive and effective. 
     
    Alberto Retana is the executive vice president at Community Coalition, an organization fighting on the frontlines to improve the conditions of South L.A. and advance unity and solidarity among South L.A.’s residents. Throughout his tenure at Community Coalition, Retana has led key campaigns that have pushed for reforms in schools and led to major victories in social justice and education equity.
     
    Sahra Sulaiman is a documentary photographer, researcher and writer. Her journalism, as Streetsblog L.A.'s Communities Editor for Boyle Heights and South LA, and volunteer work with at-risk teens are organized around fighting for South L.A. residents’ safe access to streets. Her writing and photography also introduce readers to the unique grassroots efforts of South L.A. residents, community leaders and local organizations. (Blog)

    Related Events:
    Food, Recreation and the Arts as Social Justice

    Thursday, February 26, 6 p.m.
    Annenberg Auditorium
    For more info, click here.

    South Los Angeles Walking Tour
    Saturday, March 7, 10 a.m.
    South Los Angeles
    For more info, click here.

    Organized by Alison Trope, Robeson Taj Frazier and George Villanueva (Communication).

    Annenberg Auditorium (ASC)
    University Park Campus

    Reception to follow.

    Admission is free. Reservations required. RSVP at the links below beginning Tuesday, September 16, at 9 a.m.

    USC Students, Staff and Faculty: To RSVP, click here.
    USC Alumni: To RSVP, click here.
    General Public: To RSVP, click here.

    visionsandvoices@usc.edu

    All