We believe people are the creators of change. We believe we are more powerful united as a community than when acting alone. That’s why we bring community members together to build leadership, launch action campaigns, and create a unified voice for South L.A. Together we are transforming our schools, strengthening families and building a thriving community.
Community Coalition works to help transform the social and economic conditions in South LA that foster addiction, crime, violence and poverty by building a community institution that involves thousands in creating, influencing and changing public policy.
In 1989 a group of activists in Los Angeles huddled around a kitchen table. Pulled together by Congressmember Karen Bass (at that time an emergency-room physicians assistant), the group was haunted by the raging health crisis that had enveloped their community. Every day the devastating impacts of the crack-cocaine epidemic had become more distressing – loved ones would go missing, helicopters circled the community at all hours, and residents put up bars on their windows to prevent break-ins.
“When I heard that Karen Bass and others were putting together a coalition, I said ‘I’m in.’” – Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Even more troubling to the group was the way elected officials had responded, introducing more punitive laws for drug use and giving law enforcement full reign to use increasingly violent tactics. A scared public went along as they grasped for solutions to bring peace to their community.
“It began in the late 80’s as a conversation about we how we could more intelligently, humanely and effectively respond to this crisis.” – Los Angeles County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas
The activists knew that criminalizing addiction would only make matters worse. They believed what was needed was to pull people together. It was from this vision that the idea of a community organization was first born.
“Community Coalition was born as an African American and Latino organization with a goal in mind to organize the community to turn despair and hopelessness into action.” – U.S. Congressmember Karen Bass
From these auspicious beginnings, Community Coalition began to address pressing community issues -- such as cleaning up nuisance liquor stores and motels -- by advocating policy solutions that built the community up, instead of tearing it apart.
For the past 25 years, Community Coalition has continued with this groundbreaking approach. We elevate the voices of our members, shift power to the community, and tackle the root causes of poverty, crime and violence. Together we are creating a more prosperous, safer and healthier South L.A.