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MLK Legacy Continues Forward
CHC Reflects on Dr. Martin Luther King, His Legacy, the MLK Holiday, and Our Continued Work in South LA

IT News Wire

As the King entourage walked the litter-strewn streets of Watts they had a memorable conversation with a hostile youth. “We won,” the youth exclaimed. King recoiled at the youth’s ebullience. “How have you won? Homes have been destroyed, Negroes are lying dead in the streets, the stores from which you buy food and clothes are destroyed, and people are bringing you relief.” The youth’s answer both startled and enlightened King. “We won because we made the whole world pay attention to us. The police chief never came here before; the mayor always stayed uptown. We made them come.”

Kenneth Stahl, The Great Rebellion, 2009

The Watts Riots ensued after a period of pro-longed discrimination and economic disparities. The 1992 LA Uprisings, for which I was present, was catalyzed by ongoing police brutality against Black lives. I was 16 years-old during the LA Riots, and much like the youth quoted above, I did not feel that anyone was paying attention to the cruelties we were being forced to endure. Sadly, not much has changed for our families in South LA and other oppressed communities across the nation suffering under the weight of America’s unfinished work around civil rights and equality.  BUT, as we approach MLK Day this year, I have hope. I have hope in the historic convening of California’s Taskforce on Reparations and the focus on the devastating impacts of chattel slavery on our lives. I have hope that through our South LA Decides movement building, we will activate our communities to work towards the assurances we need to thrive as human beings today and in the future. 

-Michelle Burton, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Community Health Councils

This MLK weekend, Community Health Councils (CHC) thanks all the amazing partners who supported our holiday food distribution efforts during December 2021. With the support of key partners and allies, CHC coordinated its third food distribution year this past December across four Best Start communities in Region 2 of South LA – Watts/Willowbrook, Compton/East Compton, Broadway/Manchester, and West Adams.  Through five distribution efforts, we were able to distribute over $266,000 via 866 Gift Cards & 2600 Food Boxes; 650 boxes per Best Start Community. 

Our sincere thanks to the following groups who exemplify Dr. King’s vision of cross community collaboration as an act of love and social justice. 

Jennifer Shetland and the Senior Leadership Team at Southwest College (West Athens); Rosecrans Elementary Schools & Compton Unified School District (Compton/East Compton)

Reverend Alvin Stafford and his team at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church (Bethel Sola) (Watts/ Willowbrook)

Pastor Cressel, Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church (Compton/ East Compton)

Pastor Gregory Lyles at Los Angeles Community CRC – Christian Reformed Church (Broadway/Manchester)


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