An Experiment 20 Years in the Making
“When we started AGENDA back in 1993, we characterized it as an experiment. Because we kind of knew where we wanted to go, but how to get there was less clear to us. This is still true today as we continue to build the movement for social justice.”
These are the words of Anthony Thigpenn, founder of SCOPE, and one of our respected honorees at last Thursday’s celebration of SCOPE’s 20th anniversary. In his address to a room of over 300 allies and friends, Anthony reminded us that we didn’t have all of the answers when we first came together. But for SCOPE, “having the answers” was never the driving force behind our vision for change. Instead, we set out to empower the residents of our community to think for themselves, to design their own solutions, and to speak out on issues that affect the quality of their lives. Our founders believed that our community had the answers to the problems plaguing South LA—and from looking around the room last Thursday, it’s clear that they were right.
I was thrilled to see so many of our members standing alongside activists, community organizers, elected officials, union leaders, academics, and educators as proof that South LA’s progressive community is strong, thriving and growing. I am thankful to you for your hard work over the past 20 years in supporting SCOPE’s mission to create pathways out of poverty for low-income families and economic justice to our city. And that’s also the reason we honored Gerald Hudson, Paula and Barry Litt and Anthony Thigpenn – they are three visionaries who have a lifetime commitment to social change and empowering the lives of others. Without their dedication, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
And while it was amazing to celebrate SCOPE’s successes, the message of the night was this: Our work is not done, yet! We are so excited to take on the next 20 years of transformation, starting with our campaign to push for equitable tax reform, affordable housing, and quality services for all of our residents. If we’ve learned anything from our past, it’s that your support is crucial in continuing to build a community of grassroots leaders and create real change in Los Angeles. To that end, I ask you check out the event page and contribute to our organization in any way you can!
Our celebration last Thursday wasn’t just a culmination of our hard work—it was a call to dig even deeper in 2014. SCOPE and the newly formed Los Angeles Equity Alliance are launching a campaign to bring new revenue to the City of Los Angeles. To kick-off our efforts, we are holding a press conference on Friday, March 21st at 10:30am at City Hall Park to share with city officials the community’s vision for a more equitable Los Angeles. Additionally, on Wednesday, May 7th, SCOPE will co-host a candidates’ forum for the Los Angeles Unified School District 1 seat. The forum will aim to create a space for South Los Angeles residents to engage with each candidate on their vision for increasing the quality of education in the district and to make a more informed decision during the elections in June. I look forward to continuing to work with you, and to support South LA now and in the future.
More photos from our 20th anniversary celebration at Dodger Stadium!