Why LA is the Country’s Fulcrum for Change

By Gloria Walton on
Marqueece Harris-Dawson, from left, Herb J. Wesson, Jr., Antonio Villaraigosa, Gloria Walton, and Karen Bass.

8th District Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, from left, 10th District Councilman Herb J. Wesson, Jr., Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, SCOPE President & CEO Gloria Walton, Congress Woman Karen Bass.

July kicked off to a great start when my colleague and fellow-organizer Marqueece Harris-Dawson was sworn in as 8th District City Councilman. It reminded me of the incredible political opportunity in Los Angeles. Here in L.A., we are at a pivotal moment and that could mean big things for California and the country. We all know the expression “As Los Angeles goes, so goes California. As California goes, so goes the nation.” Time and again we see models for change start in this state. It makes sense. California has the largest population in nation and the largest number of Congressional seats. We are home to one of largest economies in the world and are the gateway to the Pacific Rim.

L.A. is the fulcrum of change in California. We represent one-third of the state electorate, and we are home to the voters that need to be mobilized in order to win. One in three Angelenos is foreign-born and Los Angeles has the 8th largest population of African-Americans in the country.

We also have strong movement infrastructure. For more than 20 years, L.A. has been strengthening community organizations in order to elevate the voices and build the power of people of color. We have strong multi-ethnic organizing. We have strong labor-community alliances. We employ smart inside/outside strategies. Community organizations here are a force to be reckoned with. It’s not just our work at SCOPE. Great work has been done by LA Black Worker Center, Community Coalition, LAANE and many other organizations. That’s why L.A. recently became the largest city in the country to raise the minimum wage. It made national news and L.A. could not have won that important victory without the strength and power of the labor-community alliances that have been built over the past two decades.

Thanks to all the community leaders, SCOPE staff, and incredible donors who have made L.A. such an important fulcrum of change for the country!