Host mother of slain USC student defends her neighborhood

The USC community and the Adams-Normandie neighborhood are still grieving from the tragic murders of two graduate students. Ying Wu and Ming Qu, both 23, were shot at 1 a.m. on April 11 on Raymond Avenue near West 27th Street.

The electrical engineering students from China were attacked as they sat in Qu’s 2003 BMW as it was double-parked on the street. Police have no suspects and no motive for the shooting, though they are investigating whether it was an attempted carjacking or stemmed from a robbery. A $200,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the murders.

The killings have raised alarm bells for USC students, especially among the more than 2,500 Chinese students who attend USC. The area where the students were killed has been described in media reports as gang-infested, dangerous and a high-crime neighborhood. Some USC students say they are afraid to venture west of Vermont because of safety concerns.

LAPD and USC both say violent crime in that area just northwest of the USC campus has gone down significantly in the last year, and they view this crime as isolated. The Los Angeles Times Crime Map lists the Adams-Normandie neighborhood as having the 27th highest violent crime rate out of 209 neighborhoods.

image Jacqueline Hamilton in a file photo (Photo by Karla Robinson)

Jacqueline Hamilton was the host mother for Ying Wu. Hamilton has lived on Raymond Avenue for 11 years and says in the last six years the neighborhood has become safer. She spoke by telephone with Sara Harris, host of Hear in the City radio program on KPFK-FM. Listen to the interview:

Hear in the City airs Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. on KPFK, 90. FM. To hear the entire program in which this interview was featured, click here .

Non-Profit Day in Los Angeles

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

imageJust as the public and private sectors were hit in the recession, non-profits have fought for support as funding declined. The mayor says the non-profit sector in LA is a 35 and a half billion dollar industry and employs six percent of the region’s work force.

The city established nonprofit day to acknowledge the industry and provide encouragement through these tough times.

Jacqueline Hamilton is the executive director of a small nonprofit organization called the Education Consortium of Central Los Angeles. ECCLA works to provide enriched educational experiences to K through 12 students.

Like many non-profits, ECCLA was hit by the economic recession.

“Well everything’s coming down to what measurable results you can provide…so we’re having to look at our funding model and trying to seek new supporters for the work that we do. The tightened economy has made it really difficult for us.”

At a news conference this morning, the mayor said nonprofit day is intended to encourage volunteer participation and donation. He noted that even as funding has decreased, the need for non-profits’ services has increased.

Hamilton commends the city’s efforts.

“I think LA city leaders recognize the important role that non-profit organizations play in meeting a wide range of civic needs. I welcome this raising the profile of non-profits by having a non-profit day…anything that calls attention to the important work done by the third sector, the non-profit sector of the economy is very helpful.”

In a similar effort, the Annenberg Foundation is hosting an event tonight in downtown la, highlighting the importance of non-profits. Ten organizations will give speed pitches in a competition to win a hundred thousand dollars in prizes.