St. John’s treats South LA’s incoming young immigrants, Two high schoolers win essay contest + The history of the LAPD’s “militarization”


City Watch: St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in South L.A. helps care for many of the kids immigrating alone from Central America.

KCET: A conference last week addressed South L.A.’s environmental health challenges.

LA Weekly: The LAPD’s “militarization” has roots in South L.A.

LA Times: Two South L.A. high schoolers have won a Charles Dickens essay writing contest.

South LA health clinics waiting for Obamacare


St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles delivers comprehensive health care and medical guidance to one of the nation’s poorest communities. What of Obamacare? St. John’s counselors aren’t certified to enroll anyone in the Affordable Care Act exchanges yet, but they will be soon.

To learn more details about Obamacare in South L.A., listen to an audio story from Annenberg Radio News:

Conference seeks to take the next step in health care for South L.A.

“From Declaration to Action!” That was the theme of this year’s Second Annual South Los Angeles Health & Human Rights Conference, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on December 10, 2010.

The call to action comes after the drafting last year of a South Los Angeles Declaration of Health and Human Rights.

The declaration calls for the right to: health and behavioral health, education and employment, housing and a safe environment, food and food sovereignty, and dignity and safety.

With the declaration in hand, the community, health, labor activists and residents, were fired up to take turn those words into tangible approaches that will bring better health care to South Los Angeles.

“It’s time for movement again,” declared keynote speaker Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. County Supervisor for the Second District. Ridley-Thomas reminded the audience of how much has changed in the year since the group first gathered.

“Last year at this time, we didn’t have a health reform bill in the nation’s capital. There is a lot of debate about the issue itself, but when you think it, it is to be considered progress, significant progress.”

Many areas of Los Angeles County face deep and chronic problems, such as homelessness, unemployment, lack of health care access and violence. But the situation is particularly daunting in South L.A. where there is “widespread and intractable poverty,” according to Jim Mangia, president and CEO of St. John’s Well Child and Family Centers.

“Seventy-nine percent of children who live in South Los Angeles live below the federal poverty line,” said Mangia at a briefing before the conference began. “There’s an intense concentration of poverty in South L.A., so we feel that by building this movement, beginning in South Los Angeles, we can create an example of what a health and human rights movement needs.”

imageListen to Jim Mangia speak about the moral and economic need for healthcare for all:

imageEl Salvador’s Vice Minister of Public Health and Welfare, Dr. Violeta Menjivar, joined the conference to speak about her country’s adoption of a program to provide free medical care. The effort is a participatory model of health services that is now in 74 municipalities. The government plans to add 49 more in 2011 and eventually cover the entire country.

Conference participants plans to rally later in the day at the site of the demolished Orthopaedic Hospital on 23rd Street between Flower and Figueroa. Developer Geoff Palmer wants to build luxury apartments on the site; activists want to keep it zoned for healthcare services for the area’s underserved residents.

A broad-base of organizations are the driving force behind the South Los Angeles Health & Human Rights initiative, including SEIU-UHW, Community Health Councils, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, SAJE (Strategic Actions for a Just Economy), Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches and the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers.