South LA Democratic Space: SCOPE

Manuel Hernandez, Lead Organizer of SCOPE.

Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education builds grassroots power to eliminate the structural barriers to social and economic opportunities for poor and disenfranchised communities through community organizing, leadership development, strategic alliance building, research, training and capacity building, and policy advocacy at the local, state and national levels.

SCOPE’s leadership development includes their organizing team working with local youth from local schools such as the William and Carol Ouchi independent charter high school.

Manuel who has worked in South LA for 14 years choose Ouchi high school as a democratic space “because some of our younger members of SCOPE attend this school and they have been really instrumental in participating in the organization, membership meetings, and overall a pleasure to have at SCOPE. I believe that education is key in anything that we do in our everyday lives and if our community is informed about the issues that affect them, it’s key to making a difference.”

SCOPE fortalece el poder comunitario que elimina las barreras estructurales para oportunidades sociales y económicas a través de la organización comunitaria, el desarrollo de liderazgo, y la creación de capacidad. Su equipo trabaja con escuelas locales como la escuela independiente William y Carol Ouchi.

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Community gathers to spread word on Props 24 and 25


imageMembers of the South Los Angeles community gathered Saturday to be part of over 200,000 people throughout California to walk in neighborhoods to educate residents on Propositions 24 and 25. Prop. 24 would repeal corporate tax loopholes and restore over one billion dollars to the state budget. Prop. 25 would establish a simple majority for passing the state budget, rather than the two-thirds vote California currently has.

Both Propositions, if passed, would ultimately bring more money to the education budget of the state.

Listen to the audio story:

It was a Saturday morning four days before the midterm election and 40 people gathered on a cement patio outside a building on Florence Avenue in South Los Angeles. Community members, teachers and students gathered at the offices at the community organization SCOPE (Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education.) They have one common goal: to create change in California.

They hope change will come with Propositions 24 and 25. Two of the many Props on the midterm ballot. Prop. 24 would repeal corporate tax loopholes and restore over one billion dollars to the state budget. Prop. 25 would establish a simple majority for passing the state budget, rather than the two-thirds vote California currently has.

Andrew Carrillo gave up his Saturday to walk precincts. He’s a teacher at 32nd Street USC Magnet. He says he hasn’t canvassed since 1982 but these propositions pushed him to get the word out.

“They are important to me because our government is dysfunctional. This is a small small step, but an important step to make it a little more functional.”

Many of the students and teachers walking on Saturday had one agenda: get more money for education. It’s no secret California’s economy is in disarray. And a budget in the red affects schools.

Michael Husinger was one student self-motivated to walk on Saturday. He’s a 15 year old from Crenshaw High School. He says Props 24 and 25 give him the chance for a better education.

“Well one, it improves the schools, so better education for me, and also for my family like my little brother and sisters and everything.”

Husinger is in the Social Justice and Law Academy so politics is a big draw for him. He and his classmates were part of a larger group of over 200,000 people were working over the weekend to get out the vote. Teacher and activist David Rapkin believes there is power in numbers.

“The differences that usually keep us separate need to be broken down. There is nothing like students and teachers walking together to symbolize that and create a reality.”

If Props 24 and 25 pass, the state is bound to direct more money to schools.

FROM THE WORKSHOP:  Getting to know Paz Jaen

imageDuring a workshop on community reporting, hosted by SCOPE and run in partnership by the South LA Report and the Metamorphosis Project, South LA resident Paz Jaen was interviewed about her neighborhood and her concerns. Jaen was interviewed by fellow community activist Maria Dubon and the South LA Report’s Willa Seidenberg. English translation provided by Elsa Anaya.

imageMaria Dubon, Paz Jaen and Elsa Anaya

To find out more about our community workshops, or to host one in your neighborhood, please contact us at [email protected]. We run community and high school workshops covering a range of topics, including community reporting, storytelling skills, photography, videography, radio reporting, interviewing skills, researching a story, feature writing, opinion writing, producing audio commentaries and multi-media storytelling.

imageAll workshops are free, and equipment is provided. Are you a media professional and can offer your time to help run a workshop? Are you a journalism student who would like to volunteer? Are you a community leader who would like to see more stories being told about your neighborhood? Contact us: [email protected]