Top Intersections stories of 2014

It’s just a few days before we welcome a new year — but before leaping forward, let’s take a look back. In 2014, Intersections covered community development, visual and performing arts, health, education, poverty, politics, crime, history and more…  What were the highlights? Here are one editor’s top 10 picks.  

Zumba boom in South L.A. 

Students get some air time while jumping in a Zumba class. | Daina Beth Solomon

October 20, 2014 By Daina Beth Solomon | Editor-in-Chief

“Nearly 40 Zumba studios have cropped up in the 50-square-mile region of South L.A. over the past few years, offering homegrown exercise facilities in an area that had long lacked affordable options. In an area of Los Angeles where the population faces a surfeit of obesity, the classes may be one way Angelenos in South L.A. can work toward shrinking their waistlines.”

LAUSD superintendent’s South L.A. legacy

JohnDeasyCityYear (1)November 14, 2014 By Kate Guarino | Staff Reporter

“High school seniors in the Los Angeles Unified School District graduating in 2015 have attended school under five different superintendents since they began kindergarten in 2001. That statistic punctuates the departure of Superintendent John Deasy, who resigned last month following a three-and-a-half-year term that included both peak performances and steep pitfalls in the district. As the door closes on Deasy’s high-profile leadership as LAUSD superintendent, Intersections explored how Deasy’s work influenced the experience of students in South L.A.—home to some of the district’s lowest performing schools.”

LA PRESS CLUB AWARD WINNER: The godfather of L.A.’s Black Comedy scene is plotting his comeback


November 23, 2014 By Sinduja Rangarajan | Multimedia Editor

“On any given Thursday night in the late 1980s, Michael Williams would watch from the wings as up-and-coming Black comics, including Jaime Foxx, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac and Chris Tucker, performed at the comedy club he founded in South Los Angeles. The Comedy Act Theater was one among the first comedy clubs in the country to cater to the Black community and was the launch pad for many successful Black comedians.”

South L.A. creates healthy food options

Agyei Graham plucking an orange in his backyard | Sinduja Rangrajan

April 25, 2014 By Sinduja Rangarajan | Multimedia Editor

“Arriving at a recent community development meeting in a recreation center in South L.A., Agyei Graham peeked at the breakfast spread of bagels, yogurt and coffee, quietly found a standing room spot in a corner, pulled a red apple from the back pocket of his jeans and bit into it. The 21-year-old has been a vegan for five months, which means he couldn’t have the yogurt. He could eat the bagels, but he’d have to forgo cream cheese. And he could only have coffee if he wanted it black. Graham is one of many residents who are creating their own solutions to South L.A.’s lack of healthy food options.”

New era for business in Leimert Park

Michelle Papillion | Kevin Tsukii

April 16, 2014 By Kevin Tsukii | Staff Reporter

“March 15 marked the first month of business for Papillion, a contemporary gallery created and run by Michelle Papillion. The art space opened amid construction on the neighborhood’s anticipated Metro stop and the Leimert Park Village Committee’s plans to restore the historic Vision Theater. The gallery is the first new business to emerge from the “renaissance” of Leimert Park. Despite the closure of a neighboring business and anticipated rent increases due to the neighborhood’s proximity to the light rail, Papillion said the cutting-edge gallery has been a success.”

Plaza aims to boost Leimert Park community 

South Los Angeles residents, vendors and artists come together near the iconic white fountain in Leimert Park Village a place of commerce and community. | Jordyn Holman

May 21, 2014 By Jordyn Holman | Senior Reporter

“Every weekend for nearly three decades, Wingo has set up shop in the grassy park that anchors the neighborhood. With a stand next to the iconic white fountain, she sells wide-framed sunglasses and Afro-centric pins along with handcrafted beaded necklaces and wooden earrings. Although she lives in Ladera Heights a few miles away, Wingo said events like the monthly Art Walk draw her back into the area for art, music and shopping. For this reason, Wingo said she hopes Los Angeles City Council approves a proposal to permanently close off part of the street to create a pedestrian plaza, which she thinks would enhance the feeling of community.”

Crenshaw alum: Teacher suspension sheds light on LAUSD teacher jail

Iris Stevenson arrives at Crenshaw High after being released from "teacher jail." | Amanda Scurlock

October 1, 2014 By Amanda Scurlock | Staff Reporter

“At Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles, the 2014-2015 school year almost began without one of the campus’s most beloved teachers. The Los Angeles Unified School District announced in August that music instructor Iris Stevenson had been restored to her post. However, questions about her several-month-long absence remain. The case has shed light on “teacher jail,” the unofficial nickname for a sort of institutional purgatory for district teachers, which until recently meted out a virtually secret form of punishment.”

South L.A. councilman Bernard Parks reflects on 50 years of service

Bernard Parks, councilman for District 8 | Stephanie Monte

May 16, 2014 By Stephanie Monte | Staff Reporter

“At ease behind a desk in the conference room of his Crenshaw district office, Councilman Bernard Parks sat down recently with Intersections South LA, in shirtsleeves and a tie, surrounded by poster-sized District Eight maps from yesteryear and took stock of his career and legacy of service in Los Angeles. In July of next year, Parks’ third and final City Council term will come to a close, marking five decades that he has served the City of Los Angeles.”

Redefining environmentalism in South L.A.


August 26, 2014 By Ashley Hansack | Community Contributor

“‘Turn off the damn lights! You act like I have money coming out of my ass,’ yells my mom. It’s not: ‘turn off the lights because you waste energy,’ ‘turn off the lights because we need to reduce fossil fuels,’ or ‘turn off the lights because we need to conserve resources.’ It’s: ‘Turn off the lights because I cannot afford to give up an extra ten dollars to pay the bill. I told you once and I don’t want to have to tell you again: turn off the damn lights.'”

Featured on Good Morning America: No longer homeless, chef brings pastries to Skid Row

sweet tri pastriesNovember 4, 2014 By Anna-Catherine Brigida | Assistant Multimedia Editor

“Once a month Latrina Wilcher goes to Skid Row to hand out slices of cake and pie in heart-shaped boxes. Her goal is to help the homeless people in Los Angeles ‘one pastry at a time.’ After the closing of the restaurant where she worked, Nite Moon Café in Hollywood, Wilcher was unsure what her next career move would be, but she knew it would involve helping others. She then decided to use her talent for baking with this goal in mind and Sweet Tri Pastries was born. Wilcher then started collecting donations for her Skid Row pastry runs. She needs about $150 to make one trip to Skid Row, an amount she hopes to be able to fundraise every two weeks.”  This article was featured in a segment on Good Morning America. 

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