South LA voices with South LA views, Thursday at USC

visions of south la pic

To some students, the University of Southern California may seem like a world unto itself. Yet the school is also just one piece of the South Los Angeles community, a role worth examining as USC launches development projects like the new University Village.

The panel discussion “Voices of South L.A: Civic Action and Community Voice” happening Thursday Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. in the Annenberg Auditorium (ASC room G26) aims to delve into conversation on various efforts by the university and other groups to address disparities and injustices in South L.A. (Tickets are sold out, but you can get on the waitlist.) The event, hosted by the Visions and Voices program, will bring together community organizers, residents, journalists and scholars to discuss views on South L.A.  Intersections spoke with event organizer Alison Trope, a professor in USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, about what attendees can expect from the event.

Intersections South L.A.: What is the purpose of the event?

Alison Trope: The event is designed to spark a candid discussion about USC’s role in civic and community life in and around South Los Angeles. Attendees will hear from multiple perspectives that work to address the disparities and injustices structuring life in South L.A., including relations between community residents, activists, civic entities, law enforcement, the press, and the University.  USC wants to be a “good neighbor.” Part of the goal of the panel is to think about what this means, how USC can better connect in real and substantive ways with its immediate surrounding neighborhoods and to promote meaningful dialogue and participation in the community. The other goal is to think about community engagement and civic action, and how all attendees can participate in making a better South L.A.

What is the structure of the event? Will the audience have a chance to interact with each other or speakers?

It will be a lively panel discussion with speakers including journalist and columnist Erin Aubry Kaplan; South L.A. policy advisor for the City of L.A.’s Human Relation Commission, Francisco Ortega; Executive Vice President of Community Coalition, Alberto Retana; and Streetsblog L.A.’s Communities Editor for Boyle Heights and South L.A., Sahra Sulaiman. Audience members will be invited to engage panelists in a question-answer session and join them at a reception with food from South L.A.’s own Earlez Grill. At the reception, attendees will be asked to reflect on what South L.A. means to them. There also will be two corollary events in the spring (another panel and a walking tour), and we encourage people to follow the Intersections website, which will highlight and archive stories inspired by this event.

Why do you encourage people to attend the event? What do you hope they will take from it?

We hope attendees will be energized by the discussion, learn more about the history of the area, get insights about local organizations that work in the community, and consider their own roles in engaging in and changing South L.A. life.

What part of the event are you most excited for?

We’re excited about the conversation which will be dynamic and hopefully spark new conversations about community building in and around USC and South L.A. We want people to appreciate the multiple visions and voices of South L.A.

voices of south LA

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