Frontlines to Headlines - May 2017

by Crystal Shaw on May 18, 2017


This monthly digest of news media reports on Liberty Hill, its grantees and allies, is available by email. To sign up, pleae send your name and email to and indicate Frontlines to Headlines.


As a member of the Los Angeles Police Commission, Liberty Hill’s President/CEO, Shane Murphy Goldsmith spearheaded plans to devote a recent public meeting to immigration issues. A KPCC report on the meeting quoted Shane on the role of LAPD in immigration law enforcement; the Los Angeles Times covered the story as well.


Another L.A. Times piece focused on a special Commission hearing on LAPD’s approach to the city’s homelessness crisis, describing how Shane opened that hearing by telling about her family’s connection to the issue. The article includes a video of the hearing with comments from Pete White of Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA-CAN), and a quote from LA-CAN organizer General Dogon, on why criminalizing homelessness will not help.


In a big advance toward shutting down the school-to-prison pipeline, the California State Senate approved SB 607, which bans suspensions for “willful defiance” in grades K through 12, as reported by the Daily Californian. Here’s video of Amir Casimir of Liberty Hill’s Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition (BSS) testifying to the Senate Education Committee in support of the bill. BSS is carrying the fight to end willful defiance suspensions statewide after passing the model, LAUSD’s School Climate Bill of Rights, in 2013.

Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling (STAND-LA), an environmental justice coalition supported by Liberty Hill, scored a step toward a clean-air future when the City of L.A. announced a feasibility study of shutting down all oil wells located less than a half-mile from homes, schools, hospitals and other sensitive sites. KPCC, the Los Angeles Business Journal, My News LA, and Natural Gas Intel covered the story. (Note: Liberty Hill’s “Drilling Down” report found that 70% of the more than 1,000 active oil wells in the City of L.A. are within 1500 feet of a home or other sensitive site.)


In another environmental win, Pacoima Beautiful advocated for and secured legislative support for a working group to revitalize the Pacoima and Tujunga washes with recreational space. A California Assembly committee voted unanimously in favor of the plan, as reported in the Los Angeles Daily News.


The City of Los Angeles is suing an in-home care company over wage theft violations that had workers earning as little as $5.50 per hour. The suit is a major victory for Pilipino Workers Center, which has been leading the fight for justice against the business. See the L.A. Times for more.




The civil unrest that erupted April 29, 1992 was a pivotal time for South Los Angeles and the city as a whole. In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the uprising, many of Liberty Hill’s organizing partners reflected on the legacy of those days and how the events shaped L.A.’s social justice landscape.

Liberty Hill grantees from across a range of issue areas co-presented Future Fest: a march, rally and festival dedicated to recognizing the significance of the 1992 uprising and establishing a vision for the future of South L.A. In the Los Angeles Wave’s coverage, Gloria Walton of Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) discussed how her organization is connected to the rebellion, while a report in the Chicago Tribune quoted Eric Ares of LA-CAN.

SCOPE’s Gloria Walton, along with environmental justice advocate and past Upton Sinclair Dinner honoree, Manuel Pastor, penned an article for KCET on how far South L.A. has come since 1992 and the challenges it faces today. The piece mentions how groups such as Community Coalition, SCOPE, Community Asset Development Redefining Education (CADRE) and the Los Angeles Black Worker Center are shaping the area’s future.

To commemorate the anniversary, Community Coalition hosted an exhibition called “Re-Imagine Justice” at its South L.A. headquarters. The exhibition, which featured powerful works from a range of both professional and amateur South L.A. artists, received write-ups in The New York Times, Hyperallergic and L.A. Weekly.

The Los Angeles Sentinel published reflections on the uprising from U.S. Congressmember Karen Bass, who founded Community Coalition in 1990, discussing how the events of April 1992 set the course for the organization’s future. The Albany Times Union also spoke about memories of the unrest with Aurea Montes-Rodriguez, Community Coalition’s executive vice president.



On May Day, the traditional labor holiday celebrated May 1, tens of thousands of Angelenos filled the streets of downtown to march for the rights of workers and immigrants, and resist the Trump agenda. According to coverage from KCET, LAist and the Los Angeles Wave, groups participating included Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles (ROC-LA), Los Angeles Black Worker Center and T.R.U.S.T. South L.A.


KPCC also traced how the workers’ holiday became associated with the immigrant rights movement, and the Press Enterprise covered a Riverside march that included Pomona Economic Opportunity Center.



Alicia Rivera, an organizer with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), was featured in an L.A. Times article about her work with the organization in response to Trump’s environmental policies. CBE made more headlines on Grist and DESMOG when youth organizers sued the City of Los Angeles for letting oil companies drill close to their homes and schools. According to Pasadena Weekly and People’s World, CBE also marched alongside other environmental groups in Wilmington for the People’s Climate March. The march protested a merger at Wilmington’s Tesoro plant that would make it the West Coast’s largest fossil fuel facility.


The prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize honored six activists worldwide this year, one per continent, including L.A.’s own mark! Lopez, executive director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice. The Huffington Post, NBC News, and The Hindu all covered his achievement.


The Huffington Post reported on Repower L.A., a coalition including SCOPE and Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). The coalition works with DWP to create green, living wage jobs in South L.A. that involve updating buildings with more efficient plumbing and energy systems.


The L.A. Times also reported on how a Westside drilling site installed unauthorized equipment, and quoted a statement from STAND-LA about how such violations are systemic across the city.



The efforts of Dignity and Power Now have been recognized and reported on in the L.A. Times, Ebony, and the Los Angeles Daily News. The group is continually fighting and advocating for police transparency and the rights of incarcerated people.




With immigration issues continuing to make headlines, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) appeared in numerous stories.  According to KCET and Nikkei Asian Review respectively, CHIRLA has seen a sharp rise in the number of families asking for help planning for the possibility of a parent’s deportation, and the number of people seeking legal assistance for immigration matters. CHIRLA executive director, Angelica Salas also told L.A. Weekly how fear of deportation makes immigrants less likely to report crimes, and therefore threatens public safety, while according to KPCC, Mayor Garcetti paid a visit to CHIRLA to raise awareness about resources available to immigrants.


The L.A. Times profiled teens with undocumented parents, including a member of InnerCity Struggle (ICS). The article also quoted ICS executive director, Maria Brenes, on the important responsibility of many teens to keep their undocumented parents informed on immigration issues. 


According to organizers from Union de Vecinos and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), there has been a spike in landlords using the threat of deportation to evict tenants and cash in on gentrification. LAist and KPCC have more on the alarming trend.




The Los Angeles Blade highlighted CHIRLA for helping make LGBTQ visibility a priority at this year’s May Day march.


Khmer Girls in Action, a women-led community organization advocating for Long Beach’s Southeast Asian community, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, as reported by Gazettes.




The Los Angeles Black Worker Center has released a report linking the decline in L.A.’s African American population to a lack of good jobs available to Black workers. People’s World and the Los Angeles Sentinel shared the findings. The Charleston Chronicle highlighted another report co-authored by L.A. Black Worker Center, which explores barriers Black women face to attaining leadership roles in progressive organizing.


KPFA’s program, “Making Contact” interviewed Kathy Hoang of ROC-LA on how worker centers are organizing outside of traditional labor unions.


The fourth annual Renter’s Day L.A., which took place in MacArthur Park, provided legal advice to renters. An ABC 7 report on the event quoted Steve Diaz of LA-CAN, who stressed that renters need more resources to cope with the region’s housing shortage.


Capital and Main described how members of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) attended a California State Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development hearing about the state’s affordability crisis. The article quoted ACCE organizer Gisele Mata, who commented on how extreme the lack of housing has become.