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News From the Frontlines

LGBTQ Justice

Liberty Hill to Honor Susan Genco and Mitch Kamin with Founders Award

Liberty Hill Foundation's annual Upton Sinclair Dinner is just weeks away.  Taking place on April 20, the event honors Angelenos whose work in social justice has left such an indelible mark on those it aims to help that it deserves honoring and recognition.

Liberty Hill presents its annual Founders Award to individuals whose philosophy and philanthropy embody the spirit of “Change. Not Charity.”

L.A.’s Queer Justice Leaders—Past, Present and Future

It was the kind of warm and sunny winter’s day that makes L.A. feel truly special. But for the donor activists and foundation partners attending Liberty Hill’s Queer Youth Power van tour, the day was about celebrating another side of Los Angeles: its powerful, and often pioneering, legacy as a launch pad for LGBTQ liberation.

Building Power for Grassroots Organizing through LA County Commissions

By Crystal Shaw

LH-Comm-Trng-Laurie Jones Neighbors-2015-0028 Laurie Jones Neighbors

On a sunny April morning, I joined more than 62 grassroots leaders, organizers and influencers from across L.A.’s diverse communities on the beautiful grounds of the LA84 Foundation in the Historic Adams District. We were there for Liberty Hill’s Wally Marks Leadership Institute For Change training on L.A. County commissions.  I attended the training session with a level of excitement to learn about an aspect of government I only had limited knowledge of.  I had no idea I would gain information that could impact my own community.

A Soundtrack for Social Justice, as Heard at Liberty Hill’s Upton Sinclair Dinner

The All of Me Tour

At the 33rd annual Upton Sinclair Dinner, Liberty Hill Foundation celebrated the new generation taking up the struggle for social justice.  As young leaders backed by Liberty Hill are pushing for restorative justice in schools, fighting for a cleaner environment and stopping families from being split apart by deportation, musicians from all genres are proving that protest music is alive and well.  Here you will find the Upton Sinclair Dinner soundtrack, which includes social justice songs from local artists, national chart-toppers and everyone in between.

While some of these songs reference political music from the ’60s and ’70s, others are rooted firmly in the sounds of today.  There are topical responses to injustices in Ferguson, Los Angeles and elsewhere, as well as songs that meditate on the broader concepts of solidarity and movement building.  In Oscar winner John Legend’s case, the fight for justice goes beyond music.  The singer campaigned to pass Proposition 47 in California, and recently launched a new campaign called “Free America,” which will target mass incarceration nationwide.

Frontlines to Headlines March 2015

LINKS TO RECENT NEWS MEDIA ARTICLES ON LIBERTY HILL AND  THE ORGANIZERS WE SUPPORT

POLICING & CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

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As the Skid Row community reacts to the shooting of an unarmed Black man, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) has responded by demonstrating outside the LAPD headquarters, demanding an independent investigation into the killing, and calling for more mental health professionals in the neighborhood. See the L.A. Times, the Huffington Post, LAist, KABC Radio AM 790, Press TV, and Yahoo News for coverage. Neon Tommy’s report mentions Youth Justice Coalition’s (YJC) participation in demonstrations as well. For more background, see the Daily Beast’s recent article on the history of Skid Row. The piece quotes LA CAN organizer Steve Diaz on how the Safer Cities Initiative has led to a “police occupation” of the neighborhood.

YJC is co-sponsoring SB124, a bill that seeks to limit the use of solitary confinement in juvenile detention centers. The Chronicle of Social Change and Witness L.A. have the story.

Youth Leadership Series: Undocuqueer Youth Stand Up

By Joe Rihn

IYC

From Immigrant Youth Coalition’s (IYC) inception, co-founder Jonathan Perez knew his organization needed to be different from other groups providing immigration resources.  Most of IYC’s leaders are undocumented and queer, or undocuqueer, and that perspective informs IYC’s approach to activism.   Jonathan says IYC made a conscious decision to move away from organizing around the Dream Act, and to focus instead on ending “the criminalization of undocumented and queer people of color.”  Through bold protests and powerful organizing tactics, young IYC members have shown their dedication to stopping deportation.  According to Jonathan “They’re willing to risk their deportation in order to change the system.”

Jonathan came to the United States from Columbia at the age of four.  While his father was able to enter the country legally, the rest of the family, including four older siblings, had to apply for political asylum; a request that is still processing today.  “Our paths were a lot different than my dad’s,” he says, “At a young age I started to see how the system worked.”

Being undocumented caused a major turning point in Jonathan’s life when he learned that his older brother’s immigration status made it impossible to attend college.  When Jonathan realized he would face the same roadblock he “gave up,” nearly dropping out of high school.