The Frontline Impact Digest

Liberty Hill Releases Power of Persistence Report

By Michele Prichard, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives

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Liberty Hill Foundation announced the release of its new “Power of Persistence” report highlighting the work of the STAND-L.A. coalition and their decade-long battle to end toxic neighborhood oil drilling in Los Angeles. Initially sparked by a series of site-by-site battles waged by organizers and neighbors, the STAND-L.A. coalition has grown into a unified and increasingly powerful force for change and has become a model of how social change movements can build successful policy campaigns, improve people’s lives, and make the unimaginable possible.

In the beginning, it was unthinkable that oil drilling—with its historic legacy in Los Angeles, which once produced more oil than Saudi Arabia—could be ended due to its harmful health impacts. Frontline communities never intended or imagined they could ever build the power to challenge the industry, legislators, and the regulatory bureaucracy. Organizers were simply trying to protect their health, and the health of their families and neighbors.

However, after uniting as STAND-L.A. in 2014, frontline community organizers and leaders helped turn the tide for environmental justice in Los Angeles. Equipped with financial support, capacity building training, and the tools they needed to mobilize their communities, STAND-L.A. coalition members began to knock on doors, make phone calls, write letters, organize church and community meetings, sponsor rallies and teach-ins, and speak at press conferences and public hearings—always lifting up the daily harms faced by frontline neighbors and centering their voices in demanding better living conditions.

Leveraging the power of community organizing, science-based research, legal expertise, inside-outside relationships, and consensus-based decision-making, STAND-L.A. waged an effective and sophisticated campaign amidst powerbrokers, bureaucrats and legislators. Above all, it was community power and persistence that pushed the coalition and its movement to victory.

In December 2022, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to prohibit all new drilling and phase-out existing drilling throughout the city. In January 2023, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors followed suit, unanimously voting to do the same in unincorporated L.A. County, with future actions anticipated to extend and implement the county’s ban and phase-out.

Our work is not yet finished. With the power of persistence that has defined the STAND-L.A. coalition from its earliest days, the vision and voice of frontline residents will be unstoppable in the quest for safe, healthy, and thriving communities that benefit all Angelenos.

To learn more about the fight to end neighborhood oil drilling in Los Angeles, read The Power of Persistence report out now.