Redeemer Community Partnership is a nonprofit, Christian community development corporation that builds better neighborhoods in South Los Angeles by creating safe, healthy, opportunity-rich communities where children, youth and their families thrive.
The Seen and Unseen
Isaiah is skipping preschool today. I kept him home because of an individual who verbally threatened his teachers yesterday. We are fortunate to have a very secure facility, and our teachers are savvy. But after a restless night I didn't feel peaceful about sending him. The person causing problems lives very near the park, and his household was involved with several criminal incidents this fall. Our block club has been working with our LAPD senior lead officer to curb the threat they pose to our neighborhood's safety. But outside of television dramas, stopping perceived bad guys is a slow and fragile process. The policies and bureaucracies that preserve our civil rights sometimes leave preschoolers more vulnerable than we would like.
Ironically, at 10:00am today the LA City Council started debating a proposal to eliminate one of our best tools in neighborhood crime prevention. Richard is at City Hall right now speaking for our community in support of the City Attorney's Neighborhood Prosecutor program. In 18 years of work around public safety concerns, we have often run into the limits of what the police can do. For the past 7 years, the Neighborhood Prosecutor has filled this gap in critical ways. When our community organized to shut down a liquor store on Jefferson we worked with the Neighborhood Prosecutor. When the Raymond Ave block club succeeded in shutting down a crack house it was through the efforts of the Neighborhood Prosecutor. When the neighbors around our tutoring center stopped a bar from opening across the street they worked with the Neighborhood Prosecutor. And the Neighborhood Prosecutor is helping our block club address the latest threats to our children's safety within the local park.
So often the forces that most affect our health and safety are silent and unseen. We did not hear about this city council vote until yesterday afternoon. And amidst the many budget cuts our city is considering, this won't be one to get front page attention. But we who live here remember what it was like to live down the street from a liquor store. We remember what it was like to walk our Adventures Ahead kids past prostitutes and drug dealers on their way to our facility. We remember what it was like to have shootings, stabbings and robberies on Raymond Avenue. And we remember that the relative peace we now enjoy in these places came through hard won victories. These victories might not have been won without this program connecting our community groups to real legal muscle.
Will our park remain a safe place for families to play? Will our preschoolers and their teachers remain unharmed? Will the marijuana distributor around the corner and the liquor stores on Adams and Normandie be held accountable for nuisance activity? Will residents of our neighborhood feel like they can speak, act and organize to bring about change? Much depends on the how our city council votes with regard to this program.
Things to pray for: