What if I told you that on a single day, we could join together to make historic investments in the future of transportation, job creation, parks and open space, higher education and an end to street homelessness?
That’s what Los Angeles did on Election Day: Our broad, diverse and inclusive coalition made America’s largest infrastructure investment with Measure M — $120 billion to build out our transit network and create 465,000 good-paying jobs in our own communities over the next 40 years.
We gave overwhelming support to Proposition HHH, putting $1.2 billion to work on building the housing and funding the services to give unsheltered Angelenos the resources they need to get off the street. Voters also made wise, transformative investments in parks and community colleges that will bring a better quality of life to our families for generations to come.
Those are extraordinary accomplishments for L.A. And they came at a moment when national election results left a lot of our families, friends, neighbors and co-workers feeling uncertain about whether they fit in, or how they’ll be treated after a painful campaign.
People have every right to feel, share and express those concerns. But what I have been telling Angelenos since Nov. 9 is that we are not called to despair — we are called to act. That takes people who are committed to working at the neighborhood level to lift up the most vulnerable Angelenos, staying engaged in civic affairs, mentoring young people and empowering them to reach for their dreams.
It takes people like the members of the Divine Nine, who do all of those things — and so many more — every day in our city.
That’s why a couple of weeks after the election, I asked the leaders of the Los Angeles Pan Hellenic Council — representing nine of America’s largest and most influential black fraternities and sororities — to join me at City Hall to share their ideas on issues like economic development, job creation, and criminal justice reform.
The Divine Nine has a long history of hands-on advocacy in the work of social change, and I wanted to have a conversation about how their compassionate, insightful brand of leadership matches what L.A. needs at this moment in time. Their work points to a truth that is more important now than ever before: Sometimes, what’s happening in our house matters more than who’s in the White House.
And our house is looking good. We have already put up the framework for incredible future opportunities and our job now is to keep building, keep pushing to make that opportunity real and possible in everyone’s lives — no matter their ZIP code, their last name, or where their family comes from.
With partners like the Divine Nine, I have no doubt that our city is ready to get to work. That means joining with people of compassion and faith in the mission to end homelessness; making sure that new construction jobs come to communities of color in places like South L.A. and the Northeast San Fernando Valley; and bringing natural beauty and recreational opportunities to places that have been without enough for too long.
L.A. is rising to the moment. We are — and will continue to be — an example of what is possible when we embrace diversity, act in unity, and put progress and people first.
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Community Report” column runs monthly in The Wave.