Community Local News West Edition

Councilman marks success of community safety initiative

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson celebrated the success of his South L.A. Community Safety Initiative Oct. 12 at the Fame Renaissance Center.

The initiative was a summer pilot program funded by $1 million provided by the Ballmer Foundation, Weingart Foundation, and the California Wellness Foundation. The program’s objective was to minimize, and decrease the violence in Harris-Dawson’s council district in South L.A. 

The safety initiative has four sub-programs: Safety Passages, tactical deployment of community intervention workers, healing circles and youth workshops. The goal of the four components was to bring people together, strengthen the bonds of a tight-knit community and counter the violence South Los Angeles is known for.

Safety Passages maintains the protection of families, residents and visitors from harm, especially in local parks like Harvard Park. Harris-Dawson said he wants to expand Safe Passage patrol throughout the city. 

The healing circles are the most efficient intervention tactic, according to members of the community. A healing circle involves people coming together and discussing their personal concerns in an intervention without judgment, limits and with the free expression of thought. 

A doctor in attendance, who was a facilitator to this program, said “the healing circles are … an opportunity to connect with one another, to be each other’s medicine, and support the empathetic understanding that we are all human beings.” 

After recognizing the value of healing circles, the conference shifted into talks about youth workshops. The goals of the workshops are aimed at the development of students to learn business skills and develop their creativity. 

They become a platform to expand the mind of local youth to help develop all kinds of opportunities and in the process become leaders. 

Harris-Dawson gave credit to LAPD Deputy Chief Regina Scott and Recreation and Parks Superintendent Kimberley Simonet for their efforts with the program. 

The event began with brunch that included macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, corn bread, biscuits, scrambled eggs, and sweet bacon. 

It ended with giveaways of gift baskets that included everything from free baskets of wine, to basketballs, chocolate, foods and secret gifts. 

By Mikel-Lorenz Ilasco

Contributing Writer