By Dennis J. Freeman
INGLEWOOD — Faith, fearless and forgiving just might be the best way to describe the life journey of Marc Little.
Little, who serves as general counsel and pastor of community and government relations at Faithful Central Bible Church, has had his life governed by all three of those attributes and he is carrying those traits with him in his bid to become mayor of Inglewood.
Forgiveness and restoration are something Little needed in order to establish and formalize a relationship with his father, NFL Hall of Fame running back Floyd Little. The elder Little, who played his entire NFL career with the Denver Broncos from 1967 to 1975, was not a presence in the family home. Parental duties fell on the shoulders of Marc Little’s mother.
“I was fortunate,” Little said. “I came from a broken home but was assured by my mother that my father loved me and that one day we would have a relationship. She was right. Today, my dad is my best friend and mentor and my sisters are among God’s greatest gift to me.
“I find one of the greatest barriers to healing broken relationships in our families is our own inability to forgive one another. Sometimes, as sons and daughters, we have to prioritize having a relationship with our mother or father over our need to hear them say, ‘I’m sorry.’”
It took more than forgiveness for Little to consider making a run for mayor. Little perceived alleged abuse of power coming out of the mayor’s office, which got the ball rolling for him to jump into Inglewood’s political fray.
“My decision to run for mayor was not an easy one,” Little said. “Beginning in mid-2017, I observed behaviors in our mayor that were shocking. I witnessed what I call a blatant abuse of power exercised over ordinary people, like me, and over organizations like the Inglewood Airport Area Chamber of Commerce.
“When I decided to stand against the mayor, others took notice and I consequently discovered what I did not know before I stood against his abuse of power. I soon learned that he has been known for these types of abuses throughout his career.”
During community forums, Little heard voices clamoring for change. Working more closely with residents and inviting the community into a more transparent city government partnership is something Little believes residents want.
“Coincidentally, as a faith leader, I also began receiving calls from various members of the community to help them stand against the impact of our changing Inglewood community,” Little added. “They included single mothers with children, the disabled and veterans whose rents were being raised to unaffordable levels and with no compassion for their plight.”
Little faces an uphill battle to dethrone Mayor James T. Butts Nov. 6. Butts is enjoying the benefits of seeing a multitude of high-end multi-million developments, including the LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park, re-shape the city’s landscape and image.
Despite all the gains that Inglewood has made under the stewardship of Butts, Little believes the city still needs a change in leadership.
“I am a leader in our community,” Little said. “I provide leadership not only to Faithful Central Bible Church, the largest black congregation in the city, but also serve multiple Inglewood organizations and agencies as a director — South Bay Workforce Investment Board, Centinela Medical Hospital, the Inglewood Unified School District (Measure GG Committee), Partner for Progress, Inglewood Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, and Claris Health.
“I have a 20-year history of caring for the Inglewood community,” he added. “Running for mayor is a natural extension of my journey, particularly in light of the transition we are facing that requires a compassionate and competent leader.”
This is not the first time that Little’s audacity and strong belief system has guided him. He needed every bit of that guile and empowerment to forge ahead with his life after having his right leg amputated which he lost courtesy of a gang member’s bullet.
“I am a survivor of gang violence,” Little said. “After the attempted armed robbery, I was left permanently disabled. Fighting to recover from this ordeal created a mettle in me that makes me unafraid to face other giants in my life and the ordeal also gave me a perspective that tomorrow is not promised. I have to make each day count.”
Making his days count now includes seeing and understanding the needs of Inglewood residents. If he is elected mayor, Little outlined some priorities, including setting up a partnership with the Inglewood Unified School District, bridging a better relationship between law enforcement and the community, and putting in place policies that would foster trust in fiscal management.
“I am running for mayor because after we get through looking at our shiny developments from 30,000 feet in the air (and the undeniable economic benefits they bring), there will still be too many Inglewood residents on the ground who cannot afford to patronize these new arenas and stadiums,” Little said. “These longtime Inglewood residents will be forced to endure the impacts of these new centers, and their quality of life may change for the worse – many will be ultimately forced to leave the city they have loved for decades.”