By Najee Ali
U.S. Rep. Karen Bass held her West Los Angeles townhall meeting Nov. 18. It was a packed house of several hundred constituents to hear Bass, who was re-elected Nov. 6 to her seat representing California’s 37th Congressional District with nearly 90 percent of the vote.
Bass stomping all over her challenger was no surprise. She continues to be one of the most effective legislators our community has ever had.
And in the age of Donald Trump, Bass has been one of Trump’s toughest foes among California congressional members. It was Bass who fought tooth and nail to help successfully unseat several incumbent Republican members of Congress in Southern California.
Bass is the founder of Sea Change Leadership Political Action Committee, which connects community members, activists and organizations that are resisting the Trump agenda.
Sea Change helped flip the House of Representatives this past election in California by supporting progressive Democratic candidates for office and by training and mobilizing volunteers to educate and engage voters. The congressional candidates that Bass and her group Sea Change campaigned for all won.
Democrats will hold at least a 44-9 edge in California U.S. House seats. They hold every statewide office, a super majority in both chambers of the Legislature and a 3.7-million advantage in voter registration.
Bass, who is a leading candidate for chairperson of the influential Congressional Black Caucus, continues to serve our district with dignity and grace. Bass isn’t interested in the fiery rhetoric and playing politics by the dozens, she just gets the job done on behalf of her constituents and we should all take note of that and appreciate that type of effective leadership that we can see has results that benefit us greatly.
As the parent of Jurnee Ali, my 11-year-old daughter who attends an LAUSD school, I was very excited to hear the news that Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner will make it easier for families and community members to volunteer in South L.A. schools. Beutner has a proposal which will eliminate the costly fees charged for fingerprinting and background checks, simplify the process and expand the number of locations where families and community members can sign up to volunteer.
“Families and community members are essential to the success of our students and schools,” Beutner said. “We want to eliminate costly fees and needless bureaucracy, so every family and community member can help us provide every child with a great education.”
Currently, many working families and community members are discouraged by the cost and time needed just to register to volunteer at their local schools. To change this, L.A. Unified will cover the $56 fee charged by the state that each volunteer is required to pay to for fingerprinting and backgrounds checks. In addition, L.A. Unified will nearly double the number of locations where volunteers would be able to get fingerprinted and complete the process, going from seven to 13 locations.
“I fully support this initiative,” school board member George J. McKenna III said. “Anything that serves to support and increase parent participation is a great step toward engaging the community in our schools.”
And I fully agree with McKenna. As a parent, I’m fully engaged in my daughter’s education and after-school programs. What I don’t see is a lot of another parents volunteering. I’m hoping this new LAUSD proposal is successful. Nothing is more important than the education and future of our children.
And finally, I want to wish everyone who observes it a happy Thanksgiving. I will continue my tradition of gathering with my family members for dinner and saying a silent prayer for the indigenous natives whose land was stolen and who were led to slaughter by the Pilgrims.
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