Los Angeles, CA --- On Sunday May 15th 350 faith and community leaders from the broad-based, nonpartisan organization One LA-IAF gathered at St. Brigid Catholic Church in South LA. The public assembly invited major candidates for the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles and for County Supervisor, District 3. Candidates Karen Bass, Mike Feuer, Lindsey Horvath and Henry Stern attended.
Leaders from all corners of the county (South Los Angeles, the Westside, the Eastside, the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys) came together to present a common agenda that cut across faith, race, and geographic lines. Kicking off the assembly, Lambreni Waddell from Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles declared, "Today we declare our intent to work together and recognize the many ways we are different and the many ways we arealike. Today we call on ourselves and others to come together to be one LA.” The agenda focused on housing and homelessness, mental health and healthcare access, and the Los Angeles economy.
One LA-IAF is calling for an additional 3,000 mental health beds in the county and also asked candidates to prioritize building permanent housing over enforcement and sweeps. West Hollywood City Council Member and Supervisor District 3 candidate Lindsey Horvath stated, “Yes, I will absolutely partner with One LA in this work…. It is essential that we bring everyone into this conversation as a local leader, focused at the local level building housing…One LA will be a firm partner with me and the work that we do.”
One underlying issue mentioned throughout the afternoon was the inability for the County and City of Los Angeles to work together effectively. Every candidate was asked if they agree to work with One LA members on making the government accountable to Angelenos.
Mayoral candidate Karen Bass stated, “The best way our democracy works is for community organizations like One LA to be in constant communication with our government. The best way to govern is to do policy together.”
State Senator Henry Stern and Supervisor District 3 candidate stated, “Gracias, [One LA] are the essential workers of justice here…Sometimes the answer is not trying to do it yourself. Sometimes the answer is building that coalition …I hope we change our culture of politics and find a way to be generous to each other and not always try to be the first to cut the ribbon but maybe the first to do the hard part too.”
The afternoon opened up to thunderous applause inside the sanctuary as a roll call of over 25 member institutions was announced. Local leaders then shared stories about the issues they and their communities are facing. A young Latino father shared his 2-month wait to get emergency mental health services for his 14-year-old daughter, a homeless service provider volunteer recounted the bureaucratic mess to find a home for a man who lost his housing solely due to medical debt, and a Black mother and veteran shared how her family was priced out of their rental home in Jefferson Park.
“As people of faith we grieve and gather… we mourn and mobilize.. we take action. We are not waiting to be rescued, today we gather to build a more just and equitable city,” declared Rabbi Dara Frimmer from Temple Isaiah during the invocation.