- Associate Director
- Director of Organizing
- Lead Organizer, Fight for the Soul of the Cities
- E-Organizer, Producer of Voices from the Frontlines
- Organizer, Fight for the Soul of the Cities
- Legal Advocate, Fight for the Soul of the Cities
The Strategy Center is a Think Tank/Act Tank
for regional, national and international movement building, founded in 1989 and based in the 10 million-person world city of Los Angeles. Our campaigns, projects, and publications are rooted in working class communities of color, and address the totality of urban life with a particular focus on civil rights, environmental justice, public health, global warming, and the criminal legal system. We build consciousness, leadership, and organization among those who face discrimination and societal attack--people of color, women, immigrants, workers, LGBT people, youth, all of whom comprise our membership. Linking mass struggles to the need for radical, structural change, we develop campaigns and demands that help build a revitalized world united front that can stop the rising tides of war, racism and imperialism, the ecological crisis and the growing police state. Our work often challenges both major political parties and takes on the organized Right. We fight to win.
Our work began in the early 1980s keeping the GM Van Nuys auto plant open for 10 years. We then moved in 1990 to Wilmington where we initiated a "clean up the refineries campaign." For the past 12 years, our work has focused on building and expanding the Bus Riders Union-the largest mass transportation membership organization in the United States. The work is built through a 12 person Planning Committee, 200 grassroots leaders, 3,000 dues paying members, 30,000 on-the-bus supporters, and hundreds of thousands of BRU supporters in L.A. County and California. Through the Center's organizing work and litigation we have won over the past 12 years: the retirement of 2,000 dilapidated diesel buses, the purchase of 2500 clean fuel CNG buses, and the creation of upwards of 1,000 green jobs through the hiring of bus drivers, mechanics, and maintenance people-$2.7 billion in funds for public transit.
The Fight for the Soul of the Cities is an international vision for urban organizing—focusing on Los Angeles, and from there, to the major cities of the U.S. in solidarity with the cities and people of the Third World. It is the product of 24 years of organizing by the Labor/Community Strategy Center, 20 years of work by our Bus Riders Union, and seven years of work by our Community Rights Campaign. It builds on our vision for L.A. and the urban movement in Reconstructing Los Angeles from the Bottom Up, written in 1992, and Towards a Program of Resistance, written by our Program Demand Group in 2002.
Our frontline frame: The Social Welfare State Not the Police State, the Environmental State not the Warfare State frame speaks to the world we want to build. It is also a direct challenge to our government’s war on the environment and working people and its enforcement of its agenda through the police, surveillance, and warfare state. We think the majority of people in the Black and Latino communities for sure, and a powerful force of all people in the United States either reject or want to reject the present agenda of joblessness, low-wage labor, intensified racial discrimination, violation of human rights, and ecological destruction. In 2008, a powerful majority thought they had voted for this agenda in the presidential elections.
Where else can you hear frontline movement organizers interview other frontline organizers, authors, activists, and revolutionaries from around the world? Listen live on Mondays at 4PM (PST) on Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7 FM, online at www.KPFK.org (streaming live), and to archives at the above link.
Creative tactics, from a groundbreaking civil rights Consent Decree to direct action and civil disobedience, drive a multiracial dynamo of 200 active members, 3,000 dues-paying members, and 50,000 supporters on the bus. The BRU has literally saved public transportation in Los Angeles and become the largest multiracial, mass transportation grassroots organization in the U.S. The BRU can accommodate all our specific campaigns because of its broad principles of unity and strong membership agreement with a wide, multi-issue progressive agenda.
The Strategy Center is initiating a new national campaign, Transit Riders for Public Transportation (TRPT), that will be focusing on mobilizing low-income communities and the most transit dependent to impact the forthcoming Federal Transportation Bill, T4, where hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake and new opportunities under an Obama administration must be seized.
We are leading a growing coalition of environmental and public health groups and directly impacted low-income community residents and bus riders in an international campaign to go Far Beyond Kyoto in the world's car capital. We are shooting to cut L.A.'s 7 million autos in half and reduce L.A.'s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% over the next decade.
We are confronting an epidemic of criminalizing low-income youth, especially Black and Latino youth, in the urban core communities where we organize. Instead of teaching pre-med and pre-law, schools have become pre-prisons where huge numbers of students are warehoused, "enrolled" and "databased" into the criminal justice system from early on.We have opposed expanded funding for police through the 1,000 More Buses, 1,000 Less Police Campaign, and are working in five LA high schools.
One of the best-known "graduate schools" in movement building in the U.S. More than 80 organizers have graduated since 1991, completing 6-12 months of rigorous 60-hour weeks in the classroom and organizing on the buses. They now comprise a national network of "long distance runners" who will commit years and hopefully a lifetime to highly professional and effective organizing work, with the Strategy Center and many other groups.
At a time when Right-wing ideology claims dominion, AhoraNow advances Left theory and practice. This publication, in English and Spanish (issue 5 also in French) gives primacy to voices from the front lines, to strategy and tactics. Are you interested in who is actually doing something and what their analysis is? Think there's life to the Left of the anemic debate in many progressive publications? Tired of 25 years of defensive liberalism? Sick of unapologetic and effective Right-wing organizing? Read...Ahora...Now.