After our break at the awesome Tacos el Gavilan in South Central Los Angeles, we visited a grassroots organization based in skid row called LA CAN.
The mission of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) is to help people dealing with poverty create & discover opportunities, while serving as a vehicle to ensure they have voice, power & opinion in the decisions that are directly affecting them.
We meet with two organizers from the center in their meeting room and discussed the cities’ attitude towards Skid Row. LA CAN has been around for a while but has really been empowering people on a much bigger scale since 2006 when the city started making initiatives to ‘clean up the streets of Skid Row’ which resulted in a unusually harsh crackdown on perceived illegal activity. The increased police presence in Skid Row did more harm than good and complicated city and residential/organizations ability to cooperate effectively.
LA CAN has also been pivotal in the education of tenants in Skid Row about their rights, even when staying in temporary shelters or housing.