The Little Dry Cleaning Shop Around the Corner

When I Took Over My Family's Business on South Central Avenue in 1994 I Had Two Struggles: The Business and South L.A.

When the property owners on historic South Central Avenue (from Washington Boulevard to Vernon Avenue) started one of the first Business Improvement Districts in South L.A., I was surprised to be elected president of the group’s board of directors. I never thought we’d have a business improvement district here. I never thought I’d be running our family’s dry-cleaning business on South Central either.

But South L.A. has a way of surprising you.

The growth and success we’re experiencing are raising new questions for residents and businesses alike. For example, how do we …

What Did It Take to Clean Up South L.A.? $600 Million and Cooperation

Los Angeles Council Districts Banded Together to Attend to the Region’s Needs From Sweeping Alleys to Creating Jobs

As a public works commissioner for the city of Los Angeles, I would always hear residents say, “We pay taxes, why aren’t our trees trimmed, streets cleaned, and sidewalks repaired …

How 10 Year Olds, Not Cops, Spearhead Gang Prevention in South L.A.

The Leader of Los Angeles’ Gang Reduction and Youth Development Tried to Avoid Giving At-Risk Kids a Common Enemy

It seems counterintuitive, but it was one of the most important lessons I learned while leading Los Angeles’ Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) program in South L.A. and other …

Why I Don’t Care About My Neighborhood’s Bad Reputation

A Lifelong Watts Resident on the Perception, and the Reality, of the Much Maligned Area

Is there really something wrong with Watts? Or have we just taught ourselves to think that way?

I grew up in Watts, and for as long as I can remember …

A South L.A. Novelist on Why He Teaches Kids It’s OK to Be Weird

Jervey Tervalon’s Inner City Education Made Him a Passionate Reader and Respected Writer

As a teenager in South Los Angeles, I worked for Anti-Self Destruction, a government-funded neighborhood advocacy nonprofit. There I met Ollie, a handsome, slender supervisor who rocked lime green jumpsuits …

The South Los Angeles Future Will Be Shared

In a Stronghold of African Americans and Immigrant Integration, New Identities Emerge Rooted in a Sense of Place as Much as Race

The typical story of neighborhood change, often called ethnic succession, is one in which an incoming ethnic group “takes over” and wipes away the past. But that does not capture …