Opening Reception: Apr 18 2012
Los Angeles Poverty Department (2009 Performing Arts) present “Thirty Years of Organizing on Skid Row,” a conversation with Nancy Mintie, Gary Blasi, Pete White and You, the audience, about the ongoing struggle of Skid Row residents for social justice. A slide presentation documenting historical grassroots actions will punctuate and animate the discussion.
Twenty-seven years before Occupy, there was Tent City. In 1984, the Homeless Organizing Team put up circus tents and housed 400 people across the street from LA City Hall, while demanding housing and jobs for LA’s homeless population. The protest brought worldwide attention to the exploding problem of homelessness. The Homeless Organizing Team was made up of Skid Row residents and staff and volunteers from the Inner City Law Center and the Catholic Worker.
In 1980, Nancy Mintie founded the Inner City Law Center and brought the first free legal services to the people of Skid Row. Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles staff attorney Gary Blasi worked with Mintie and a battery of public interest lawyers from throughout Los Angeles to bring huge positive changes to the lives of all homeless people in Los Angeles County. In 1999, Pete White founded the LA Community Action Network. LA CAN has successfully organized neighborhood residents to resist displacement and the Safer Cities Initiative. Blasi, now a professor of law at UCLA, continues to work on Skid Row issues often in collaboration with LA CAN.
The event is produced by The Los Angeles Poverty Department and the Otis College of Art and Design Integrated Learning program. The event is part of LA Poverty Department‘s WALK THE TALK, a project that combines performance, visual art and conversation about people and groups that have made community on Skid Row.
Los Angeles Poverty Department will start the evening with a 15-minute in-progress excerpt from Walk the Talk, a performance scheduled for May 26, 27 and 28. This three-day peripatetic performance—with brass band—will travel through Skid Row and tell the stories of 36 neighborhood visionaries in the places where they’ve lived and worked. Walk the Talk intends to bring the history of the community to life and keep it alive.
A public art component of Walk the Talk, consisting of 36 portraits of the Walk the Talk visionaries designed by Mr. Brainwash, will be permanently installed in Skid Row. Nancy Mintie and Pete White are among those commemorated in the plaques.