Saturday, October 17, 2015: Los Angeles. Union de Vecinos and People Organized for WEstside Renewal (POWER) have come together in an unprecedented east side/west side partnership of communities, resources, and staff. Both organizations have been working with low income communities in Los Angeles for 20 years to fight displacement, preserve public and rent controlled housing, fight for better education, reclaim neighborhoods, and fight for environmental justice, to name a few.
Although located at opposite ends of the city, the problems facing east and west Los Angeles in struggling communities are often the same. Communities in places like Boyle Heights, Maywood in the east, and Culver City, Venice in the west, where Union de Vecinos and POWER work, respectively, have come under threat from private interests, criminalization of the poor, and gentrification. To push back against these forces, Union de Vecinos and POWER are pulling together their resources to launch a successful model of community engagement. Their model for organizing won a Best Practices award in 2000 from the Huairou Commission of the United Nations! Through an in-depth process of analysis, organizing and action, both organizations will work to put power back in the hands of communities.
The partnership will increase capacity, double their relationships and effectiveness, and expand their membership base. Union de Vecinos and POWER pride themselves on a membership base of more than 500 Angelenos. In their 20 years of service they have nurtured and cultivated dozens of effective leaders in the communities they work in. Co-Director Elizabeth Blaney said of the partnership, “The partnership is part of a much larger vision - create a movement in the east and west of Los Angeles that generates two waves that move toward the center, galvanizing and organizing struggling communities to find a voice in a changing city." Said Bill Pryzlucki, Executive Director at POWER, "..."