Frontlines to Headlines Nov.-Dec. 2014




As the nation responded to the ongoing killings by police of unarmed young men of color, protesters in L.A. took to the streets and community-based organizations issued statements of solidarity. ABC TV’s breaking news coverage of responses to the failure to indict began with Youth Justice Coalition’s demonstration in Leimert Park. An organizer with Labor Community Strategy Center was one of a gallery of young people of color pictured on and explained why they came out. NBC News mentioned the Korean Resource Center (KRC) in an article about Asian-Americans showing solidarity with Ferguson demonstrators. The article quotes a joint statement from KRC and other organizations. Liberty Hill’s blog carried a statement from the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition.



The announcement of President Obama’s executive action on immigration drew praise along with calls for a more comprehensive solution. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), as a national leader in the immigration reform movement, was sought after for comment (L.A. Times, CNN, Washington Post), and the group’s role in meetings with the White House earlier this year was described (New York Times). Pilipino Workers Center, CHIRLA and KIWA members were interviewed by publications from various parts of the Southland including Orange County Register, EPG News and Pomona Economic Opportunity Center (PEOC)’s plans for a forum to help undocumented immigrants learn about the new plan was part of coverage in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and the San Bernardino County Sun.




Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) made national headlines when the organization helped an Azusa family become the first in the country to buy back their foreclosed home. NBC, ABC, and CBS all covered the story, along with the L.A. Times and the Washington Post.

The PBS documentary series, America by the Numbers, aired an episode about young Cambodian-Americans in Long Beach. Part of the documentary follows members of Khmer Girls in Action as they discuss the role of organizing in their community. The Long Beach Press Telegram has more on the episode.

The Nation’s StudentNation blog featured an entry from Californians for Justice, about the organization’s work to pass Prop 47.

PEOC is creating a program specifically geared toward helping women find job opportunities. Check the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin for more.

EdSource ran a piece about community groups making a difference in the educational system. InnerCity Struggle and Community Coalition were both featured.


Politicians, community members, and activists are working to shut down a battery recycling plant in Vernon that has been leaking toxins into the surrounding neighborhood. NBC’s coverage featured a quote from Mark Lopez, Executive Director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice.

An urban oil drilling site in South Los Angeles is sickening neighbors with dangerous fumes, and using toxic chemicals feet away from homes. Liberty Hill Fund for Environmental Health and Safety grantees, Redeemer Community Partnership and Esperanza Community Housing helped mobilize community members to attend a hearing about the site at City Hall. Check the L.A. Times, My News L.A., Streetsblog L.A., and KPCC for coverage.


The Colorado Anti-Violence Program, a Queer Youth Fund grantee, hosted an event in observance of national Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to memorialize transgender victims of hate crimes. Denver Westworld has the story.


Brothers, Sons, Selves Retreat Life-Changing Experience for Young Men of Color

BSS Retreat_4Last month, 40 young men from the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, a Liberty Hill campaign co-created in partnership with The California Endowment to improve the lives of young men, spent the weekend in Big Bear for a life-changing retreat.  The goals of the weekend were to grow the bonds between youth leaders, share BSS history and wins and settle on priorities for 2015. That was accomplished  and so much more!

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Liberty Hill Environmental Partners Fight Oil Drilling Plans in South LA



Kitchen window view of drilling site

By Joe Rihn

At Liberty Hill Foundation we understand that we all need clean air, and we all deserve safe neighborhoods, free from toxic chemicals.  But for some Angelenos who live in close proximity to urban oil wells, these necessities don’t exist.  Noxious fumes and continuous earsplitting noise are part of everyday life near drill sites, which are often placed in low-income communities of color.  With oil companies looking to increase production, more families are being placed at a greater risk.  That’s why we has established the new Fund for Environmental Health and Safety, which puts resources in the hands of organizations working to keep communities safe from drilling’s dangerous side effects.

Fund for Environmental Health and Safety grantees, Redeemer Community Partnership and Esperanza Community Housing, put those resources into action on a recent Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.   Liberty Hill organizing partners and other community members attended a public hearing about oil drilling in South L.A.’s West Adams neighborhood to take a stand for environmental justice.

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Commissions Training Program Graduates Celebrated

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Graduates (Left to Right): Jennifer Samson, Gabriela Garcia, Julia Plascencia, Carlos Aguilar, Jacqueline Agnello, Carlos Aguilar, Everardo Alvizo, Johanna Arias-Bhatia, Max Podemski, Orinio Opinaldo, Miranda Rodriguez

By Breana Weaver

On November 13, in a celebration at the historic Tom Bradley Tower at Los Angeles City Hall, Liberty Hill’s Wally Marks Leadership Institute for Change proudly presented its first class of Commissions Training Program graduates to an audience of family, friends, Liberty Hill donor-activists, and city staff.

Eleven grassroots leaders, all affiliated with nonprofit organizations, completed the yearlong program designed to train community leaders to become advocates within local government structures. Through workshops, presentations and coaching, participants are trained to serve on or work with city, county and state boards and commissions. Commissions and boards, as described in our blog about the program launch, “oversee key city agencies and advise elected officials and government employees on core policies and programs that impact the quality of life for all of our local residents.”

During her opening remarks, Shane Murphy Goldsmith, Liberty Hill’s President and CEO, explained that the commissions and boards of Los Angeles need everyday Angelenos to participate. Our ultimate goal is to help community organizers work more effectively with commissioners by training more leaders with community based experience to serve.

Most importantly, the Commissions Training Program aims to ensure that all Los Angeles communities are represented by commissions and board members who understand and can advocate for those communities’ needs. This mission was celebrated at the graduation.

Maria Cabildo, the keynote speaker, spoke about her journey to becoming an L.A. City Planning Commissioner, in which role she plays a significant part in the work of one of the most complicated and powerful commissions in Los Angeles. She, like many of the graduates being recognized, grew up in a low income community in East Lost Angeles. At a young age, she saw the need for better housing in her community. After attending college on the East Coast, she returned to Los Angeles with a goal of promoting and advancing socially and economically just community development in East Los Angeles. Cabildo went on to cofound East LA Community Corporation (ELACC), an organization that has captured and invested more than $155 million in affordable housing and community development resources, and has organized the participation of hundreds of community residents in development decision making, community planning and anti-displacement efforts.

As a City Planning Commissioner, Cabildo told the audience, “You have the power to elevate issues that really matter and create [awareness] for policies.” She also had advice for the graduates about the realities of working as a commissioner: “Sometimes the work you do as a commissioner does not create immediate change, but it is actually planting a seed for future change that matters.”

“You take a seed and you take it to a blossom, and you take a blossom till it becomes a fruit. That’s what this commissions training is all about.”

During the graduation, three graduates spoke about the personal experiences that led them to the Commissions Training. Max Podemski, a Planning Director at Pacoima Beautiful, describe how growing up in Portland Oregon, a city renowned for its progressive urban planning, led him to study urban environment through policy. He is currently creating a vision plan for converting the Los Angeles River into a more resourceful location that offers multiple amenities. “You learn [that] serving on commissions can be intimidating,” he said about the training program, but “It is the training that gave me confidence to serve on a commission.”

It was due to the events of 9/11 that Jennifer Samson, who had studied philosophy, decided to pursue a career that she thought would make a difference in the lives of Angelenos. At that moment, she said, “I realized that I could either make the world better through my effort or worse through my apathy.” As a Real Estate Development Director at the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation, she learned through the Commissions Training Program that as a commissioner, you must identify what the community wants and align your own vision with those needs. The lessons in civic process are relevant to her work to enrich neighborhoods, build iconic landmarks, and develop a 51-mile greenway along the river.

Gabriela Garcia, the last graduate to speak, had been involved with community organizations in South Central and Boyle Heights as an organizer since 2001, advocating around green space, community health access, affordable housing, community and economic development. When she saw the need for stabilization in her own neighborhood north of USC, she became involved with Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE). The training made her aware of the steps she can take as a resident, a mother, and an organizer to bring the community perspective to the table, such as serve on a board in her neighborhood.

The program moved and inspired the audience and the room filled with joy as the graduates received certificates and posed for photos. In addition to the three speakers, the graduates recognized were: Jacqueline Agnello, Senior Center Administrator at the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity; Carlos Aguilar, Director of Organizing at the Coalition for Economic Survival; Victor A. Aquino-Limeta, member of T.R.U.S.T. Los Angeles;Everardo Alvizo, Development Chair at Latino Equality Alliance; Johanna Arias-Bhatia, Government Affairs Manager at the South Central Los Angeles Regional Center; Orino G. Opinaldo, member of Strategic Actions for a Just Economy; Julia Plascencia, former Civic Engagement Coordinator at California Calls; and Miranda Rodriguez, Community and Events Coordinator at L.A. River Revitalization Corporation.

Head over to the Wally Marks Leadership Institute Commissions Training Program webpage for more information.


Give to Liberty Hill via AmazonSmile

By Crystal Shaw

smile_fb_logoAt Liberty Hill we understand that life is busy.  Time is valuable and in this day and age, people are constantly trying to figure out how to do more with less, and how to do several things at once.  Now you can shop and donate to grassroots organizing at the same time. This could be a breakthrough strategy for the holidays and beyond.

By registering with AmazonSmile and  shopping at you can donate a percentage of every online purchase you make to Liberty Hill Foundation.

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same wide selection of products and shopping features as on In order to browse or shop at AmazonSmile and make donations, customers must first select Liberty Hill Foundation as their charitable organization of choice. Then, for eligible purchases, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price to Liberty Hill!

It’s that easy.  Simply by shopping, you will be supporting awesome social justice right here in L.A. with the click of a button.  During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and in the months to follow, you’ll have one more way that you’re giving to Liberty Hill. Thank you!


Giving Tuesday Tip #12: Giving Tuesday!!

LHF-GT-Logo-Square-Hashtag-White-on-GreenIt’s Game Day … #GivingTuesday and Liberty Hill couldn’t be more excited!  Today’s tip is to repeat Tips 1-11 and GIVE.  If you missed a step in our 12 days of #GivingTuesday Tips series encouraging giving, today’s a great day to go back and follow it!  Here’s all the tips in order from 1-11.  Happy Giving!


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Giving Tuesday Tip #11: Not Just Another Meme Monday

LHF-GT-Logo-Square-Hashtag-White-on-GreenAt Liberty Hill we know what day it is, Cyber Monday, that day when folks who wanted to avoid the shopping crowds jump online to do their holiday cyber shopping instead.  Why not take advantage of all those Cyber Monday shoppers and encourage them to GIVE just $35 and support 35 grassroots groups. How? Just share one … or all of our Liberty Hill #GivingTuesday memes with your networks.  Here’s an example of one below.  You can download our entire gallery of Liberty Hill Memes here.  Then share them all! LHF-2014-GT-memes-01B

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday!! TOMORROW: Liberty Hill’s GIVING TUESDAY TIP#12.


Giving Tuesday Tip #10: Skip the Extras Sunday

LHF-GT-Logo-Square-Hashtag-White-on-GreenAt Liberty Hill we love #GivingTuesday and are committed to coming up with great ideas to inspire GIVING.   Today, instead of buying that pricey cup of coffee, dining out or getting that mani/pedi– why not Skip the Extras Sunday and put that money aside to give on #GivingTuesday – jump online and encourage your friends to do it too with these handy tools!



Giving Tuesday Tip #9: It’s Sweet to Tweet

LHF-GT-Logo-Square-Hashtag-White-on-GreenAt Liberty Hill we know that sometimes just a quick tweet to someone is all it takes to get them in gear to GIVE.  Why not tweet a message about #GivingTuesday as a reminder to think local?  And when giving $35, $350 or $3,500 to Liberty Hill, you’ll be helping more than 35 grassroots organizations right here in Los Angeles!  We’ve even got some examples of what you can tweet here.



Ferguson now. L.A. then. Justice for All.

BSS rally2

A statement from Shane Murphy Goldsmith, President/CEO, Liberty Hill Foundation.

“This is becoming an all too familiar feeling—one of outrage, anger, sadness, and a deep realization that we’re Black, and this system was not built to protect us.” These were the words Karen Driscoll, who manages our Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, sent me just hours after the grand jury decision was announced.

That decision sends a strong message—that if we’re Black, our lives don’t matter. But our Brothers, Sons, Selves youth leaders have not lost hope. They are leading the fight for long-term systemic change to end the extreme and continuing expression of racism in the form of killings, mass incarceration, failing schools. We urge you to read their statement on our blog.

Liberty Hill’s social media platforms are sharing the statements and comments put out by our grantee groups and allies, so please check in onLiberty Hill’s Facebook feed, and on Brothers, Sons, Selves Facebook feed. We welcome your comments and will continue to comment ourselves, using the hashtags #blacklivesmatter and #not1more.

For information about current protests, calls for action, and demands for justice at the federal level, visit, and You may also want to accessLetter to President Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder, a petition launched by immediately following the grand jury verdict.

As so many Liberty Hill supporters know, our nearly 40-year history encompasses the deep despair of 1992’s Rodney King uprising. Our leadership at the time is widely credited with galvanizing foundations and donors to respond and then deploying a grantmaking strategy that seeded and strengthened community organizations whose work has since improved conditions dramatically in L.A. It is the groups we were the first to fund and have supported for decades who have helped to lead the peaceful protests in our streets in response to Ferguson.

“L.A. Rising,” the 2012 report by Manuel Pastor and Michele Prichard that seeks to describe the lessons of our city’s experience for today’s movement building is available on this page of our website.

Peace and Progress,

Shane Murphy GoldSmith