On April 20, the Community Coalition welcomed distinguished U.S. Rep. John Lewis (GA-5) to South LA for a conversation with community leaders. The conversation focused on recent actions and discussions around gun violence in the U.S. and in communities of color and focus on issues that continue to impact South LA residents such as education equity, criminal justice and bail reform. Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37), founder of Community Coalition, was on hand to help facilitate the discussion.

Inspired as a child by Dr. King, Rep. Lewis organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, participated in the Freedom Rides, served as chairman of  the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and assisted in orchestrating the historic March on Washington.

In 1964, he helped to spearhead the march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma that became known as “Bloody Sunday” and worked to move the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, Rep. Lewis has remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” Rep. Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America.  

For nearly 28 years, Community Coalition has provided a hub to elevate South LA’s voice and empower residents to take control over the future of their neighborhoods. Community Coalition works with residents to build a prosperous and healthy South LA with safe neighborhoods, quality schools, and a strong social safety net. The Coalition continues to work on positive economic development that reduces crime, poverty and substance abuse in South LA through resident organizing, direct advocacy and community support services.