We recognize our privileged position as students, academics, and city partners, as well as the particular perspective that these positions afford us. Due to these positions, and the fact that many of us are not original Angelenos, we have faced the challenge of being separated from grassroots, community-driven activism. To rectify this challenge, we seek to emphasize the need for community ownership of this process and have tried to lay out a framework for doing so, with the substance of the process to be determined by community members.
Occidental College’s Young Initiative on the Global Political Economy has an innovative partnership with the L.A. Mayor’s Office, which has primarily manifested through student task forces. Alongside city partners these task forces research how to integrate global norms into local policy, attempting to break traditional divides between the academy and community and between global norms and city-level action. This research has extended from different aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals and their relevance to a range of specific issues, as detailed here. However, in the Spring of 2021, Los Angeles Deputy Mayor and Chief Executive Officer Brenda Shockley specifically tasked a Young Initiative Student Task Force with exploring “Truth, Accountability, and Transformative Justice” as a way for Los Angeles to imagine new avenues for community-based practices to confront structural and institutional racism. In the Summer of 2021, a smaller task force, composed of students from the Spring Task Force, was charged with identifying recommended “first steps” for truth-telling in Los Angeles.
Our team is made up of students from Occidental College, who come from all over the world. These students share a desire to promote truth-telling in the search for a more equitable future in Los Angeles and the world. They work under the guidance of and in partnership with the advisors listed below.
John Parke Young Initiative
The John Parke Young Initiative on the Global Political Economy sponsors our work through funding and other support. The Young Initiative, housed at Occidental College, seeks to help envision alternatives to the status quo in the Global Political Economy and hosts speakers, workshops, and events, provides funding, and promotes city-community partnerships to further its mission.
City of Los Angeles
Our primary partners within the city include Deputy Mayor and Chief Equity Officer Brenda Shockley, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, and the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, all of whom have supported us through continued guidance, leadership, support, and enthusiasm for this work.