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Systemic change in action: Empowerment, emancipation, equity, and accountability.

May 20, 2023 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Skid Row History Musuem & Archive
250 S. Broadway
Los Angeles CA
Los Angeles Poverty Department

Saturday, May 20, 12 /noon: Systemic Change in Action: Empowerment, emancipation, equity, and accountability.

Panel, moderated by Charles Porter with Mary Lee, expert on public health advocacy to address land-use policy, who will discuss historic impacts of inequitable practices and current implications, and Dr. Cheryl Tawede Grills, a formulator of emotional emancipation healing circles and member of the State Reparations Taskforce, who will share her local work grounded in the experiences of the Black diaspora.

This panel will discuss efforts to address institutional racism and systemic harm. We will spotlight best practices for addressing trauma, engaging system impacted individuals, challenging policies, and repairing harm.

This event is part of the exhibition COSMOLOGY & COMMUNITY: Networks of Liberation 
Open: Thu, Fri, Sat 2-5pm – through July 31, 2023.

Exhibition centers on the work of Community Curator Charles Porter, in collaboration with & support of curatorial staff of Skid Row History Museum & Archive. Charles Porter, Project Coordinator for United Coalition East Prevention Project [UCEPP], a community-based drug prevention program in downtown Los Angeles, has been working in the Skid Row Community since 1999, collaborating with community members to engineer campaigns to bring necessities, amenities, and agency to Skid Row. A hallmark of Charles’ work is the use of music, poetry, and the cultural heritage of the African diaspora to engage, educate and mobilize Skid Row community members.

The exhibition weaves together five components beginning with Charles’ family history and origins in a historic free Black New Jersey community, the role of mentors, and his education at Howard University. The second part of the exhibition explores philosophy, recovery, wellness, healing, and the quest for meaning, examining social model approaches utilized in Skid Row to create healthy lives and communities. The third part of the exhibition focuses on culture and explores Charles’ incorporation of cultural learning, music, poetry, and African traditions in his work in Skid Row. The fourth component highlights community formation and transformative community-led initiatives to increase safety, expand resources, provide support, and strengthen neighborhood ties. The final component highlights the need for voice, agency, and responsive systems that facilitate autonomy and increase accountability.

Original poetry on the gallery walls, narrating the components of the exhibition were written by Charles who also informed the creation of referential mural elements created by Dimitri Kadiev, Joshua Grace, and Ellie Sanchez. Each station has video and a notebook of historical and contemporary documents.