May 18, 2-4:3pm COME TOGETHER
at Skid Row History Museum & Archive

Sean Gregory, Matt Horns (presented by Ray Lewis and Mr. Pancake), Queen Mama Tabia, Young Mi Chi, Matt Harper, Tom Grode, Sean Gregory, Al Ballesteros.

May 25, noon -4pm WALK THE TALK
Starts at the Skid Row History Museum & Archive
and ends in Gladys park

Clancey Cornell, Kayo Anderson, Lorinda Hawkins Smith, “Mama” Linda Leigh, Adelene Bertha, “Downtown” Gary Brown, Sieglinde von Deffner, Sir Oliver


Los Angeles Poverty Department Presents Walk the Talk 2024

Saturday, March 25, noon – 4 pm

LAPD’s parade/ performance celebrates people who live and work in Skid Row.
They rock the community and love the neighborhood.

Put on your high heeled sneakers — make that your walking / dancing shoes — and get ready for Los Angeles Poverty Department’s (LAPD) 2024 “Walk the Talk” parade/performance, celebrating people who love the community and prove it every day. Jubilation is the cadence of the parade, with the Torrence Brannon & his Everything with Soul New Orleans style Brass Band! leading the way. Portraits by artist Hayk Makhmuryan will be carried aloft as the parade dances through neighborhood streets from one performance site to the next. Below, are this year’s “Walk the Talk” honorees, whose stories will be told in scenes created and performed by LAPD’s Skid Row resident performers. Walk the Talk is a high energy blast and an exercise in place keeping. This is a celebration of Skid Row as a community, a neighborhood and its profound ideas and initiatives. The honorees are chosen by their peers —the residents of the Skid Row neighborhood. Performance sites are chosen by honorees as THE PLACE that means the most to them and their work.

On Saturday May 25, the performance/parade begins at noon at the Skid Row History Museum & Archive, 250 S. Broadway, in downtown LA, and concludes at Gladys Park, 808 E. 6th Street. A map of the parade route is on LAPD’s website, here.

Clancey Cornell began her engagement in Skid Row as a volunteer at the LAMP arts studio (now the People Concern’s Studio 526) and then with LAPD, where she’s played an important role as the first archivist at the Skid Row History Museum & Archive and in producing the Festival for All Skid Row Artists.

Kayo Anderson. From Detroit, Kayo is a former Skid Row resident and dedicated to the well-being of all Black and oppressed people using music and the arts as a medium for individual and community wellness and growth. Currently, he is the minister of music and artistic development with The Row Church Without Walls and Creating Justice LA.

Lorinda Hawkins Smith transitioned from being homeless in Skid Row to housed and completed an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She’s an actor, singer, video maker, author, playwright, and advocate against domestic violence. Currently Lorinda has leading roles with the Open Mic at the Skid Row History Museum and was the MC of the Festival for All Skid Row Artists.

“Mama” Linda Leigh is an artist who creates rituals and ceremonies integrating song, the written word and visual art for healing and consciousness raising. She has been involved with Street Symphony, Urban Voices Project, Studio 526, Skid Row Coffee, LA CAN Food and Wellness Committee, Skid Row Community Refresh Spot and the Skid Row Action Plan.

Adelene Bertha grew up in Skid Row, and was part of the United Coalition East Prevention Project (UCEPP) youth program. Currently she is a Senior Peer Support Specialist with LA’s Downtown Women’s Center and Co-chair of the LA City Skid Row Park Advisory Board.

“Downtown” Gary Brown is a musician and painter, active for 20+ years in Skid Row. In 2023 his work was showcased at The Grove L.A and is currently at The Wende Museum. He doesn’t toot his own horn — well, he does amazing toots on his saxophone (and jingles those piano keys) but he’s very humble and quiet about his talent.

Sieglinde von Deffner is L.A. County Skid Row coordinator for the Department of Health Services. Sieglinde has helped lots of folks get off the streets and get services. She is always keeping an eye out for the most vulnerable people that she has sheltered.

Sir Oliver brings the community together in the spirit of Bob Marley, but more so in the spirit of knitting the community and arts together in the most grassroots approach. He has produced numerous Bob Marley Day, and Jamaican Independence Day festivals in Skid Row. Oliver is responsible for the City of LA’s recognition of Bob Marley Day.

Biennially, since 2012, LAPD has produced “Walk the Talk,” celebrating Skid Row community builders, chosen by a vote of Skid Row community members.

Performance- and interview videos of all Walk the Talk honorees generated throughout the project’s 12-year history are available online on the Skid Row History Museum & Archive’s dedicated website. Additional materials are accessible in the Museum’s archive, which is open to the public Tuesday and Thursday: 10am-6pm, Friday from 12-5pm and by appointment, [email protected] Visit for more information.


Saturday, May 18, 2-4:30pm at the Skid Row Museum

We’ll Come Together for 8 presentations by WALK THE TALK nominees Michael Hubman, Queen Mama Tabia, Young Mi Chi, Matt Harper, Tom Grode, Sean Gregory, Al Ballesteros and Matt Horns – presented by Ray Lewis and Mr. Pancake.

The afternoon is part of the Walk The Talk project, which honors Skid Row community members whose initiatives are making a difference in people’s lives every day, and a prelude to the Walk the Talk parade, which will happen on May 25, 2024.

A COME TOGETHER uses a community presentation format conceived by Harrell Fletcher, where eight individual “presenters” are chosen to briefly present about their work in Skid Row.
* They will be introduced by their selectors with a 3 minute introduction.
* Then they’ll give 7-minute presentation in any form, e.g., a performance, a demonstration, or a lecture.
* After the presentation there will be 5 min. for the audience to ask questions.
The presentations happen back-to-back, combining the insight and passion of both selectors and presenters.

This years presenters are:

HONORING: Matt Horns an amazingly knowledgeable gardener, guitarist. Matt was a biologist. He worked for the state wildlife agency –monitoring endangered species. He donated to the Skid Row organizations that he loved. And he participated in the work of LA CAN. He made music with Franc Foster and others. He passed way too young.

PRESENTED by: Ray Lewis – leader of the Ase Ashe drummers. He has been in the community for over a decade and participates in LA CAN actions, is a fellow with Street Symphony, and performed in LA Poverty Department’s performance, “I Fly!” (at REDCAT Theater) and the Festival For All Skid Row Artists since its inception in 2010, where he now leads the festival’s ‘house-band’. He’s also a victim of police brutality. He has studied African healing techniques and shares this with the community in workshops at community events. He was initiated in Kundalini Reiki and share this Cosmic Energy in the world and Community in workshops and in everyday communication.
And George Herod aka Mr. Pancake – a soldier and a part of most events in Skid Row. He is warm and loving and he blesses people with his singing. Pancake has a song or a smile for everyone he meets – he doesn’t have to know you, even better if you are a stranger. He is one of the bold few who are out in the street waving people into the organic market on Thursdays at LA CAN, dressed as a cucumber and it’s 85 degrees! Pancake also has a religious side to him, and he meets people wherever they are at. He is a soldier for the community.  You’ll hear “BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE” ringing of the buildings of the Historic Core. Pancake is the guru of Skid Row: a healer and spiritual giant.

PRESENTER: Michael Hubman  Hello I ‘am Michael “Waterman” Hubman. I am the founder of` Watercorps and Right To Share Food. With Watercorps I began my 14 years of service, providing bulk drinking water to the homeless people of Skid Row, Los Angeles. During most of the 14 years I also lobbied the city on behalf of the human and civil rights of Homeless people and the underclass. As a part of the lobbying, I reacted when some of the political leaders of LA, attempted to restrict the sharing of food. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of my 14-year journey is how this service came to be. I worked as a fabric buyer for my fiancé’s custom bridal shop. While not thinking about service, I took a curious interest in the homeless people of the LA area. I also found inspiration form the humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Soon after the tsunami, came Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I volunteered at Emergency Communities kitchen and disaster response in greater New Orleans. Since 1999 I have been a Rainbow (Rainbow Family of Living Light) Since becoming a Rainbow, water has been my focus. In response to Katrina, the Rainbow Family did something that they had never done since their founding in 1972. They mounted multiple organized responses to the hurricane. This motivated me to start up a disaster response organization. Instead of waiting for a disaster to happen; It occurred to me in a revelation, that I knew of an ongoing disaster. On October 16, 2006 I brought my first water to Skid Row Los Angeles.

INTRODUCED BY: John Malpede founding director of Los Angeles Poverty Department.

PRESENTER: Queen Mama Tabia (QMT) – painter, photographer, musician, writer, zine maker, don’t event start describing Queen Mama Tabia Salimu. Cuba, African diaspora, New York, Los Angeles. The list goes on. Black mother, grandmother, friend, collaborator. Outspoken about living with mental illness, making art and writing about it and chipping away at stigma for herself and others. Historian! also, a person who likes to have a floor to ceiling living history of photos, artwork, clippings on her apartment walls (you should see her apt walls!). A most wonderful human being. This woman has been contributing to many spaces and places in Skid Row neighborhood for over 20 years. A lot of people know her, and everyone who knows her, loves her. “Tsfu tsfu tsfu,” to ward off the evil eye, as my grandmother would say. Queen Mama Tabia has the most soothing presence, while also being absolutely real, absolutely honest, and absolutely open.

INTRODUCED BY: Hayk Makhmuryan is an Armenian artist, arts worker and community organizer living in occupied Kizh/Tongva land (aka LA region) and has worked in LA’s Skid Row neighborhood since 2008.

4. PRESENTER:  Young Mi has been conducting free arts workshops throughout Skid Row for over 10 years. She began volunteering at Studio 526 back in the day when it was called the “LAMP Arts Program”. With a few other volunteers and artists she met at Studio 526, she started Creative I, a grassroots artivist collective to bring art workshops to spaces and events in Skid Row. Without any infrastructure, she just goes out and does it. Amazing grit, kindness, and persistence. Young Mi is a professional graphic designer-–and does an amazing job designing the Skid Row Art Zine.

INTRODUCED BY: Henriëtte Brouwers associate director Los Angeles Poverty Department.

PRESENTER:  Matt Harper has been a live-in community member with the Los Angeles Catholic Worker for the last 7 1/2 years where he is co-editor of their newspaper, Catholic Agitator. Through the LACW, he is part of the Skid Row Now & 2040 Coalition. Additionally, Matt also organizes white people in the Los Angeles area into strategic and accountable anti-racist action with White People for Black Lives, the local affiliate of Showing Up For Racial Justice.

INTRODUCED BY: Jeff Dietrich joined the L.A. Catholic Worker six months into its founding and met his wife, Catherine, there just a year later.

PRESENTER:   Tom Grode – No one is more involved in Skid Row activism and trying to promote all that’s good in the Skid Row community than Tom Grode. Through direct, committed involvement in the numerous community organizing efforts and staying informed, Tom has championed many issues. It will be a difficult to name all the efforts that Tom has been involved with. He is like an ephemeral weaver of sorts, listening, involved, participating from the local to linking to macro historical perspectives and stories and causes. Tom is involved in political and artistic, cultural life and development in Skid Row community through Los Angeles Poverty Department, Skid Row Action Plan, Skid Row Now & 2040, Urban Voices Project, Skid Row Community ReFresh Spot with the Skid Row Community Improvement Coalition to list a few. He is an honorary member of the Gabrielino-Tongva, one of the major Native tribes in Los Angeles County.  Tom is the co-founder of Skid Row Cooling Resources.

INTRODUCED BY: Danny Park a Korean American who grew up in the Skid Row community where his parents have owned the Best Market on the corner of 5th and San Pedro since 1992.

PRESENTER:  Sean Gregory a long-time Skid Row community resident, activist, and artist. He was initially introduced to Skid Row during the Occupy LA movement. From there, he became an intern with the Los Angeles Community Action Network, where he helped organize membership meetings. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to improve the conditions of Skid Row residents. I support the work of UCEPP, am involved with the Skid Row Artist Festival, and work at the Refresh Spot to improve access to hygiene. The spirit of Skid Row and the most significant recovery community clearly shines on Sean. He is currently working with Venice Community Housing, a permanent supportive housing site in West Los Angeles. In his off time, he also golfs and cooks. Getting to know Sean means getting to know his energy, his anger at injustice, and his goal of giving more every day.

INTRODUCED BY: Steve Diaz – Skid Row Activist and former Deputy Director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network an A native Angeli­no.

PRESENTER: Al Ballesteros President & Chief Executive Officer of JWCH Institute, Inc., a Los Angeles based non-profit, Federally Qualified Community Health Center. As CEO of Wesley Health Clinic, his work is throughout the county, but he has a heart for Skid Row and Wesley is expanding its services to Skid Row. Al is one of the nation’s foremost leaders on healthcare reform and federally qualified health care centers. Growing up, Al experienced and witnessed the disparity and lack of quality healthcare for some of the most vilified segments of society. That’s led him to use his position and capacity to create a model system that provides hope for the most vulnerable; regardless of your ability to pay, nobody gets turned away.

INTRODUCED BY: Christopher Mack – JCWH Health Institute – literally walks the walk, talks the talk and thinks the thoughts which made him a 2016 Walk the Talk recipient.

Cast & Crew

LAPD’s Walk The Talk 2024 is performed by Stephanie Bell, Henriëtte Brouwers, John Chase, Iron Donato, Tom Grode, Jaiye Kamson, Keith ‘Footie’ Johnson, John Malpede, Lee Maupin, Christopher Michael, Lorraine Morland, Aidan Starbird, and Anthony ‘ToneTone’ Taylor.

Project Funders


“Walk the Talk” 2024 project activities are made possible with support from California Arts Council and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and LA County Department of Arts and Culture as part of Creative Recovery LA funded by the American Rescue Plan. LAPD programs are supported by The Ahmanson Foundation; Annenberg Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, California Humanities, The Kindle Project; Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture; and Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. LAPD is a member of Los Angeles Visual Arts Coalition (LAVA) and Skid Row Arts Alliance.