The Fight over L.A.’s Skid Row

During a recent visit to Los Angeles for the annual Soros Justice Fellowship Conference, I had an opportunity visit the city’s Skid Row. I met with Skid Row residents and organizers at the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN).

The organization hosted Hamid Khan, a 2011 Soros Justice Fellow whose fellowship focused on coalition work challenging police surveillance and racial profiling practices that criminalize benign and legal activity—like gathering in groups—rendering people in Los Angeles communities of color as criminal suspects.

During conversations with LA CAN community organizer Eric Ares and Skid Row resident Bilal Ali, I learned that entire communities in Los Angeles’s Skid Row are being criminalized and pushed out in a shocking fight over valuable downtown real estate.

In response, LA CAN developed the Share the Wealth Platform to align community and business interests to promote more equitable downtown development and prevent the criminalization of poverty.

Ares said, “As new downtowners and new politicians and business interests try to attract new downtowners, that comes at the expense of low-income residents who aren’t having a voice at the decision-making tables.”

Watch The Fight over L.A.’s Skid Row to learn more about how LA CAN and others are working to help longtime Skid Row residents have a voice in how the area is changing.

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