May 09, 2013

LAWT News Service


In anticipation of the upcoming May 21 runoff between LA mayoral candidates, Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller, Wendy Greuel, community advocate and talk show host, Starlett Quarles, of THE Dialogue, in partnership with West Los Angeles College, is hosting an event designed to bring members of Los Angeles’ Black Community together to discuss how they can be a part of the new mayor’s agenda for the city of Los Angeles.

Entitled “A Dialogue with Black LA (DWBLA),” the civic engagement event will be free to the public and act as a catalyst for a new call to activism that is specifically designed to bring about tangible, positive changes in LA’s Black ommunities.  In order to achieve this objective, DWBLA organizers understood that the community itself would have to be more engaged. 

“As an officially designated predominantly Black institution of higher learning, we at West Los Angeles College (WLAC) are interested in engaging in and facilitating dialogue around the important global issues and those affecting our local communities,” said Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, president, WLAC. The ‘Dialogue with Black LA’ event is ideally set here given that West serves the communities of Ladera Heights, Baldwin Hills, the Cren­shaw District, South LA and other neighborhoods with high African American populations. Welcome to West!”

Over 700 residents of Black LA will gather to hear experts discuss and address two Black agenda questions: "What Should Black LA WANT?" and "What Does Black LA NEED To Do?" Each panel will host seven community expert panelists each representing one of DWBLA’s Black agenda items: Economic Development, Education, Criminal Justice, Cultural Com­petency, Health, The Faith Com­munity, and Political Accountability.

Panelists include: Kwanzaa Founder and Creator, Dr. Maulana Karenga and Brotherhood Crusade’s President, Charisse Bremond-Weaver, on Cultural Competency; Councilwoman Jan Perry of the 9th Council District and Nolan Rollins, President of the Los Angeles Urban League, on Economic Develop­ment; and 54th District Assembly­member Holly J. Mitchell and Con­gresswoman Karen Bass, on Political Accountability. 

“Political accountability means having a dialogue and holding yourself accountable for what’s needed to move an agenda forward,” said DWBLA panelist, Congresswoman Karen Bass of the 37th Con­gressional District. “One of the ways I hold myself accountable is making sure I’m in constant contact with the community through town halls and other methods to ensure I hear firsthand what my constituents are asking of me so that I can set the right priorities.”

The moderators for the DWBLA Panels represent the next generation of socially-progressive Black voices. The Moderator for Panel 1 is Brandon I. Brooks, managing editor of the L.A. Sentinel newspaper and the L.A. Watts Times Weekender; the moderator for Panel 2 is Erin Aubry-Kaplan, LA Times contributor/author; while the mayoral candidate conversations will be moderated by Dialogue host, Starlett Quarles.

DWBLA concludes with Quarles conducting one-on-one interviews on political accountability and the agenda for Black LA with the final two mayoral candidates: Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel. With the candidates fighting for the vote of LA’s Black community, the goal of DWBLA’s Mayoral Con­ver­sations is to help answer the question: “Who Will Black LA Hold Accountable?”

“‘A Dialogue with Black LA’ was born out of the need for the Black community to come together to discuss the creation of an agenda for Black LA,” said host and executive producer, Starlett Quarles. “As a community, we truly need to understand that City Hall will be won by our votes, and the next four years should not only be determined by endorsements but an overall Socioeconomic Development Strat­egy that not only benefits the Black Community but also includes Community Buy-In. That’s important. “

DWBLA begins at 8am with a community partner expo made up of local organizations and businesses that not only support the creation of an agenda for Black LA, but also provide products, services, and/or resources that can help to reinforce its evolution. The expo ends at 4pm. A small number of food vendors will be onsite, including Earlez Grille, Pucker UP Lemonade, Creative Cuisine Concepts, and Oat-a-Mola Cookies.

“A Dialogue with Black LA” will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 8am to 4pm at West Los Angeles College, Fine Arts Theater, 9000 Overland Avenue, Culver City, CA 90230 (near Jefferson). The event is free to the public. Space is limited. To RSVP, please visit:

Category: Community