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Program Areas

Community Power Collective focuses on 4 primary work areas. Scroll down and click headings to expand/contract each section.

The Issue

For decades, we have seen how low-income immigrant communities in this country have found a way to survive even with a lack of formal job opportunities. Despite the ongoing criminalization, street vendors work hard every day and gift us with their art, delicious foods, and thriving local economies. And their mere presence on the public right of way calls the important questions: Who benefits from investment in public infrastructure? Why are some threatened by Brown and Black people creating sustenance outside of the formal economy? After more than 10 years of fighting, street vendors have won their right to vend legally on LA City sidewalks and parks. And recently, (through a state-wide coalition of diverse vending communities), street vendors led and won a statewide movement to update the California Retail Food Code and fully legalize street food vending!

As corporate interest tries both to co-op street vending and invest in criminalizing it, we have learned that this fight is for the long-term. While we have made immense progress in legalizing street vending of all kinds across the state, we still have to do the work of implementation and education. We also must continue to fight for equitable regulations that can vary across cities and counties. Our work has just begun.

Check out this MAP to learn more about where we organize and who we organize with!

Our Regenerative Proactive Path

Our organizing strategy stems from the urgency to radically transform our vending communities in LA County and City, and expand it across the majority of counties and cities in the state of California. Through powerful vendor-led and community alliances, we build power and seek justice for vendors by ensuring that street vending remains legal. We envision a world where vendors are free from the fear and trauma that stems from criminalization.

By building a strong vendor-led network, we aim to influence how legal vending programs are implemented. We also push back against institutional anti-vending efforts that threaten to expand criminalization – such as the No Vending Zones in LA City, the exclusion of vending in coastal zones, or misdemeanor citations by the Department of Public Health.

In order to win justice for vendors, we organize in diverse neighborhoods to make connections between workers, immigrant communities, and social impact organizations in order to strengthen our movements. It will take all of us if we want to make the necessary systems changes that our communities deserve.

Building Power Through Grassroots Organizing and Membership Development

  • Support organizing in close to 30 different neighborhoods across greater Los Angeles, and alongside several partners from outside of LA. Check out our map to see where we organize and who we organize with!
  • Host Vendor Assemblies were street vendors make strategic decisions about their work
  • Support the development of vendor-led organizing by providing trainings and resources so that vendors can make strategic decisions and grow their base-building capacity for the long-term.

Are you a street vendor? Check out this FREE resource for vendors to empower themselves & grown their businesses.

Building Power through Coalitions and Policy Change

  • The Los Angeles Street Vending Campaign (LASV) is a Coalition of 60+ organizations, led by Community Power Collective, Inclusive Action, and Public Council, with the goal of winning pro-vendor policies in the City and County of LA. Our current policy priorities include:
    • Equitable and well-resourced implementation of the City’s vending program
    • Special Vending Districts as alternative to No Vending Zones
    • Street vending specific County Health requirements and infrastructure so that food vendors have more opportunities (currently have to abide by restaurant and food truck food prep requirements).
  • The California Street Vending campaign (CASV) is a coalition of street vendors, community-based organizations, elected officials and activists advocating for street vendor rights and their inclusion through the modernization of the California Retail Food Code. The steering committee is composed of Community Power Collective (CPC), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Inclusive Action for the City, Public Counsel, Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Leimert Park Village Vendors, Brown Issues, and the Western Center on Law & Poverty.
    • We recently passed Senate Bill 972 – fully legalizing street food vending!

What will the future look like when we win?

The CA Street Vendor movement will become part of a city, state, national movement that uplifts immigrant workers on the margins, led primarily by women. Street vendors are recognized and valued as culture bearers who contribute to weaving the social fabric, systems of micro regenerative economy, micro entrepreneurship, and safety in this country. They have a real opportunity to earn a living, nurture their families and communities, and operate thriving businesses.

The Issue

Since the beginning of colonization the traditional cultural practices of Indigenous, Black and other people of color have been under constant siege. Colonial forces intentionally separate people from their traditional practices, languages and religious practices and each other in an effort to uproot their very existence. The pervasiveness of white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy continuously reminds our communities that in order to be relevant, one must submit to its profit driven will. Boyle Heights has a tremendous history of working people of color refusing this destiny and proposing alternatives. Whether it was the Jewish Bakers Union organizing multi-ethnic anti-facist demonstrations, Zoot Suiters articulating a culture of belonging, Japanese Americans resisting internment, Chican@ High School students organizing blowouts demanding a just and dignified education, Street Vendors demanding and winning legalization and decriminalization or Latinx families marching on the streets declaring that “Las Vidas Negras Importan!,” cultural power has played a vital role. Community Power Collective leads with the understanding that Art&Culture are inseparable and symbiotic resources that live at the essence of community vitality and transformation.

Our Proactive Regenerative Path
We provoke critical analysis with and of our community’s cultural convening practices as sites for the
facilitation of power and cooperation.

  • Fluidly embedding Arts & Culture as a daily organizational practice, a way of being
  • Lift up Arts & Culture as a viable resource to meet needs
  • Use an Arts & Cultural lens and practices to create new criteria for “development”

Power Building Through Grassroots Organizing and Membership Development

  • Identifying cultural practices and culture bearers in the community
  • Critically analyzing cultural practices to identify systems within
  • Controlling the narrative and imagining new ones
  • “Acuerdos” or community cultural agreements as a transformative shift away from “rules”
  • The “Convivio” as a method for weaving the social fabric

Power Building Through Policy Change and Coalition

  • Leveraging systems identified within cultural practices in communities of color to inform local and state policy
  • Intentionally bringing cultural power practices to coalition spaces
  • Use “Acuerdos” as north star guides to building culturally sustainable local ecosystems

What will the future look like when we win?

We are building a world entrenched in systems of cooperation. Community land trusts, cooperative housing and small businesses, operate in solidarity to support these human rights that are controlled by local autonomous interconnected communities. Arts&Culture is critical to ensure that many generations forward this remains a way of life.

The Issues

AffordabilityRiders are plagued with bus service that is unreliable, slow and often unaffordable. The majority of Metro riders are low-income bus riders who struggle to afford the ever rising costs of housing, food, and transportation in our region. Approximately 63% of riders earn household incomes of less than $25,000 annually and at least three out of every four riders  are Black or Latine ( source: 2022 LA Metro Customer Survey,” ETC Institute, May 2022, la-metro-bus-customer-survey/.) 

Environmental & Community Health – In addition to LA’s affordability crisis, low-income communities of color in LA also deal with the highest concentration of air  pollution. Our  massive investment in car culture is to blame. Los Angeles’ road infrastructure prioritizes cars over pedestrians and cyclists, making our streets less safe  for anyone not using a car . Our department of transportation values parking spaces over bus lanes and freeway expansions over augmenting bus fleets, encouraging car use over public transportation.

Public Safety – We are also battling a narrow definition of safety that promotes the safety of a few by excluding others – often those most vulnerable in our communities. This looks like law enforcement practices that disproportionately target poor communities of color. For example, in 2016, just 18% of Metro riders were Black, and yet they represented 50% of MTA citations and nearly 60% of arrests. The majority of these citations are for non-payment of fares, meaning people who cannot afford to pay the cost of public transit get punished with huge and unnecessary fines. (source) And while our communities suffer from these racist policing practices, our city leaders continue to pour over a billion dollars into police contracts rather than funding solutions that center community needs.

How do we create the change we need?

Universal Fareless Transit – Metro can and should be fare-free. Right now, the money we pay in fairs makes up less than 2% of Metro’s operating budget, and most of that money gets put toward enforcing fares… Eliminating fares would remove the economic barriers to low-income riders, improve operating efficiency, and increase ridership. More transit riders = fewer cars and less pollution. Fare-free transit promotes economic, racial and climate justice! And studies show it makes people feel safer too! (source) Generally, the more people in a station, on a bus or train, in any public space, the safer people feel.

Metro as a Sanctuary – Our Metro as a Sanctuary campaign was born in response to the systemic criminalization of transit riders of color, and especially of Black transit riders. We envision a public transit ecosystem that fosters a community of care and embraces the identities, strengths, and contributions of everyone in our communities. Transit stops can and should be places where communities can gather, where street vendors, young people of color and all of our neighbors feel welcome, comfortable, and able to access transportation that reliably gets them where they need to go.

What will the future look like when we win?

Everyone in Los Angeles has access to dignified, reliable, and high quality public transportation and public space that promotes a culture of care. Metro stations are vibrant, multi-cultural, multi-racial, and multi-generational spaces where neighbors look out for one another. Community members are empowered to create changes to the transit system based on collective needs. 

The Issue

Boyle Heights and adjacent areas of East Los Angeles that have histories of disinvestment, become targeted continuously for “redevelopment” projects that privilege the interests of investors, owners, and high end consumers over those of exiting residents driving out current residents and businesses, changing the culture and character of the neighborhood. The displacements caused by redevelopment in the present are patterned by the cumulative consequences of past displacements. Many people displaced by gentrification in Boyle Heights include members of families who were forced to move out of Bunker Hill and Chavez Ravine sixty years ago to make room for government subsidized concert halls, office buildings, and sports arenas. Some of the 60,000 individuals in Los Angeles today who are homeless are people who previously lived in neighborhoods torn down to make room for six lane freeways. Some residents of Boyle Heights have migrated to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America because of the ways in which free trade agreements and privatization policies enabled multinational corporations to gobble up land in that country and displace the residents living on it.

Our Regenerative Proactive Path

Cooperation is a social and cultural practice passed on for thousands of years to create healthy and sustainable communities. Humans animals and plants use cooperation to build relationships and sustainable ecosystems. For three years we have experimented with different formations to create shared values and vision for the Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles community. Our program takes lessons learned from our civil rights leaders in the south of the U.S., freedom fighters from all over the world, and mothers in our LA community to develop a community land trust and cooperative practices as a form of thriving.

Building Power Through Grassroots Organizing and Membership Development

  • Organize with East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights community members to guide the continued development of Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libres (FCTL) internal organizational structure
  • Capacitate FCTL Board on continued membership development
  • Organize with FCTL on moving Linda Vista III and 3rd and Laverne projects into predevelopment
  • Build organizing capacity to mobilize community residents in advocating for policies that will advance community control of land and housing at the city and county level

Building Power through Coalitions and Policy Change

  • Participate in the LA CLT TOPA initiative to engage in a unique opportunity to shift housing policies towards community-control
  • Participate in the Healthy LA coalition to protect working class workers, tenants, and vulnerable communities from being displaced including an immediate and long term response for recovery post COVID-19, by advocating for policies that prevent predatory lending and real estate development by corporate greed
  • Convene Southern California CLT’s to build capacity to create and shift policy on government support for CLT’s.

What will the future look like when we win?

Multiple interconnected community land trusts and housing cooperatives flourish across the nation with the charge of “Housing is a Human Right.” Community gardens and farms provide organic culturally sustainable food and living with the land is practiced broadly. Jobs/Industry are determined by local autonomous systems of governance that include youth and elders. Sustainable solidarity economies and practices such as recycling money and “trueque” support strong local economies.

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