UCLA and a coalition of groups including L.A.’s Promise, Los Angeles Urban League, Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce, Holman United Methodist Church and UCLA Black Alumni Association presented a special welcome reception for freshman Eighth District Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
Advocates and community members gathered at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on Feb. 29 to celebrate civic engagement at the local level as one of their own settles in at City Hall.
About 75 community members, civic organizers and UCLA alumni enjoyed the welcome reception at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.
Patsy Payne led a rousing performance by the Horace Mann Middle School Drum Line to open the program.
Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce President Armen Ross served as emcee for the event.
Pastor Kelvin Sauls of the Holman United Methodist Church noted that “these are consequential times” in need of proper civic representation. “We are with them as they seek to make a difference in South Los Angeles.”
“We are here because of actions,” said Nolan Rollins, president of the Los Angeles Urban League. “We are long over talking. We have got to celebrate actions, not words. I know what his (Harris-Dawson’s) actions look like. He is few on words because his actions speak for themselves.”
LAUSD Board Member George McKenna applauded the efforts of everyone who attended. “I trust the people who are here on the stage and you, in this audience, or you wouldn’t be here.”
Fourth District Councilmember David Ryu noted how wonderful it was when a homegrown civic leader like Harris-Dawson chooses to stay and represent his or her community. “He serves the community and he knows this community. It’s rare to see someone who forgoes those opportunities and rolls up their sleeves to serve their community.”
Harris-Dawson commended the Community Coalition, and also noted UCLA’s importance as a partner locally through the years. “UCLA, frankly, more than almost any other institution, made sure I could be here today and I knew I could run for the Los Angeles City Council because I knew the Community Coalition would be strong.”
At the end of the evening, UCLA presented Harris-Dawson with a special gift: a plaque with a copy of a letter from Chancellor Charles Young from March 23, 1965, asking Martin Luther King Jr. to visit the campus. The Selma march had taken place just days earlier, and the Voting Rights Act was on many students’ minds at UCLA. King ended up visiting on April 27, 1965, for what campus leaders called Selma Week.
The evening ended with a UCLA 8-Clap.
On Thursday, UCLA made a special visit to Horace Mann Middle School to show appreciation for the Drum Line’s performance and encouraged the students to continue reaching for the excellence they showed during the reception.