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Serving the communities in Los Angeles covering the Los Angeles County Second Supervisorial District, the Empowerment Congress is here to empower and engage all members of our diverse communities to ensure our collective voice is heard by:
- Encouraging and enlisting the full participation of our community to improve our quality of life
- Educating and informing our community on how government works
- Developing strategies that shape policy and legislation
- Connecting our community with public resources
Founded in 1992 by then Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Empowerment Congress is a dynamic partnership among neighborhood groups, residents, nonprofit organizations, businesses, religious institutions, and community leaders. The Empowerment Congress served as a model and precursor to the City of Los Angeles’ Neighborhood Councils. It is now serving over 2.5 Million residents in the Los Angeles County 2nd Supervisorial District.
The Empowerment Congress is an ongoing effort in participatory government, founded on the principle that elected officials are most effective when the constituents they serve are actively involved in the decision-making process. After nearly two decades since inception, the Empowerment Congress has now expanded its programs and mission of civic engagement and community empowerment to the Los Angeles County Second District, which includes nine cities (Los Angeles, Carson, Compton, Culver City, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, and Lynwood) and many neighborhoods of unincorporated areas: Athens, Baldwin Hills, Del Aire, East Compton, El Camino Village, Firestone, Florence, Graham, Ladera Heights, Lennox, Marina del Rey, Rancho Dominguez, View Park, West Carson, West Compton, West Rancho Dominguez, Westmont, Willowbrook, Windsor Hills, Wiseburn.
The Empowerment Congress is comprised of nominated and appointed members organized to engage their peers in efforts to improve their communities and directly impact policies and decisions that impact the lives of all residents in the 2nd Supervisorial District of Los Angeles County.
Title: Affordable Care Act (ACA): How the 2nd District is Benefiting from Health Reform
Session Description: The Health Committee invites participants to an informative session on the newly passed Affordable Care Act (the 2010 health reform law) and its direct effects on the Second District. Local community experts will provide an overview and answer questions about the Affordable Care Act and the benefits that have recently become available to Second District residents! Special emphasis will be placed on the now available LA County’s Healthy Way LA (HWLA), a coverage program available for adults meeting income and residency requirements and who do not qualify for other public programs. Community residents will also be on hand to provide testimony as to how they have already benefited from health reform.
Title: Bridging Disparities in Access to Mental Health Services
Session Description: The Mental Health Committee will convene a panel of experts that will review disparities in access to mental health services, with special focus on the needs of our African American, Latino and Asian Pacific Islander communities of the Second District. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss mental health disparities in facilitated group discussions. Discussion will focus on mental health disparities as they affect historically under served ethnic minority communities. Participants will gain knowledge of strategies and resources to overcome barriers to access.
Title: Food Stamps, Safe Sleeping and Advocacy for Foster Youth: Making a Difference in Real Time
Session Description: The Human Services Committee invites participants to take part in a dialogue focused on finding solutions! Current economic conditions have impacted our community in hard-hitting ways. Loss of income threatens the ability to feed the family. Stress and inadequate living conditions may cause tempers to flare and potential harm to children. Workshop participants will engage in an interactive dialogue to plan and execute actual interventions to address these issues and strengthen families.
Title: Getting the 2nd District Back to Work!
Session Description: The Economic Development Committee understands that providing job opportunities to Second District constituents is a community priority. This session will educate participants on how to take advantage of targeted hiring programs for the following Second District projects: Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital and Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center, Exposition Metro Light Rail Line Phase 2 and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Individuals will leave the workshop with a wealth of information and step-by-step guidance on getting hired through each project’s targeted hiring program.
Title: How to Reconnect: The Impact of Incarceration on Families; Is Realignment Working?
Session Description: The Public Safety Committee will present a workshop to encompass their work through the year on AB 109 (Criminal justice alignment) by discussing the effects of incarceration on families and how to help formerly incarcerated individuals get reconnected. The session will provide resources to community residents who have been impacted by the incarceration of a family member and help dispel myths or misinformation.
Title: Staying in the Groove: Seniors Living a Safe, Healthy, and Active Lifestyle
Session Description: Los Angeles County is home to over 1.5 million seniors facing common, everyday issues that can negatively impact their quality of life; the newly formed Senior Services Committee wishes to shed some light on these issues and empower the community towards positive solutions. More and more senior citizens find themselves victims of scams, abuse, poor health or feelings of isolation. This workshop will provide simple lifestyle alternatives designed to empower seniors to be proactive in living a safe, healthy, and active lifestyle.
Title: The Benefits of Going Green for the Second District
Session Description: “Does being green matter?” This session will provide participants with an understanding of why environmental issues should matter and will encourage sustained engagement on environmental issues. The session will demonstrate the many different ways participants can be engaged and active as well as showcase the social, ethical, and financial benefits of environmental action. Let’s take action – at any scale – to make environmental issues a part of your everyday life!
Title: The Empowerment of Art
Session Description: The newly formed Arts & Culture Committee will host an interactive artistic workshop, which will include a screening, performances, and a panel discussion that will illuminate the economy behind the arts and showcase how the arts educate and inspire our communities. The committee endeavors to introduce themselves, connect, and educate people about the arts in the Second District.
Title: The Good, Bad and Ugly of Government Realignment and Its Impact on Communities
Session Description: You’ve heard lots of talk about state and local government realignment and its impact on local communities. If you want to get a better understanding of how realignment of government services should work and the proposals currently being debated, this panel discussion is for you. This session will discuss California’s system of government and the prospects for reforming it. The various proposals for realignment of state services to local government will be discussed. In addition, realignment proposals that could appear on the November 2012 ballot, including California Forward’s proposal, will be discussed at length. There is a considerable amount of misinformation surrounding realignment and this panel discussion can clarify some of those issues.
Title: The Value of Building Community Capacity
Session Description: In this special session, nonprofit leaders, capacity builders, subject-matter experts, and participants will engage in a discussion about the role of community capacity building in the Second District. Topics include the value of integrating resources and how to increase efforts to support capacity building in communities. The session will address the role programs and services, that address capacity building, can play in producing sustainable and meaningful community outcomes.
Title: Youth Empowered: Celebrating Our Heritage, Strengthening Our Community (Youth Only, Grades 9-12)
Session Description: The Education Committee will once again convene Second District youth and provide a platform for their voices with a Youth Summit. This session is only open for YOUTH (grades 9-12). Join youth from across the Second District in an in-depth discussion centered on identity and culture. With an aim toward strengthening the collective fabric of our communities, this workshop will explore the cultural interconnectivity that exists within the Second District. With the assistance of trained facilitators, students will discuss and develop solutions for a more cohesive and inclusive Second District.
To register, click here.