By Ariyana Griffin
LEIMERT PARK — The South Los Angeles community gathered together Dec. 10 to celebrate the election of Karen Bass as the first woman mayor and the second Black mayor of Los Angeles.
A homecoming celebration was held in Leimert Park Village hosted by Tavis Smiley and KBLA Radio 1580 to welcome Bass. It was the first public celebration of Bass being elected mayor and was held a day before her formal swearing-in celebration that was held at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live.
Many of those in attendance considered it a historic moment — for Bass, the city of Los Angeles and the community itself.
The block in front of the Leimert Park Village was packed with vendors, food trucks and community members as they waited for the mayor-elect to take the stage. There were live performances from Crenshaw High School’s marching band, R&B soul singer Goapele, Brian McKnight and Club Nouveau.
Bass was interviewed by KBLA Talk 1580 radio host Dominique DiPrima before addressing those gathered to celebrate her election.
“I am South L.A., and I’m proud to be here,” she said. “The reason I decided to run is because of our folk, our folk that are suffering the most, the folks that are in those tents,” she said.
She explained her plans to form a partnership with the county, local union carpenters and architectural firm Urban Awning to build housing on city-owned lots.
“That’s going to be the first effort: the encampments. Not to make them go to another side of town, but to take people who are suffering the most and give them housing,” Bass said.
Bass encouraged the crowd to vote and reminded them they have a voice.
“I didn’t doubt for one minute,” she said, “but if anyone doubts the power of the people over the power of the dollar, this campaign and this election should restore your faith.”
Her opponent, developer Rick Caruso, reportedly spent $108 million on his campaign, but it only earned him 45.2% of the vote on Election Day.
Bass said there were plenty of jobs available at City Hall under her administration and encouraged those in the audience to take advantage of that situation.
“Everybody here who needs a job better show up to City Hall this week and apply to work,” she said, adding that there were thousands of vacancies in the city that need to be filled.
Mahogany Wilson was one of her supporters attending the celebration.
“I’m here to celebrate her; I’m so happy she won,” she said.
“I think it’s awesome for her to be the first [woman] mayor,” added Nadiyah Al-Mumin. “I think it’s something that we as a city have been needing for a long time, some new blood.”