By Najee Ali
Robert Sausedo, CEO of Community Build, a community-based nonprofit that has served our community for nearly three decades, continues to lead from the front with leadership that is reminiscent of John W. Mack the late Los Angeles Urban League leader.
Mack was at the forefront of community activism for decades before he retired from public service.
Now Sausedo, through Community Build, is providing South Los Angeles residents with programs and services that improve the quality of life.
The community has experienced an increase in shootings since the new year began. Innocent people have been caught in the crossfire of warring gangs. To Sausedo’s credit, he has recognized that someone has to step up and address this life-or-death issue to stop the carnage.
He pulled together a coalition of more than 50 community residents, including gang intervention specialists, Leimert Park business owners and activists who were joined by LAPD Deputy Chief Regina Scott and the captains of the Southwest, 77th Street and Southeast LAPD stations for a press conference that was covered by every major media outlet in the city.
The press conference was timely and needed. But what was just as important Sausedo was able to put together a diverse coalition of community members and LAPD leadership to call for a ceasefire to stop the shootings of South L.A. residents.
I want to commend everyone who attended the press conference like La Wanda Hawkins, CEO of Justice for Murdered Children and the Ceasefire Coalition of Southern California. Your peace-keeping efforts are not in vain.
According to LAPD statistics, the shootings did indeed stop after Saucedo’s press conference.
Was it a coincidence or just leadership by community members when it was needed most? No matter the reason, let us continue to support the peacekeepers who are on the frontlines of our community trying to permanently end the shootings and murders.
South L.A. residents continue to face major health problems. As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc, residents continue to see a rise in new infections.
So Saucedo held another press conference with a coalition of Los Angeles labor and civil rights leaders along with advocates for the disabled, incarcerated and homeless, calling for COVID-19 vaccination racial equity and distribution.
The coalition wants Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the county Board of Supervisors to continue to distribute the vaccine based on occupation and not age as called for by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
This does a great disservice to millions of working-class Latino and African-American Californians who are essential workers. They are being pushed to the back of the vaccination line along with the disabled and incarcerated and homeless, which are the most vulnerable populations.
Sausedo has spoken to Capri Maddox, the head of the city’s Civil and Human Rights Department, and asked her department to recommend mobile testing immediately in the hardest-hit areas of South Los Angeles.
It is important to give credit where credit is due. Sausedo’s heart is really into it. The year has just gotten started but Sausedo has moved prominently to the forefront of the movement by confronting and addressing COVID-19 racial equity and violence, two major issues for South L.A. residents.
That is the type of leadership our city has been looking for since the death of Mack, whose shoes can never be filled. Sausedo however is doing a great job. The community needs to rally behind him and Community Build and support those who support us.
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