By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Started in 1913, this national organization has taken a leading role in combating discrimination of all sorts. Last year, the league, led by David Lehrer, provided hate-crime training to more than 500 police officers in the county, and presented legal workshops to help police identify and prosecute such crimes. The league is also responsible for training LAUSD police officers to help kids from all backgrounds feel safer in the schoolyard.
Angela Oh: Attorney
A criminal-defense attorney and second-generation Korean-American, Angela Oh has spent the last six years advocating for a more complete dialogue on race relations, speaking out to ensure Asians aren't forgotten in local and national debates about race and ethnicity. Recently, as a member of President Clinton's race advisory board, she urged the group to expand the discussion beyond the "black-white paradigm" to include the experience of other minorities.
Gary Phillips: MultiCultural Collaborative
Created after the 1992 riots, this broad coalition of community-based groups is taking on some of the most basic problems in neighborhoods around the city. As one of its original directors, Gary Phillips - along with former director Joe Hicks - has been crucial in defining the organization's agenda, which includes reducing racial tensions through programs such as the Community School Initiative.
Kathy Spillar: The Feminist Majority
In 1987, a group of progressive feminists, including onetime national NOW president Eleanor Smeal, then-L.A. NOW leader Kathy Spillar and activist/funder Peg Yorkin, founded the Feminist Majority to promote the causes of women's rights and reproductive freedoms. With Spillar at the helm as executive director, the Feminist Majority Foundation has taken a leading role in a number of key battles - among them, increasing the number of women in the LAPD, mobilizing clinic-defense campaigns against anti-choice hooligans, and thwarting UNOCAL's efforts to bolster the Taliban in oil-rich Afghanistan.
Since it was founded in 1990, the Watts Century Latino Organization and its director, Arturro Ybarra, have focused on some of the toughest problems facing that community, from race relations to economics to housing. Last summer, the group's lawsuit against the Los Angeles Housing Authority resulted in the establishment of a $1.3 million fund to compensate tenants in four city housing projects who say they were targets of discrimination and abuse.
For more than a decade, Michael Zinzun has been scrutinizing the LAPD. The former Black Panther has brought two successful lawsuits against the department, and a third against the Pasadena Police Department. Zinzun, a frequent critic of the LAPD, has spent much of his time and money demanding accountability. With money awarded in the lawsuits, he funded a public-access show dedicated to discussing community-policing and other urban issues, and has advocated for banning the use of chokeholds and metal flashlights by police to subdue suspects.
Research by Aaron Fontana