Drivers of Disparity
South Central LA is resilient. South Central LA is visionary. South Central LA is home.
Developed with the input of over 30 community organizations and institutions and 125 resident leaders, South Central Rooted explores four intersecting root causes or “drivers” of disparity in South Central Los Angeles.
This framework helps shed light on the systemic nature of inequality and the critical role that grassroots South Central leadership has played in creating change. South Central Rooted offers a blueprint to answer the question: What will it actually take to transform these conditions and ensure low-income communities of color can thrive in Los Angeles?
Using a health equity lens, the report explores the following four drivers of disparity that have tangible, day-to-day consequences on people’s abilities to lead fuller lives and participate meaningfully in their communities and the broader democracy.
Driver of Disparity #1
Gentrification, Displacement, & Homelessness
South Central is and will continue be a home for working class people of color, a center for Black culture, and a haven for documented and undocumented immigrants. This Driver provides the historical context for how we arrived at the current conditions, which include high rates of rent-burden, housing instability, homelessness, and displacement. South Central community organizations, grassroots leaders, and activists are developing community-driven solutions to displacement and homelessness to demonstrate that poor and working class people of color have a future in LA.
Driver of Disparity #2
Poverty, Disinvestment & Joblessness
South Central serves as a microcosm that demonstrates how neoliberal policy and the corporate agenda disproportionately harm low-income communities of color. This Driver explores the root causes of structural poverty and disinvestment in South LA, specifically examining how deindustrialization and inequity in public funds have led to a job crisis in the Black community, the proliferation of low-wage immigrant labor, and ultimately the lack of access to opportunities to build wealth. Given these conditions, South Central is also a source of organizing, innovation, and leadership on racial and economic equity.
Driver of Disparity #3
Policing, Suppression, Deportation, and Mass Incarceration
In South Central, the criminal justice system plays a central role in reinforcing the legacy of exclusionary housing, promoting gentrification, and perpetuating the conditions of poverty. This Driver demonstrates the pervasiveness of police presence in South LA neighborhoods, on public transit, in schools, and on the streets, as a means to surveil, segregate, and push out predominantly youth of color and other vulnerable populations. As a result, South Central and other frontline communities are leading efforts to create policy and narrative shifts that transform our criminal justice system.
Driver of Disparity #4
For decades, racist policy and land use decisions have been made at the expense of South Central residents. These decisions include the siting of harmful industrial activities that pollute neighborhoods, lower home values, and directly threaten the health of nearby residents. Gentrification, poverty, and overpolicing can push South LA residents to settle in areas that are especially vulnerable to environmental hazards and harms. This Driver explores how environmental racism has shaped South LA and how local residents are developing intersectional solutions to address harmful environmental problems and conditions and build power.