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Manifesting Justice This Week in Los Angeles


As events in Baltimore and elsewhere continue to unreel, on Saturday in Los Angeles, a unique combination pop-up art show and public discussion launched at the Baldwin Hills Theater to promote dialogue about civil rights, social and criminal justice, and activism in order to “build a healthier and more just future.”

The 10-day event, called Manifest Justice, put on by Yosi Sergant of TaskForce PR, along with the California Endowment and Amnesty International, features the work of more than 190 artists, discussions with criminal justice leaders and activists, as well as music, poetry, plays, workshops, and a lot more.

Manifest Justice opened Saturday morning with a Prop 47 Record Change Fair, organized by Californians for Safety and Justice. Attendees with felonies that qualified for reclassification under Prop 47 were offered free legal advice from LA County public defenders and volunteer attorneys, along with help in filling out required court forms. (We’ll have more on the Record Change Fair later this week.)

At 10:00a.m., US Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) chaired a community dialogue in which an array of panelists told of their personal experiences with the justice system.

There was, for example, Charity Chandler, a woman who now works as an activist at Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), founded by former film producer Scott Budnick.

Chandler’s first encounter with LA County’s juvenile justice system began in her early teens with a six-month stint in Juvenile Hall for petty theft after she stole a pack of underwear and a t-shirt.

From that point on, Chandler said she went through things “no child should have to experience,” cycling in and out of juvenile detention and foster care.

When she found out she was pregnant at 18 with a little boy, Chandler had to convince herself that she was not worthless. Chandler made a vow to herself, “I refuse to be a statistic, and I refuse to bring a black man into this world…and have him suffer like me and so many countless others.”

That decision sent Chandler down a path of transformation and redemption. Chandler became an advocate, and enrolled in school while she was pregnant. She said she finished graduate school this week.

(For more of Chandler’s story, watch her target="_blank">TEDx talk at Ironwood State Prison.)

Other panelists discussed their efforts toward policy change.

Dr. Paul Song, head of, Courage Campaign, spoke about the importance of funding universal pre-kindergarten as a force against poverty and crime.

Dr. Song pointed to stats indicating that kids in poor communities who didn’t participate in government-funded pre-K were 70% more likely than their peers to get arrested for violent crime by the age of 18, and that career criminals can cost the state as much as $1.3 million.

Song argues that while Governor Jerry Brown is intent on storing surplus budget money in a rainy day fund, “for many communities at risk…it has never stopped raining.”

Another panel member, Winston Peters, an LA County Assistant Public Defender, told his story of transformation. Peters said he focused only on the legal aspects of his cases, until he worked at a now-defunct juvenile center in South Los Angeles where, Peters said, he realized that, while he was a good a lawyer, his young clients faced a list of daunting issues that the law failed to adequately cover, abuse, trauma, and mental illness among them.

Peters also noted that LA’s public defender’s office has made efforts to bridge the gap he witnessed all those years ago, by creating a multidisciplinary approach that includes hiring social workers to team up with the attorneys in the juvenile justice division.

Elsewhere in the Baldwin Theater, a massive cardboard Lady Liberty holds her head in her hands. Across the room, a Ferguson police car has been turned into a garden.

Here are photos of a handful of the art installations on display (but really must be seen in person).

“The Talk,” by Michael D’Antuono:

Jordan Weber:

Yolanda Guerra:

Scheduled for later in the week are workshops, discussions, performing arts, and other not-to-be-missed experiences.

But, if you only choose one day to visit the Manifest Justice exhibit, consider making it Wednesday, May 6. At 6:30p.m., Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mom, and Dr. Robert Ross, head of the California Endowment, will discuss “resilience,” followed by a play from Patrisse Cullors of Dignity and Power Now and #BlackLivesMatter.

There are a ton of other great events and reasons to take in Manifest Justice before it’s over, so check out the website and calendar for yourself.

Note: Watch artist Max Rippon paint overlapping NY Times headlines to create “The True Is a Moment of the False” in the above video.


  • I don’t buy into that premise of “The Talk.” It’s based on dual fallacies, that all cops are racist, and they have no responsibility for their own actions because of past discrimination. A more apt solution would be to make Chris Rock’s video clip required viewing.

  • African-Americans are in charge of the city of Baltimore. Mayor, City Council, Chief of Police. Half of the officers in the Freddy Gray caper are African-American.

    And here we are, “discussing” the problems in Baltimore as if racism is a factor.


    Oh, ok. It’s “systemic racism” or “institutional racism”.


    African-Americans run the “system” in Baltimore. They are in charge of the “institutions” in Baltimore.

    This is what happens when people become accustomed to having a built in, ready made, intellectually lazy excuse for any and all problems in society.

  • After 30+ years in police work I can tell you that it is very important for all parents to have “The Talk” with their children. I sure had it with mine. Tell your children 1) not to break the law 2)that police officers get hurt and killed when dealing with dangerous suspects. Your kids need to know this. 3)when confronted by the police keep your hands in plain sight and do not make any sudden moves. Do not reach into their pockets or back packs unless told to do so. 4) do what the police officer tells you to do. If told to put your hands behind your back for handcuffing, do not resist. 5) to not be disrespectful. 6) if the officers are in the wrong, and sometimes they are, there are a number of proper ways to address what happened. Explain that resisting is not one of them. Tell your children resisting will get you hurt. 7) tell your children that Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Freddy Gray would all be alive today had they not resisted and followed directions.

  • @ Dark Side: Don’t forget to tell your kids, never turn your back to police or run in fright will get shot in the back multiple times and die. The police will lie and say you attempted to take their gun or taser. Your loved ones can only go by the false report, until a citizen turns in a video of the truth.

  • That what happened in Mississippi tonight. Two more murdered cops and two more Black suspects. What are the numbers this year for officers murdered by Blacks? Come on Chicago Sunshine do your homework and quit your posing.

  • @Keep it Real, Please refer to my post, section #4. Due what the police tell you to do and all will be fine. In your example, had the man simply complied in the first place, we would not be posting these comments.

  • Come on Keep it Real, the failed policies of the left have kept poor Blacks in a plantation type mentality for decades making cops look like the bad guys. Have some cops betrayed the badge, of course and they need to be dealt with. But the left has given a wink and a nod to violence against police officers for way to long and sites like this will never write about that and you know why, because they just don’t care.

  • Stats show just how few officers we’re talking about too as compared to citizen contacts, complaints and arrests but all that doesn’t matter. Look it up.

  • Keeping it Real,
    You’re missing the whole point.
    Special attention to Dark Side’s #4. “do what the police officer tells you to do.”
    If his kids do what Dark Side suggests to them, they won’t be running away from a cop. If they aren’t running away from a cop, it’s impossible for them to get shot in the back.

    Now I’ll stand by for your response that says I’m trying to justify the shooting of the man in South Carolina. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. There’s no justification for that shooting.
    I’m just pointing out how you wouldn’t be able to use the South Carolina shooting as a reference if the victim had followed Dark Side’s advice.

  • Let’s hear your take on the San Bernardino Horseman? I’m not a fan of Kings X after any pursuit but dumb asses (cops in this matter) should have known that media was also in the air.

    Really…….did it take all that? Is the #1 dumb ass (suspect) worth losing your career. Luckily there was a settlement. Those with an excuse for everything amuse me.

  • @Surefire. I doubt very seriously that this site advocates violence against Police Officers. You’re painting a very broad stroke that is amiss towards the left.

    Ethics dictates neutrality in the criminal justice realm. Outside of that realm, you’re free to point and blame all that you want to.

  • Keep it Real,
    You want my take? Here it is. Here’s what you should tell your kids.
    If you don’t do what the cops tell you to do, you could get your ass kicked or killed even. Some cops are dumbasses. Some cops are heavy handed. Some cops are scared to death the minute they go in pursuit. Some are itching to shoot somebody. Do what they tell you. Don’t run from them. Bad shit happens when you run from them.

    Re: your last sentence: “Those with an excuse”—–there it is. There’s the total bullshit and intellectually lazy claim—-after somebody disagrees with you and calls you on your bullshit. Show me one sentence, one statement, one word where I’ve made an excuse for any cop’s actions. You can’t, because I haven’t. Your panties are in a bunch because I put the brakes on the wheel, the one you’re grinding your axe with. So here you come claiming that I’m making excuses for cops.
    I simply acknowledged the fact that bad shit often happens when suspects don’t submit to police officers. Think about it champ, if I wasn’t factually correct, we wouldn’t be having this back and forth—would we! (?)
    Try again champ.

  • Oh Well……You take shit too personal.You never responded to Horseman adventure. Slow the truck down, Hoss.

    You get one pass one the panty comment. A lap dance or Chai tea should relax you

    No one is trying to stop your solo session. Next time just stick to said subject and move on.

  • When I said, ” they don’t care” here I meant they don’t care enough to write about the issue. Just clearing things up and Celeste certainly should.

  • Keep it Real,
    I did address the Horseman issue when I gave you my take and said “some cops are dumbasses” and “some cops are heavy handed”. I guess you didn’t pick up on that. It’s all good champ, you probably couldn’t hear it because of the awful screech from the axe you’re grinding. You probably couldn’t see it due to the sparks flying off the grinding wheel.
    Personal? Naw.
    No thanks re: Chai tea, I’ll take a raspberry iced tea.
    You might want to get some oil for your wheel, that way when you’re grinding your axe it won’t be obvious to everybody for blocks around.
    Or not.
    After all, it appears you wanted it heard in the first place.
    Slowing the truck down now just for you champ, after all, I don’t want to run you over; AGAIN.

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