In Your Community

Witness: A closer look at Watts

Sunday, October 02, 2011
The city of Watts was called the Hub of the Universe and seen as a major commerce city in the early 1900s. Local legend Alma Reaves Woods has fought for the education of children in Watts since 1954. Originally built to house independent workers during WWII, the Housing Projects of Watts are now house 700 families. The Jordan Downs Housing Projects Families First initiative spearheads the Motivated Mothers program. With the help of a special program, many Watts fathers are committed to improving the lives of their families. Verbum Dei High School a model of success and helps young men get into college and realize their full potential. Programs like Computers for Families and the Watts Healthy Farmers Market is helping reshape the community. The Ted Watkins Memorial Park is named after the activist behind a successful anti-poverty program in Watts. The vibrant arts scene in Watts includes events like the annual jazz festival and the Watts House Project.

The landscape and culture of Watts is changing, proving there's more to the community than the riots that occurred there nearly 50 years ago.

Watts Labor Community Action Committee

Since 1965, the Watts Labor Community Action Committee has operated as the key anti-poverty agency in South Central Los Angeles. The WLCAC was founded shortly after the Watts Riots by Civil Rights Activist Ted Watkins [Watch video].

Alma Reaves Woods

Alma Reaves Woods has fought for the education of children in Watts since 1954. A public library in Watts now bears her name in honor of her contributions [Watch video].

Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) is a state-chartered public agency. It provides the largest stock of affordable housing in Los Angeles. In Watts, HACLA is spearheading the redevelopment of the Jordan Downs Housing Project [Watch video].

The redevelopment includes the Families First Initiative, which helps its residents develop personal responsibility, accountability and employability. Two of these programs are Motivated Mothers of Jordan Downs [Watch video] and Project Fatherhood [Watch video].

Verbum Dei High School

Verbum Dei High School is a Catholic, Jesuit college and career preparatory school serving young men of Watts and the surrounding communities. The school has become a model for success in education in Los Angeles. Part of the curriculum includes real-world work experience for its students through corporate internships [Watch video].

Urban Compass

Urban Compass was formed in partnership with Verbum Dei High School and 112th Street Elementary School to combat poverty and violence and make a difference in the lives of children in Watts. The non-profit organization provides after-school programs, field trips and tutoring.

Computers for Families: Los Angeles OIC

Los Angeles Opportunities Industrialization Centers provides education, training, employment, healthcare and housing services to economically disadvantaged people. One of its marquee programs, Computers for Families, distributes computers donated by corporations to residents of the Jordan Downs Housing Project in Watts.

Watts Healthy Farmers Market

Now in its fourth year of operation, the Watts Healthy Farmers Market
provides healthy food options and fresh produce grown by local farmers [Watch video].

Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center

Since 1967, The Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center has offered Watts-area children and their parents free educational, counseling, and child development services.

Ted Watkins Memorial Park

The Ted Watkins Memorial Park was named after the local activist who founded the nation's most successful anti-poverty program in Watts [Watch video].

Watts/Century Latino Organization

The Watts/Century Latino Organization (WCLO) was formed in 1990 to help improve the quality of life for all Watts area residents and to address the needs of the growing Latino population.

Watts House Project

Watts House Project is an artist-driven neighborhood redevelopment organization which brings artists and design professionals together with Watts Towers area residents to employ art as an economic and community development engine to enhance the quality of residential life in the Watts neighborhood [Watch video].

See the complete list of all of the places featured on this episode of "Witness: Watts, an Eyewitness News Special."

[Original air date: Oct. 2, 2011]

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