Celebrating 30 Years of Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

In honor of LAANE’s 30th anniversary, our founding visionaries, advisors, and community partners came together to remember the early days of LAANE and the building of a powerful progressive labor movement in Los Angeles.  They also reflected on our shared future, including the new and perennial challenges of fighting for an equitable city for all. 

Yvonne Wheeler

On LAANE’s 30th Anniversary, I am proud to reflect on our long partnership and the many times we have stood, shoulder-to-shoulder, to fight for livable wages and a middle-class future for all workers.   LAANE’s founders had a vision of a Los Angeles where the economy works for everyone, not just the wealthy or corporate interests, and 30 years later it’s

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Kent Wong

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of LAANE, we acknowledge LAANE’s historic role in the transformation of Los Angeles labor.  This is especially crucial at a time of unprecedented worker upsurge, and when Los Angeles has emerged as a focal point of the new American labor movement.   In 1991, Gilda Haas and I launched the Community Scholars program at UCLA,

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Senator María Elena Durazo

When Miguel, Madeline Janis, and I co-founded LAANE, Los Angeles was recovering from the 1992 unrest, and the Mayor and City Council were still by-and-large barricaded against the concerns of LA communities, especially immigrants and working communities. Miguel and I were trying to figure out how to develop the ability to move beyond the day-to-day organizing and internal organizing that

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Roxana Tynan

Twenty-two years ago, I arrived at LAANE by way of an idea. I had been serving as economic development deputy to Councilmember Jackie Goldberg, and our idea was this: if big developers can reap big benefits from city government to build their projects, then the communities our elected leaders represent should get some benefits in return. Simple, right? We began

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Madeline Janis

In the fall of 1993, I was 33 years old with three young kids when María Elena Durazo and Miguel Contreras recruited me to jump-start the organization that a few short years later would come to be known as LAANE. They convinced UNITE HERE Local 11, which at the time was smarting from a citywide fight to defend their members’

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John Grant

Following the exuberance, successes, and rose-colored optimism of the ‘60’s and 70’s, there were few remainders of social justice present in the subsequent decades. Los Angeles’ history as an anti-union town draped its shadow over the progressive movement. Within the labor movement, those trade unionists who searched for a better way forward found themselves instead parched in a desert of

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Vivian Rothstein

In the late 1990s, I was running the Ocean Park Community Center, a network of shelters and services for homeless women and men, runaway youth, and battered women in Santa Monica. Besides providing housing, food, and counseling, we worked hard to prepare people for employment and independent living. However, the jobs available to people trying to restart their lives paid

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Manuel Pastor

LAANE’s establishment 30 years ago pioneered a new kind of hybrid institution: one based in the labor movement but not entirely of it; one tied to organizing but also focused on research; one set up to push government to adopt more progressive policies but to do so by working with elected officials and allies within government; and one created to

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Steven Greenhouse

Back in 2018, when I was writing my book, Beaten Down, Worked Up — which discusses how America’s unions and workers were taking it on the chin — I wanted to end the book on an upbeat note. So I decided to conclude with chapters that highlighted four groups that have had the most success in lifting workers, and here

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Stuart Davidson

The world is a broken place, it is in desperate need of repair.  I learned as a child that it was the obligation of all people to repair the world, even in small ways. We call the obligation Tikkun Olam.  In my faith, Tikkun Olam is the obligation to make the world more just, more peaceful, more tolerant, and more

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