For Black Angelenos, election of Karen Bass brings joy in a divisive time. But they want results, not divisiveness in this community.
LOS ANGELES — To celebrate her election as Los Angeles City Council chair, Karen Bass went with some of the city’s top musicians to Times Square. That’s not surprising: Bass is a top advocate for immigrants, civil rights, and community groups.
But the event on Oct. 16 wasn’t about politics. It was about music, and music is something Bass never shies away from. She calls herself an “artie” and believes that music has the power to change the world.
“I mean, what can happen is through music and you can influence change, and that’s what we need,” said Bass, who was wearing a black t-shirt with the word “BASKETBALL” and a quote in her native Jamaican Kan-Eesi.
“We have a lot of work to do to move this city forward. What would I like to see? I want to see our schools, I want to see our parks, I want to see the future. I have to know the things I have to do to make that change happen, and I have to be willing to do it,” she said.
Bass is running for a second term that begins on Tuesday, along with two other candidates — former City Councilman Gil Cedillo in the Fifth District and City Councilman Joe Parks. Their campaigns represent the same kind of populist, racial and ethnic divides that have plagued Los Angeles since the 1960s.
A third candidate, state Senate leader Kevin de León, is challenging incumbent Pete Lopez for leadership, and he has a more centrist position on immigration and is more tolerant of residents of color.
What is unique about the candidates is that they are all black and the majority of the voters who will decide who represents them in the city council are black, as well.
“At the end of the day, what people care about is what happens in our community,” said Cedillo, who is the first black council candidate in more than a decade.
The election comes as Los Angeles