SEIU Local 721 to Honor South L.A. Leader Marqueece Harris-Dawson

SEIU Local 721 is honoring Harris-Dawson for his work, along with three other allies in Los Angeles County, who have engaged in an innovative and ambitious plan to improve the foster care system. Harris-Dawson will be presented with the “Champion for Children” award as part of the union’s celebration of National Social Worker month.

Through his work at Community Coalition, Harris-Dawson has been a leading advocate for kinship families in Los Angeles County, ensuring that children living with extended family members receive equitable access to resources, and support needed to thrive with their families and in their communities. Community Coalition was recently awarded a multi-million dollar federal grant by the Department of Health and Human Services to create a kinship navigation program to help family’s better access services.

Currently more than 50 percent of children removed from their homes by the LA County Department of Children and Family Services are placed with relatives. The majority of these children are African American and Latino and many come from South L.A.

Harris-Dawson has been a lifelong advocate for children and youth. Before becoming the executive leader of Community Coalition in 2004, Harris-Dawson served as the director of the organization’s youth project, South Central Youth Empowered Through Action (SCYEA). In 1999, he led youth in the Proposition Better Buildings campaign to expose the horrid conditions at South L.A. high schools.

Harris-Dawson has been recognized with several community commendations, recognition’s and awards including the coveted Do Something “BRICK” Award and Liberty Hill Foundation’s Upton Sinclair Award.

  • DCFS sides W/ Pedofiles

    we need a champion for children!


    BOYLE HEIGHTS, CA July 14, 2013: “They were avoiding a diagnosis because the –insurance company didn’t want to pay.” We were told privately. It was only thru Katie & Stacey at MDA & a long battle that we were even able to admit our son into Ranchos Los Amigos Hospital. Child Protective Services argued that the parents were medically neglecting the child. How do those two ideas even go together? Still, it was CPS’ letter that ended the kid’s treatment. They want it both ways, to say there is nothing wrong so let’s get the child’s insurance canceled or there is something wrong with him and the dad did nothing. For many it’s simple. They can’t afford to have the Father be a credible witness against CPS in the upcoming civil trial-even if that means they must commit medical neglect to achieve their ends. Is it a coincidence that the doctor that gave 11 yr old Aeylias Lopez the diagnosis was dismissed from the case by Ranchos Los Amigos? That “Two weeks BEFORE the boy was going to get his leg braces they were CANCELLED?” asks the boy’s father, Sebastian. The lead doctor at Ranchos said “–he may still come down with Muscular Dystrophy when he‘s older–” You don’t “-come down with MD-” no more then you come down with blue eyes. You either have it or you don’t. What is going on here?

    Prior to CPS there WAS consensus on the diagnosis; tibial torsion, hip dysplasia and thoraxic scoliosis, proving that paying for health care is compulsory-getting actual care is discretionary. People want to talk about ‘OBAMACARE’– what’s this called “we-just-don’t-care”? If someone has heart failure you don’t say UNTIL we know why, you get no CPR– For CPS the timing couldn’t be worse since they let 2 little boys die under their watch. An insider said they don’t want another ‘embarrassment’ there’s a lot of pressure to falsify a report against the parents.

    It is not if you pursue medical treatment but how successful you are at getting it. If you cannot convince doctors that your child needs medical attention and CPS says they do, you’re in trouble. Parents are not necessarily free to make medical decisions given to them by their doctors– look at what happened with the Nikolayev case. The parents weren’t even allowed to get a 2nd opinion. CPS instead swooped in with cops ready to exchange blows to take that child away. Social workers are now your primary care physician. Further, without a doctor Cps was able to medically ‘diagnose’ the father who was a victim of a hit run in 2000 but instead argued he was “insane” and not a victim of traumatic brain injury and epilepsy. They’ve seen too many “Exorcist” movies, and epilepsy frightened them much like a cave man fearing fire. CPS launched allegations of ‘voodoo”, ‘magic’ and ‘elephants”. As parents you better not be disabled or god forbid have cancer. They engage in character assassination. Just as whenever an employee whistle blows he becomes a “disgruntled employee”. “I blew the whistle on CPS and they retaliated against me,” explained the father. Is it ironic that the department that’s supposed to protect children is engaging in child abuse in order to protect themselves from civil liability? Is the theory that it’s ok to abuse children if CPS needs to ‘protect’ itself? Has the organization now become more important than the kids it’s supposed to be defending? Make no mistake about it–to deny medical treatment to my son is child abuse. To some it’s clear that Ranchos Los Amigos has been ‘gotten to” — As they ‘discharged’ us-which is a polite way of saying they kicked us out without explanation. After 2 years they demanded we get a NEW pediatrician to ‘re-refer’ him so he can be ‘re-diagnosed’ to be ‘re-treated‘. We must have an “Acceptable re-referral” or we ‘can’t return” to Ranchos. How dos this make sense to any human being AND what will happens if we are not successful at getting the doctors & cps to AGREE?

    I’m inviting people to do the right thing by going to “gofundme” type in Aeylias Lopez–and send the bureaucrats a “message” that only doctors can make diagnoses NOW treat him. These braces definitely have the power to change my son’s life. Just an inch correction can mean the difference of being able to run for real and to stop him from falling, end the pain from his legs twisting or simply to let it go on for another 10 yrs. They can fix this. He wants to play tag–why can’t he–? “Is anyone going to help me get my braces? “ Aeylias asks. We have no choice we got to get them. They won’t help him so we have to raise the money ourselves. Is CPS role to work WITH doctors or instead to become doctors and have the power to veto them?



This Week In Livable Streets

This Sunday is the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition's annual L.A. River Ride. Attend meetings on Vision Zero for South L.A., Bogotá Colombia, and North Westlake's walkability plans. Bike to see NELA murals, and much more all this week.

This Week in Livable Streets

Push for bike lanes on Central Avenue! Plus Vision Zero, Metro board, Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s South L.A. listening tour, North Hollywood re-development, an EYCEJ art exhibit focused on the L.A. River, and more! Wednesday 9/23 – The USC School of Cinematic Arts Gallery hosts a 4 to 6 p.m. opening reception for “Urban Visions: Art as Social Practice.” […]

Paying the Price with Our Health May 2 & 3 Convening

You are cordially invited to join the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and their community partners on May 2 & 3 for “Paying the Price with Our Health” free conference at The California Endowment Conference Center. This event will engage community residents, service providers, educators, faith organizations, decision makers and others in developing recommendations for a Community Action Plan for […]