Pamela Bakewell-Griggs has served the Los Angeles community for many years, thus when the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) decided to appoint her to a high ranking position that would allow for her to continue doing her good deeds she could only graciously accept it.
Bakewell-Griggs, who is native of New Orleans, has been appointed to the post of Chief Neighborhood Officer where she will be responsible for overseeing the LAUL’s Neighborhood Initiatives Office and executing the Neighborhoods@Work program.
The Neighborhoods@Work initiative is a five-year plan designed to revitalize the South Los Angeles area one neighborhood at a time. The LAUL will work with collaborative partners to provide services in five areas of need: education, employment, safety, health, and housing.
Trumpeting a theme that has been well documented by the rash of recent murders and assorted other crimes, the initiative is pinpointing safety as its primary concern.
“According to educators, if the community does not feel safe the entire program will not work,” Bakewell-Griggs explained this week.
The LAUL is partnering with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Los Angeles Police Department, the L.A. City Attorney’s Office, the University of Southern California, Park Mesa Heights community groups, and many other private and public partners for Neighborhoods@Work.
“We have the ability to use our influence to get help,” Bakewell-Griggs said. “One of my challenges is to bring in support.”
Bakewell-Griggs’ experience working in the Los Angeles area proves that she is the right person for the job.
Bakewell-Griggs’ played a prominent role at The Brotherhood Crusade for more than 20 years, where she held various positions. One of her responsibilities was to rally support to fund initiatives. She has also run the day-to-day operations for The Bakewell Company.
She oversaw their real estate holdings, did property management, and played a vital role at the Los Angeles Sentinel when The Bakewell Company purchased the historical weekly newspaper in 2004.
“This opportunity (at the LAUL) uses all of my skills,” Bakewell-Griggs says. “From housing, to building, to education.”
The Neighborhoods@Work initiative will focus on the 70-block Park Mesa Heights area, which surrounds Crenshaw High School. The boarders will be Vernon on the north, Slauson on the south, Van Ness on the east, and Hillcrest on the west.
The LAUL believes that they will have more success by focusing on a smaller area. If the program is a success other neighborhoods will be selected to enter the program. Park Mesa Heights was chosen because it has a large African American presence and it has significant needs.
The LAUL plans to bring community organizations together by holding regular town hall meetings and building a strong membership base.
Some of the goals of Neighborhoods@Work initiative is to improve educational outcomes for African American and other minority youth, to improve relations between law enforcement and the community, increase enrollment of African Americans at institutions of higher education, to build on its current employment programs, to support long-term healthy outcomes for residents, and to ensure that more residents will be able to afford both homeownership and rental costs.
Bakewell-Griggs is very confident that this program will succeed. “We have the ability to bring in experts to run this initiative,” Bakewell-Griggs said.
On May 10 the LAUL will host “Hands Across Crenshaw” to pray for the success of the neighborhood.
“We will do things to engage the community,” Bakewell-Griggs says. “To show that we can help.”