Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) is a community organization that has been based in South LA for 30 years, whose purpose is to help bring the community’s issues to the city council. Gloria Medina, the executive director of SCOPE, explained the organization’s purpose and what it has been doing for the community.
“Our primary work is to provide a platform for community residents so they can address the concerns that affect them and create community-based solutions. We help Black and Brown community residents provide economic opportunity for its residents.”
Medina highlights that job opportunities are far and few in between for residents, and that needs to change.
“We need jobs, and many residents feel like their community is not prioritized for investments. They feel it’s a lack of economic opportunity and no support for small businesses,” she said. “Over the years, we have explained the need for different sectors like the healthcare industry, entertainment industry, and most recently green jobs that can have a positive impact on the climate. We know that climate change is having a big impact on California, so being able to create jobs and help the environment in which our residents live intersects with our mission.”
SCOPE is not a job placement program, but the organization does offer free development training programs with the Los Angeles Department of Power and Water. They also work with their partner, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LANE), to help low-income residents secure utility jobs.
Medina also talked about the purpose of their green jobs campaign which was created to provide jobs and help create eco-friendly buildings.
“In partnership with a past mayor, we created an office that would help train community members to retrofit buildings so they can have solar panels and better plumbing and waste system management,” she said.
Medina further explained that while SCOPE does have an impact on their community, they realized early on that in order to make a lasting impact, they needed to join a coalition.
“We believe that in order for us to be more impactful we need to work in a coalition that has a number of partners in the city, county, and state,” she said. “One community-based organization we have recently worked with was STAND-L.A., and we collaborated to end oil drilling in communities in Inglewood and parts of South LA.”
SCOPE and STAND-L.A. (Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling) noticed many families living near oil drilling sites were exposed to toxins, and some even developed lung diseases such as asthma due to the oil drilling. Both organizations were able to get the state and the city council to phase out oil drilling this past year.
SCOPE offices are at 1715 W. Florence Ave. in South LA and are open to the public. They have community meetings monthly to teach residents the services that are available to their families. They discuss topics such as how to protect the community from climate change and new bills and laws due to be passed in the city and they cover the county officials and the responsibilities each one of them holds, including how elected officials plan on using the budgets for the county and the city.
To learn more about SCOPE and its mission, visit scopela.org.