LA City Councilmembers Announce Pilot Program to Open Dialogue on Race


LOS ANGELES - A new pilot program called ‘embRACE LA’ will ask Angelenos to weigh in on issues of race, ethnicity, and diversity, through an online survey and other programs identified in an assessment by the City’s Human Relations Commission (HRC), Councilmembers Herb Wesson, Jr., Mitch O’Farrell, and Curren Price, Jr. announced Thursday during a press conference at City Hall.

Wesson and O’Farrell recently introduced motion instructing the HRC to partner with the City Council and the Los Angeles Police Department to develop a plan engaging Angelenos in a multi-faceted conversation on an issue that is the subject of protests across the City.

“Today's action gives Angelenos a platform to express themselves in a safe and encouraging environment leading to an open and ongoing dialogue about race relations in our city," said Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson. "Time and time again Los Angeles has been a national leader on pressing issues of our time and today we are proud to lead by example."

The embRACE LA initiative aims to open an honest and transparent dialogue among Angelenos and their government. The first phase is a community assessment on racial equity attitudes in the community. Starting today, every Angeleno can participate online in the citywide survey. The survey link can be found here, as well as on Facebook: HRCembRACELA or LACityHRC.

“As city leaders, it is our responsibility to engage in these conversations, to lean into the issue, not run away from it,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “Dialogue among the city’s residents and its institutions is the fundamental mechanism that we will use to become a better and more inclusive city.”

As part of this pilot program, the HRC and its partners will go door-to-door to canvas neighborhoods in the 9th Council District, using a longer interview survey.

"I'm delighted that the pilot program is launching in my District, and look forward to gaining more insight and a better understanding of my constituents' views of race issues," said Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr. "Having this conversation in a very candid and sincere setting is the first step in building a stronger, more unified Los Angeles. As a grandfather of small children, I worry about the future of our young boys and girls. It is my hope that one day the topic of race relations will not be necessary and we can simply see each other as human beings."

The survey will end on December 2016, and the HRC will report on its findings to Councilmember O’Farrell’s Arts, Parks and LA River Committee. During this assessment, the HRC will also advise on next steps, which will include art programs, mural installations, poetry slams and community forums and roundtables on race equity.

"embRACE LA is a novel and comprehensive approach to creating sustainable and meaningful dialogue between City residents and City government,” said HRC Commissioner Courtney Morgan-Greene. “Together we can solve the problem of race for our children and make Los Angeles a model of equity and diversity for the State of California and the nation."

“The Los Angeles Police Department looks forward to participating in this multi-dimensional chapter as we continue to further Chief Beck’s ongoing commitment to constitutional policing, building public trust, and furthering our community relationships in both conventional and non-traditional ways,” said Chief Beatrice Girmala.

Participation in the embRACE LA survey is anonymous and voluntary. Those interested in volunteering out in the community are asked to contact the City’s Human Relations Commission at 213.808.8431 or This information is also published on Facebook and Twitter.