More than sixty people took part in the 17th Annual National Night Out march and dinner in the Adams-Normandie neighborhood of South Los Angeles on the evening of Tuesday, August 6, 2019. National Night Out is a country-wide event founded in 1981 to encourage community-police partnership.
The event was held at the home of Adams Normandie Neighborhood Association President Marco Flores, on 23rd Street just east of Normandie Avenue. People assembled at 7:15 pm for a march through the Adams Blvd.-Normandie Avenue neighborhood. Before the kickoff, the crowd heard speeches by Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (CD8) and Captain Leland Sands, Commanding Officer of the Southwest Division of LAPD. Later in the evening State Senator Holly Mitchell made one of many stops of her evening schedule to talk to the crowd.
Marqueece Harris-Dawson said these events are important in giving neighbors who don’t know each other a chance to meet, which strengthens community ties. “Introduce yourself to a person next to you who you don’t know!”
Captain Sands stressed the importance of ties between the community and the police department. “We need you to tell us when there are problems, and to help us solve crimes.”
The march got underway around 7:40, Young LAPD Cadets in their blue uniforms led the march. They carried large banners for the Adams Normandie and Van Buren Place block clubs as well as a banner about National Night Out. Southwest Division LAPD squad cars went ahead, with their lights flashing.
The squad cars stopped traffic on Adams and on Normandie to let the marchers walk in the street. Children made ear-piercing blasts on plastic whistles, while many neighbors came out on their porches to watch the march go by.
Though billed as a potluck, the plentiful and excellent food was almost all donated. The main part was a multicourse Mexican dinner by the La Barca Restaurant, 2414 S. Vermont Avenue. Other donations came from Papa Cristos Greek Deli and the Bird’s Next Café. The Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council donated deserts.
While the dinner was in progress, State Senator Holly Mitchell arrived, having just stopped at four other events. She represents District 30, which includes Downtown LA, South Los Angeles, Culver City, and part of Mid-City. She said she was a strong supporter of the police and backs calls for better pay and pensions. She added, “But I am also strongly in favor of the police reflecting in their officers the composition of the communities they patrol.” After her remarks she stayed to talk to several of the community members. She presented a certificate of appreciation to Marco Flores and the ANNA block club.
The event was organized by the Adams Normandie Neighborhood Association (ANNA). It was extensively supported by Southwest Division LAPD. The Van Buren Place block club also took part.
A larger National Night Out event took place the same night in Southwest LAPD’s territory. This was at 3939 Marlton Avenue adjacent to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall. It was sponsored by the mall. Other sponsors included the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council (for which the contacts listed on the event flyer were council and CPAB members Johnnie Raines and Mary Jones-Darks); City Council District 10; AADAP (Asian American Drug Abuse Program); Steel Deck; Tax Ease Plus Accounting Services; and Power Bliss to Sponsors.