Cal State LA Student Filmmakers Spotlight Nonprofits Dedicated to Community Empowerment

16 May 2024

For the Spring 2024 semester of Community Impact Media, a shared project between the gallery and Cal State LA, student filmmakers drew inspiration from the exhibition RETROaction (part two). Their films illuminate the stories of nonprofits committed to the socioeconomic transformation in South LA communities and organizations advocating for those impacted by the juvenile justice system.

This semester, the Community Impact Media course foregrounded grassroots multicultural nonprofits in Los Angeles, including Community Coalition South Los Angeles (CoCo South LA), Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education (SCOPE) and Arts for Healing and Justice Network (AHJN).  

These nonprofits share a commitment to community empowerment, social justice advocacy and the transformative power of arts and community-driven programs and campaigns. Continuing the work of past semesters, students met with these nonprofits to learn more about the work they do, while developing the tools to translate their findings into a short documentary. These student films not only premiere publicly at the gallery, but also function as a tool for the featured nonprofits.

On Saturday 4 May 2024, the students debuted their Spring 2024 documentaries at our Downtown Los Angeles gallery. View the student films below to learn more about CoCo South LA, SCOPE and AHJN.

Community Coalition (CoCo) South LA is committed to fostering social and economic justice, community empowerment and transformative change in South Los Angeles. Through grassroots organizing, leadership development and advocacy, CoCo South LA works to address issues such as youth development, education equity, criminal justice reform, and economic opportunity. Their efforts aim to create a more just and equitable community for all residents in South LA.

Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education (SCOPE) is a nonprofit dedicated to building grassroots power and advancing racial and economic justice through community organizing, leadership development and policy advocacy. SCOPE works to address systemic issues such as poverty, inequality and injustice, with a focus on empowering marginalized communities to create lasting change.  

Arts for Healing and Justice Network is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit dedicated to using arts-based practices to promote healing, empowerment, and social justice within communities impacted by trauma and injustice. Through collaborative initiatives and creative expressions, the organization seeks to foster healing, resilience and positive social change.

Community Impact Media, a collaborative initiative between the university and the gallery, offers practical documentary film media creation and storytelling guidance to local students. This mentorship program empowers them to write and direct their own short films, aspiring the student filmmakers to enact meaningful impacts. Moreover, this initiative highlights the organization's commitment to fostering lasting, positive connections within the Los Angeles community.

All photos: Mario de Lopez