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SOLID Unity Street Fair: A Step In The Right Direction

Celeste Alvarez |
September 29, 2013 | 11:55 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

A USC student hands out free snow cones to local children during the SOLID Unity Street Fair on Saturday. (Neon Tommy / Celeste Alvarez)
A USC student hands out free snow cones to local children during the SOLID Unity Street Fair on Saturday. (Neon Tommy / Celeste Alvarez)

Police officers teamed up with USC student groups Saturday to kick off the SOLID Unity Street Fair, hoping to build a better relationship between law enforcement and the community. 

“We decided we wanted to come together and show the community, the university and local groups that we can work together and do something to help out,” Sgt. Jon Pinto said.

Held at the Hoover Recreational Center, the evening event was created in the aftermath of allegations of racial profiling by the LAPD during the May 4th incident. The fair was a symbolic effort to work together and create transparency among all parties, Pinto said.    

Although the event saw at least hundred community members in attendance, not many USC students were present. This discovery was no surprise to Makiah Green, a student leader for the USChange Movement.

Green said fellow classmates were not too thrilled when told about the event.

“A lot of students are still traumatized by what happen and they're not necessarily ready to mix and mingle with law enforcement officers,” Green said. “It’s going to take some time to build those relationships.”

Among the few students who did attend, USC junior Sam Kanter shared his feelings on the collaborative effort. 

“I think this is the starting point, and it’s an effort that the university really needs to uphold,” Kanter said. “I don’t know if students were really broadcasted as much to come to this as it was the community and the LAPD, but I think that students coming to something like this are integral to the process.”

Local families enjoyed the evening in the park alongside their local law enforcement with food, jumpers, back-to-school giveaways and games provided free of charge.

“I think it’s very positive especially for the children because they always have a tendency of being intimidated and to see that (the LAPD officers) are opening their doors to their cars … and being very social definitely benefits all the children’s perception of them,” South L.A. resident Maira Vasquez said. 

Green noted that other collaborative events are scheduled to be held later this year because more needed to be done to create a better bond between law enforcement officers and the USC community.

“We still have a lot of reconciliation work to do, but I’m positive that this event was a step in the right direction,” Green said.

Reach staff reporter Celeste Alvarez here or follow her on Twitter here.



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