Marqueece Harris-Dawson (born 1970) is an American politician and the incumbent member of the Los Angeles City Council, representing Los Angeles City Council District 8 of western South Los Angeles.
Marqueece Harris-Dawson was born and raised in South Los Angeles, until the early 1980s when he was uprooted. With the onset of the Crack Cocaine epidemic, his parents moved him and his younger brother out of the neighborhood as gang and police violence skyrocketed. Crestfallen to be torn away from "the village", Marqueece made it his life's work to make sure no other family feels it has to move out of South Los Angeles to keep their children safe.
Never forgetting his calling, he returned to South Los Angeles just after Morehouse College to work in the family Real Estate business. Here he acquired a working knowledge of neighborhoods, and the challenges presented by widespread joblessness, poverty, poor public services, and a decaying housing stock.
In 1995, he joined Community Coalition under then founder and current Congresswoman Karen Bass. His first campaign publicized the horrendous conditions of inner city high schools and the inequities in the distribution of public funding. It resulted in an unprecedented $153 million for school repair and modernization in South LA schools.
His efforts were heralded by Oprah Winfrey and as the first successful effort to include equity a key determinate in the dissemination of public school funds. It set the basis for winning universal access to college prep classes as well as reforms to end discriminatory targeting African American and Latino students with the harshest disciplinary remedies.
He galvanized South LA families to address public safety in the most humane and effective way possible, working with law enforcement agencies, city leaders, local residents and businesses to reduce crime and violence by transforming neighborhood parks, and decreasing nuisance business activity that foster crime.
Marqueece was also coordinator for Mark Ridley-Thomas' 1999 re-election campaign in which garnered over 87% of the vote.
Serving as the President and CEO of Community Coalition since 2004, his leadership grew the organization's influence, size and financial standing. While doubling the budget and staff, he also led a capital campaign to acquire Community Coalition's headquarters on Vermont Avenue.
Marqueece has been recognized with numerous community commendations, recognitions and awards including the coveted Do Something "BRICK" Award, The Wellness Foundation Sabbatical Award, the NAACP Man of Valor Award, Durfee Foundation's Stanton Fellowship and Liberty Hill Foundation's Upton Sinclair Award. He holds a certificate in non-profit management from Stanford's Graduate School of Business and is an Aspen Institute Pahara Fellow.
Liberty Hill Strategy Session
On January 20 2018, Liberty Hill Foundation's Advisory Council "participated in a strategy session led by Councilmember Mike Bonin and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson on building a just Los Angeles and how we can resist the attacks from Washington on our communities while solving pressing problems such as homelessness, climate change, racism and criminalization of our youth."
Meeting on Community Organizing
A "Meeting on Community Organizing, Civic Participation & Racial Justice" - organized by the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity December 2011, Washington, DC.
- Jackie Byers, Black Organizing Project, Center for Third World Organizing
- Rick Cohen, PRE Consultant
- Kennia Coronado, Voces de la Frontera Student Leader
- Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice
- Ponsella Hardaway, MOSES
- Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Community Coalition
- Judy Hatcher, PRE Consultant
- Richard Healey, Grassroots Policy Project
- Derrick Johnson, One Voice and Mississippi NAACP
- Jon Liss, Virginia New Majority
- Pam McMichael, Highlander Research and Education Center
- Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Voces de la Frontera
- Denise Perry, BOLD: Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity, Center for Third World Organizing
- Maggie Potapchuk, PRE Consultant
- John A. Powell, Kirwan Institute (*at time of meeting, now Haas Diversity Research Center at the Univ. of California, Berkeley)
- Rashad Robinson, Colorofchange.org
- Saket Soni, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and National Guestworker Alliance
- Ada Williams Prince, OneAmerica
- Lori Villarosa, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity
- Bob Wing, PushBack Network (via phone)
Ear to the Ground Project
- We would like to express our deep respect and appreciation for everyone who took the time to talk with us, and the organizations that generously hosted us during our travels. Interviews were confidential, but the following people have agreed to have their names listed for this publication:
Most of those listed were connected to Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
As of February 2017; City Hall Staff
- Solomon Rivera, Chief of Staff
- Joanne Kim, Capital Projects
- Bernard Dory, Deputy Chief of Staff
- Rachel Brashier, Policy Director
- Lynell Washington, Planning Director
- Ashley Thomas, Communications Director
- Dina Andrews, Scheduler
- Yvette Lechuga, City Hall Office Manager
- Kenneth Chancey, Legislative Deputy
- Sherilyn Correa, Planning Assistant
District Office Staff
- Fernando Montes-Rodriguez, District Director
- Anthony Anderson, Field Deputy
- Vrenely Garcia, District Office Manager
- Albizael Del Valle, Field Deputy
- Breana Weaver, Field Deputy