KCRW’s Below the Ten: Stories of South LA continues with “Local Hires”

KCRW’s Audio/Visual Reporting Series on L.A.’s Vulnerable Populations Continues with “Local Hires,” the sixth chapter in Below the Ten: Stories of South LA

Series focuses on people who live and work in neighborhoods south of the 10 Freeway, including Watts, Jefferson Park, Inglewood and Compton

“Local Hires” premieres Thursday, January 14, on Morning Edition

Los Angeles, CA (January 13, 2016) – The sixth chapter of KCRW’s Below the Ten: Stories of South LA titled “Local Hires” is set to premiere on Thursday, January 14, on Morning Edition. “Local Hires” tells the story of a union carpenter Anthony Fagan and his mentor “Big John,” a man whose mission it is to use local construction jobs as an opportunity to reduce violence in the South Los Angeles community. Across South LA there are a number of large developments under construction, including the $650 million dollar USC village, the expansion of the Crenshaw Metro line, and a new NFL stadium. Many of these city-changing projects have local hire initiatives, with a goal to hire a set percentage of people from the neighborhoods that surround these developments. The question is, will these new developments change South LA so dramatically that the people who constructed them can no longer afford to live there?

Each chapter in Below the Ten: Stories of South LA is produced documentary style, and focuses on the neighborhoods south of the 10 Freeway, including Watts, Jefferson Park, Inglewood and Compton. Produced by David Weinberg, the series examines these changing communities through intimate, personal stories of those who reside there. The audio premieres on KCRW’s airwaves, and complementary photo and video features are available online at

Many of the people highlighted in Below the Ten: Stories of South LA are poor – some are undocumented, and some lack basic shelter, safety and opportunities to get ahead. The first chapter, “The New Compton,” tells the story of the changing face of Compton. Chapter 2, “Grace of the Sea,” follows Luis Jesus Gutierrez Sanchez – a gay, undocumented immigrant residing in Jefferson Park who is in danger of losing the garage he calls home. Chapter 3, “After Katrina, Finding Refuge in South LA,” chronicles Cassandra Cousin’s relocation to South LA after the hurricane hit New Orleans and left her homeless. Chapter 4 highlights one of the last remaining juke joints in California, “The Barnyard” – part junkyard, part music venue, part shelter – located on South Main Street not far from Watts. Chapter 5, “The Long Commute,” chronicles the Chambers family, who achieved their lifelong dream of homeownership by leaving South Los Angeles for the desert community of Palmdale, keeping ties to the old neighborhood by making a long daily commute to work and school: four hours “on a good day.” Additional chapters in the series will be unveiled in the coming months.

In August, 2015, KCRW announced the development of a multi-year documentary and reporting series on issues affecting the lives of Los Angeles residents who find themselves at the edges of our community. The series, supported by a generous grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, will explore Los Angeles’ most vulnerable populations. Below the Ten: Stories of South LA is the first set of programs in the series.

For more information and online access to full audio and video, please visit:


About KCRW

KCRW creates and curates a unique mix of content centered around music discovery, NPR news, cultural exploration and informed public affairs. We are driven by the spirit of LA and deliver in innovative ways — on the radio, digitally and in person — to diverse, curious communities around the corner and around the world.  A community service of Santa Monica College, KCRW can be found on the air in LA, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Mojave, Palm Springs, and via five KCRW-developed smart phone apps and online at

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About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance use, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $100 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2014. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2.5 billion. For more information, please visit