Redefining civil rights for Los Angeles in the 21st century.
Mission: Community Advocates, Inc. (CAI) is committed to taking the quest for human and civil rights beyond the fight against intolerance and discrimination. CAI aims to promote the progress that American society has made by fostering common ground across races, ethnicities and religions through op-eds, presentations, journal articles, and town-hall style meetings.
Vision: For most of the past century, civil rights and human relations organizations have focused their energies on issues of discrimination, bigotry and the passage of legislation dealing with intolerance, hate and hate crimes. Well-known groups like the NAACP, MALDEF, the ADL and GLAAD, among others, have succeeded in focusing public attention on issues affecting their respective ethnic, racial, religious or sexual orientation communities while also helping to educate Americans about the harmful effects of bigotry and discrimination.
CAI works from the premise that while Los Angeles city and county residents generally interact in positive ways, the region's geography makes sustained, large-scale interactions across racial, ethnic or religious lines rare. Los Angeles suffers not from hatred or animosity between different groups, but from a lack of understanding based in part on a lack of opportunities for mixing in a positive setting. Unlike the residents of New York or Chicago, Angelenos don't tend to walk the streets or ride public transportation together. The freeway system allows people to travel in hermetically sealed cars that whisk them over and around unfamiliar or "dangerous" neighborhoods. Therefore, CAI's challenge is to develop an awareness of interests and common ground that transcends one's race, ethnicity or religion — an objective that is counter to the prevailing strategies of identity-based politics and advocacy.