Sun, May

Town Hall Cafe Los Angeles debut episode takes on gentrification and local politics

(R-L) Local community members Kathy Guyton, Patricia Diggs, Jamal Jones, and L.A. Standard Newspaper publisher Jason Lewis discuss community issues at Morris Media Studios in Leimert Park.


The podcast is designed to discuss issues that affect South Los Angeles communities.

By Jason Lewis

Neighborhood council meetings are one of the best places for community members to stay informed about the issues, events, and programs that are happening in their area.  Unfortunately, neighborhood council meetings are not attended by the masses, so many people miss out on vital information and are not a part of the political process.

“We would love for the meetings to be jam-packed with people, but there’s a lot of other things that happen in people’s lives,” said Patricia Diggs, member of the Empowerment Congress West Area (ECWA) Neighborhood Council.  “Like raising families, work, and other engagements.  But that shouldn’t be a hindrance for being informed and engaged.  So we’re trying to develop different formats for reaching out to provide this information to the community.”

To create a new format to reach community members, Diggs partnered with Jamal Jones, who is the ECWA’s economic empowerment committee co-chairman, to create Town Hall Cafe Los Angeles, which is a podcast that is recorded at Morris Media Studios in Leimert Park.  This hour-long podcast can be listened to through YouTube.

“The podcast was created to get people in the community more educated about what’s going on, not only in their community, but also what’s going on in the city,” Diggs said.  “We want to provide a platform so that people can get involved with different community activities.”

Diggs is the regional director of Step Academics and a communications specialist in media and public relations in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles.  Jones works for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.  Both of them are heavily involved in their communities’ activities, and they are using this podcast to get certain messages out to the masses.

“We felt that with this type of political climate that we’re in, not only locally but also nationally, that we need to get more engaged,” Diggs said.  “So we developed this podcast that will bring in guest speakers, educators, and politicians to try to get people aware of how to get involved.”

The first podcast featured guests Kathy Guyton, an ECWA member who double-majored in African-American Studies and Classical Civilizations at UCLA and currently works at the University of Southern California, and Jason Lewis, publisher of The Los Angeles Standard Newspaper.  

During the hour long podcast, gentrification was a major topic.

“We’re in a community that’s experiencing change and redevelopment,” Diggs said.  “We want to discuss how we can shape and lead our community.  We want to discuss all of the different factors that can make a better community economically, politically, and through education.  We want to give insight on how to build a city within a city.”

Many people are unaware of which local politician they should voice their concerns to.

“We’re giving people a poli-sci refresher course,” Diggs said.  Because we feel that we need to be in the game rather than on the sidelines.  Our lives are really affected by policy.”

The podcast will provide listeners with recourses that local politicians and nonprofit organizations provide.  Educational and economic resources that people can use to improve their lives and their communities will be discussed.

“We want to create a results-orientated curriculum that will enhance the everyday lives of the community members,” Diggs said.

This podcast will take place twice a month, and will feature local politicians, educators, social workers, business owners, and journalists.  Diggs encourages people to contact her to discuss topics for future shows.  

To watch the podcast, click on the video below or search for “Town Hall Cafe Los Angeles” on either Google or YouTube.  Email Diggs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..