The LAPD will be out in force on the streets of Skid Row on Saturday, April 21. No, not that LAPD, the “other” one, as they prefer to be called.
The Los Angeles Poverty Department will hold its fourth incarnation of the biennial Walk the Talk Parade and Performance, an event that chronicles and celebrates the history of Skid Row and those who work, live and contribute to the neighborhood. “The idea is to put all these people out there who are not recognized,” says John Malpede, founder of the other LAPD, the Row’s community theater, visual arts and performance group.
The event is very much a for-us, by-us affair, with wacky costumes, a brass band and community music ensemble. Got something to make some noise with? Join in. Residents come and go as the parade, a movable feast if there ever was one, wends its way through Skid Row.
The parade is also about bringing a sense of engagement and community to an area not often thought of in terms of “community.” Organizers describe the event as a “people’s history” of the community.
“This gives a positive perspective to what’s going on in the community,” says Steven “Cue” Jean-Marie, pastor at the Row Church and one of eight people who will be honored at the parade. “We need more positive examples.”
This year the event honors activists and artists who have been deeply involved in lifting up the residents of Skid Row. They range from leaders of well-known institutions such as the Rescue Mission, to neighborhood activists, to a renowned L.A. Philharmonic violinist.