Called “one of Watts’ most beloved community organizers,” by NBC News, “Sweet Alice” Harris is widely recognized as an esteemed local leader. She is the founder and executive director Parents of Watts, a local youth outreach group, which focuses on helping to feed, house, and educate young people and she enthusiastically supports Chief Cecil Rhambo as the next Sheriff of Los Angeles County.
“Chief Cecil Rhambo is the best choice for Los Angeles County Sheriff. As a Black man who grew up in Compton, he understands the challenges that young people in our community face every day. Cecil has the background, experience and the vision that we need to transform and reimagine the Sheriff’s Department, so that it’s more justice oriented for all communities,” said Harris. “In addition to enacting much needed reforms and accountability measures at the LASD, I know that Cecil is deeply focused on developing strategies to lift up our young people by focusing more on educational opportunities, after-school programs, apprenticeship programs and job-training for our at-risk youth. For these reasons, among many others, I am proud to endorse Chief Cecil Rhambo for Sheriff.”
Rhambo welcomes the endorsement as he has worked closely with Harris in the past and believes she is uniquely aware of the challenges facing marginalized residents in Los Angeles County.
“I’ve known Sweet Alice for years and am very grateful for her endorsement and support. Her lifetime of work in Watts and other local communities is legendary,” said Rhambo. “She is an icon and someone I deeply admire. I look forward to working closely with her on our campaign in the weeks and months ahead.”
As a witness to the 1965 Watts Rebellion, and as a way to help ease the tensions in her community that followed, Harris and a group of volunteers worked out of her house to help rebuild the community. Linking with other civic groups, she formed the Black and Brown Committee, which eventually became the Parents of Watts (POW) in 1979 and was incorporated in 1983.
Today, POW operates more than 15 programs in eight houses purchased by Harris. It provides emergency food and shelter for the homeless, tutoring, health seminars and parenting classes, literacy courses, drug counseling, college and career preparation, and housing assistance for anyone who needs it.
In 1993, Essence magazine presented Harris with an award for her work. In 2002, California lieutenant governor Cruz Bustamante named Harris “Woman of the Year,” in honor of her community outreach efforts through Parents of Watts.
For more information on Chief Rhambo’s campaign, please visit www.RhamboForSheriff.com