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The creation of the WGTF in December of 2005 followed the shooting of an influential gang leader—which sparked an 18-day retaliation war between rival gangs in the public housing developments of Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens. Eight concerned Watts citizens gathered at the office of Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn, with LAPD captains, gang interventionists, along with the Congresswoman as the broker. This collective was able to arrange a private meeting between the leadership of the warring gangs at Hahn’s office. The gang leaders emerged and called for a cease fire that led to a lasting, long term truce. This peace process took 30 days. Most members of the current executive board of the WGTF were among the advocates who helped carve out a space for peace for all of Watts’ stakeholders: Betty Day (Former President) Donny Joubert (President), Elder Michael Cummings (VP) Hank Henderson (Sgt. At Arms), .

Two years after the inception of the WGTF, violent crime in Watts was reduced by 50%. This commitment to building relationships between rival gangs, law enforcement and the community has improved to the point where now community leaders have the cell phone numbers of LAPD area captains and leadership, who are responsive 24/7. The Community Safety Partnership program—the gold standard in community policing—was created in partnership with the Advancement Project and is the embodiment of the reciprocal commitment to relationship-building between LAPD, the Housing Authority and the diversity of Watts communities/residents they serve.

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Betty Day
Founder & Former President

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