#ICYMI: Sparks Highlight Local Businesses for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, the Los Angeles Sparks highlighted the valuable contributions of three non-profit organizations and one small, but mighty local business located across Los Angeles. The establishments selected were the Compton Cowboys, Brotherhood Crusade, the Watts Empowerment Center, and The Serving Spoon.

Each of these are rooted in service to their communities and have a unique story to share. The Sparks are proud to support each of these organizations, as they actively work to make our community a more equitable place. We hope you are curious to learn more about each and how you too can contribute to their cause.

The Compton Cowboys are a group of Black horseback riders based out of the Richland Farms area of Compton. Though the group has only been an official organization since 2017, its roots run deep in the Compton community. The 10 members who compose the organization met as children in the 1990s through the Compton Jr. Posse, a program that has taught Compton’s youth how to ride and care for horses since the 1980s. The Compton Cowboys’ motto – “Streets Raised Us. Horses Saved Us.” – captures what the organization is all about. Its mission is to create a viable alternative to joining gangs for inner-city youth, combat negative stereotypes about African Americans, and reclaim the rich history of Black cowboys and cowgirls in the American West. The organization works closely with the Compton Jr. Posse to provide guidance and a positive influence for young Black horseback riders in the city. The Compton Cowboys can often be seen riding their horses through the city’s streets. This irreplaceable organization benefits greatly from donations, check out the Compton Cowboys on Instagram to help them maximize their impact.

Brotherhood Crusade, a more than half-century-old grassroots organization, is committed to improving the quality of life and opportunities for low-income residents of South Los Angeles. Founded by Walter Bremond Jr. and other members of the Los Angeles Black Congress in 1968, Brotherhood Crusade remains one of LA’s organizations most committed to creating an equitable city for all Angelenos. The organization offers a wide array of programs dedicated to creating a brighter present and future for the people of South Los Angeles. Since 2007, Brotherhood Crusade has offered youth development programs for disadvantaged young people. There are currently 16 unique youth development programs, which range in scope from teaching underperforming students in South LA about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines to coaching young Black men in golf while simultaneously providing career guidance for them. Brotherhood Crusade also offers financial literacy programs, career counseling and vocational training programs, and sports programs. Additionally, it sponsors several annual community events aimed at helping the homeless, ensuring underserved families can give their children toys and nutritious food during the holiday season, and more. To learn more, visit the Brotherhood Crusade.

The Watts Empowerment Center is a community center dedicated to serving the children, youth, and families living in the Watts Housing Projects. The community center, in operation since 2018, is considered one of the best in the Los Angeles area. It offers sports leagues, tutoring, acting classes, cooking classes, mental health programs, resumé-building workshops, anti-bullying courses, and much more. According to the community center’s website, Watts is home to the youngest population of any LA neighborhood, but 50% of its residents drop out of school, and many Watts families are run by single mothers. Due to Watts’ exceedingly young population, the community center plays an important role in the lives of much of Watts’ underserved children and youth. The W.E.C. is part of the Youth Mentor initiative operated by Red Eye, a global charity focused on enhancing communities around the world through social responsibility. Red Eye has been honored by three U.S. presidents, the UN, UNICEF, and more. Visit the Watts Empowerment Center and Red Eye to learn more.

The Serving Spoon eatery was established in 1983 by Harold and JoAnn Sparks. In 2004, Sparks retired and sold the restaurant to his daughter Angela and her husband JC. Together, they leveled up The Serving Spoon by integrating better systems, increased marketing in the community and continued to be a safe space for anyone who walked through their door.

When mandatory stay at home orders were implemented last March, The Serving Spoon created the “Pandemic Pay It Forward Program” to give back to those who needed it most. You can help support this historic Inglewood establishment by ordering to go, or by contributing to their fundraiser.

The LA Sparks are devoted to promoting social justice, combating racism, and making Los Angeles an equitable and hospitable place for all. Much like these organizations, the Sparks are deeply invested in the Los Angeles community and are proud to celebrate each of them during Black History Month. Check out our social justice platform Change Has No Offseason to learn more.