New LADOT Program Puts Survivors, Communities at Risk

Community organizations can be one of the strongest vehicles for positive change in a city overwhelmed by hardship, whether that a pandemic, an economic crisis, or racism and injustice. That’s because they serve on the ground, closest to the people who are impacted most by difficult circumstances. I know this firsthand because I lead an organization that supports families who have lost loved ones to gang violence in South Los Angeles.

Since 2008, the year my two eldest sons were killed, Loving Hands Community Care has been my path for turning grief into action by providing others with the resources they need to both move on and stay safe.

I’ve lived in Watts all my life, I raised my six children here, and I want to see this community flourish. My work with Loving Hands is not only meant to honor the memory of my two sons, Branden and Kejuan, it also serves to support and uplift my vulnerable neighbors. There are many other organizations like mine focused on other issues, and we’re all invested in seeing our neighborhoods thrive, which is why we try to stay informed and involved in public policy matters that could directly impact our everyday lives.

Recently, I learned about a new program created by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) that makes me worry for the privacy and safety of our community, including survivors who’ve dealt with the horrors of gang violence. It’s called Mobility Data Specification (MDS), and it’s a tool that allows the local government to track people’s personal movements. Using MDS, LADOT requires mobility companies like Uber and Lyft to share access to riders’ location data in real time, including the coordinates of their trips from start to finish. MDS is currently being tested on dockless bikes and scooters, but city officials have said they’ll expand it to all ride-hailing services.