MISSION: The WLCAC mission is to improve the quality of life for the residents of Watts and neighboring communities.
“Don’t Move… Improve” – Ted Watkins 1922-1993
Ted Watkins, Sr. born in Mississippi in the 1920’s, moved to California at the age of 13 on his own. He settled in Watts, married and raised six children Tamlin, Theodore Jr., Teryl, Lyssa, Timothy, and Tom.
As longtime member of the United Auto Worker’s Union, faced with the seemingly insurmountable injustices of labor discrimination against members of the Watts community, he organized and founded the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) in 1965, just months before the Watts rebellion.
He built WLCAC to improve the quality of life in Watts: and that’s what it has done ever since. After the riots Ted organized the youth of Watts to clean up blighted vacant lots, plant grass and flowers and turn them into vest-pocket parks, one of which remains erected in his name to this day.
He brought medical services to Watts in his work to get the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center built.
He provided housing building more than ten different apartment complexes in Watts.
He was a part of dozens of initiatives that helped bring public transportation, a freeway, thousands of jobs, and some of the nation’s first programs serving our elders in their homes when they have no loved ones to care for them.
In the early 1980’s, Ted worried the community was being starved for resources again and another rebellion would take place: In 1992 it happened.
Despite the WLCAC being targeted and burned to the ground, destroying more than twenty years of work, Ted led the rebuilding of the WLCAC, overseeing the reconstruction of the first building in Watts to rise again, just one year after the ‘92 rebellion.
Ted passed away less than a year later, having laid the unshakeable foundation for stabilization of Watts and having created a legacy that lives on in WLCAC, his family, and throughout the Watts community.
View the “A Practical Man”, a 15-minute documentary about Ted Watkins leadership.