The Other LAPD: The Los Angeles Poverty Department on Skid Row / Hyperallergic

Documentation of the 2012 Walk The Talk parade/performance. (all photographs by Austin Hines and Henriëtte Brouwers, used with permission from the LA Poverty Department.)

Documentation of the 2012 Walk The Talk parade/performance. (all photographs by Austin Hines and Henriëtte Brouwers, used with permission from the LA Poverty Department.)

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Poverty Department is deliberately named to evoke associations between police, the criminal justice system, and how people living in poverty are treated. Concentrating on LA’s Skid Row, which has the highest concentration of homelessness in the United States, this LAPD, unlike its police department namesake, seeks to give voice to homeless people rather than criminalizing their situation or shoving them aside.

Since 1985, LAPD Founding Artistic Director John Malpede has been working on Skid Row, a fifty-block area just east of downtown LA home to an estimated 3,500 homeless people, a thousand of whom sleep on the sidewalks. The LAPD exists for the purpose of creating a“normative community on Skid Row and normative communities for all people living in poverty.”

On May 24, the LAPD presents Walk The Talk, a parade/performance that starts at Gladys Park (6th Street and Gladys Avenue), which will celebrate the history of Skid Row through performance, visual art, music, and the coming together of an accidental community. Hyperallergic got in touch with Malpede to learn more about Walk The Talk, and how it came to be.

Read the interview on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/127206/the-other-lapd-the-los-angeles-poverty-department-on-skid-row/