Marqueece Harris-Dawson was sworn into office on the Los Angeles City Council in 2015 to represent South Los Angeles, where he was a longtime community organizer. Before participating in the Zócalo/The California Wellness Foundation event, “How Do You Fix a ‘Bad’ Neighborhood?” he revealed in the Zócalo green room his favorite neighborhood haunt and talked about what he likes most about his job.
Q: What’s the last thing that inspired you?
A: Probably the Democratic National Convention, watching Hillary Clinton get the nomination of a major party. That’s the biggest breakthrough in terms of gender equality that I think I’ve witnessed in my life. That was very inspiring. I wasn’t ready for it when it happened.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Being able to help people realize their hopes and dreams. And help people realize change and improvements that they maybe thought that they couldn’t make happen.
Q: If you didn’t live in Southern California where would you be?
Q: What is your biggest weakness?
A: Probably being far more contemplative and pondering than is useful.
Q: What’s the ugliest tie you own?
A: I don’t own ugly ties.
Q: How do you take your coffee?
A: Equal and hazelnut creamer.
Q: How would you describe yourself in five words or less?
A: Deep, hopeful, happy, enthusiastic, thoughtful.
Q: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: An architect.
Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: There are a lot. My grandmother gave me a hand-me-down thing called a cyclo-teacher when I was about six or seven years old.
Q: What’s your favorite neighborhood haunt?
A: The Cork.
*Photo by Aaron Salcido.