The Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR) program grows out of a specific moment in Los Angeles history, when changing demographics, economic injustice, political disempowerment, police violence, media misrepresentation and other forces laid the groundwork for interracial tension and the 1992 civil unrest.
In 1989, after several community centers and places of worship were vandalized with messages of hate, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (now Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA) began crafting LDIR to meet the clear need for leadership development that would provide individuals with critical awareness and skills to address human relations issues. The first LDIR cohort graduated from a nine-month intensive training just a few weeks after the civil unrest in 1992.
Over the past twenty years, LDIR has deepened its roots in Los Angeles expanded its reach to California’s Central Valley as well as Michigan and Pennsylvania. In 1997, LDIR began working in local high schools, and an additional team was formed to manage LDIR school-based programming, which now serves hundreds of students per year across Los Angeles, San Gabriel, and Alhambra Unified School Districts. At the same time, the LDIR community-based program grew, building curriculum to develop leaders in the health sector in LA, Fresno, and Merced; and launching new condensed trainings and resources to meet continued demand for LDIR’s unique integration of facilitation skills-building, personal growth, and social change philosophy.