About This Blog

Do You See What I See?

When you hear the name “Compton”, what kind of images come to your mind?  Are they images of urban decay, defiant gangsters, drug dealers, and police helicopters?  If so, this blog invites you to witness another side of Compton, and to replace those negative images with positive ones.

My name is Tonya — as a wife, mother, and community youth developer, I have spent over 1/3 of my life working and living right here, in my hometown of Compton, CA.  During that time I have come to love this city and its people with all my heart.  They have blessed and strengthened me and my family, making our lives far richer (I believe) than if we lived elsewhere.

In the last few years, things have begun to change in the city of Compton.  Crime has gone down, economic development has increased dramatically, and our city schools are being rehabbed.  The city’s mayor  has changed the city’s motto to “Birthing a New Compton.”  People from both inside and outside the community are banding together in powerful ways to transform this city.  From a still sparkling shopping center (2007) to newly painted schools, there are days when you can literally smell hope in the air.  Change is coming to Compton!

Outside our community, this journey towards transformation is still largely unrecognized.  Other than a few news organizations’ reports of the dropping crime stats, the ground swell of change is mostly celebrated within.  There’s a freshly painted mural on our city hall building that quotes a scripture found in Matthew 5. It says, ”You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”  We, the people of Compton, believe that someday the changes lighting our city will spill out beyond our borders, and the world will take notice.

So I’m shining a light — I’m inviting anyone who will to see the other side of Compton, the side that I see.  I invite you to meet the heroes who work and live and love here, some who have been building into this city for decades.  Heroes like Mary and Frank Lawson, whose volunteering commitments in their retirement rival the work hours of the busiest people I know.  Heroes like Mr. Rigiberto Roman, the new principal of Dominguez High, who exemplifies daily to his students that great, successful people do come out of Compton.  Heroes like LA County Sheriff and Pastor Rafer Owens, who tells all who join his congregation, “Today you’re joining an army of people who are taking back Compton!”  Learn about  cutting edge youth programs that are developing this generation of Compton children into the leaders of tomorrow.  Check out the new businesses that are choosing to invest in Compton rather than leave.  These people and stories lay the foundation upon which we walk, as we journey into the city we are becoming.

My God is a big God.  Changing Compton is a huge task.  Being in the midst of it while it’s happening is an immeasurable honor.  It is my family’s privilege and our joy.  Come walk with us for a moment, won’t you?  Come visit the other side of Compton.

Come see what we see!