The Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR) Program grows out of a specific moment in the landscape of Los Angeles culture. In the late 1980′s, several community centers and places of worship were vandalized with messages of hate. By 1989, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) began thinking seriously about developing a program that would provide individuals with specific skills to address human relations issues.
The first LDIR program began in 1991 and graduated the first LDIR participants a few weeks after the Los Angeles 1992 civil unrest. While the first class was conducted solely by APALC, after the graduation the League of United Latino American Citizens (LULAC) of San Gabriel Valley added their support. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference/Martin Luther King Dispute Resolution Center (SCLC/MLKDRC) also joined as a formal partner to better round out the program’s curriculum and community representation.
In 1997, with the support of the LDIR’s Operations Board which by then included APALC, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), and SCLC/MLKDRC, the decision was made to take the LDIR program into the schools and into the classrooms. The mantra at the time was “every student at every school.” The LDIR school-based program ultimately expanded to public schools in Los Angeles, San Gabriel and Alhambra Unified School Districts working with hundreds of students.
In 2002, with the support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, LDIR replicated the training in Flint, Michigan, and Philadelphia, helping those communities to make the curriculum their own. In the ensuing years, LDIR positioned itself at the vanguard of leadership development programs by expanding its curriculum to build greater understanding of, and participation by, transgender, queer, and other populations often facing discrimination and exclusion.
In 2004, LDIR staff conducted an indepth study of existing leadership development programs in the health sector and recognized a need for health based leadership programming. In mid 2005, LDIR launched the LDIRs in Health Program. In early 2007, the LDIRs in Health Program brought training resources to a new community of health advocates in the Central Valley.
At this same time, other non-profit organizations increased their demand for training resources and technical assistance. LDIR staff developed marketing materials and a condensed training curriculum to respond to this need. By the end of 2007, responding to the training needs of non-profit organizations had become an integral part of LDIR program delivery.
From schools, to new communities, to multiple sectors, the LDIR program has continued to expand to share resources in new and innovative ways.
The LDIR program is co-sponsored by: