For generations white middle-class residents of the Valley, a longtime symbol of post-WWII suburbia, have attempted to break away from the City of Los Angeles. By the end of the 20th century, the secession campaign brought together homeowner associations, business leaders, and small government libertarians. During a period of massive global migration that transformed the city into an immigrant metropolis, this coalition successfully placed secession on the November 2002 municipal ballot. Critics of secession decried Valley independence as latter day white flight and a means to curtail the growing political power of Latinas/os. This article complicates previous studies that solely focus on the tactical failures of white secessionists, and rather unearths the genesis and impact of grassroots people of color organizing both in the Valley and across the rest of Los Angeles.

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