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It’s a scary fact of living in Los Angeles today: many Angelenos are one financial-, medical-, or criminal justice-related emergency away from bankruptcy or falling into a vicious cycle of debt, poverty, homelessness, and even incarceration. If a terrible event were to happen, what are our rights, what are our options? What resources do our local government, community, and legal services organizations offer when homes or livelihoods are threatened by fraud in a predatory home loan scheme, having a car unlawfully towed, being scammed by an imposter attorney who took life savings to resolve immigration, bankruptcy or student loan issues, or paying bail for a friend or loved one in jail or in immigration detention?

Councilmember Gilbert Cedillo brings decades of leadership on state-wide and local policy initiatives aimed at providing legal avenues and local resources for Angelenos in financial crisis. In City Hall, he tackles these issues as Chair of both the Housing Committee, and the Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights and Equity Committee. Cindy Pánuco, is the Director of Public Counsel’s Consumer Rights & Economic Justice Project. For fifty years, the attorneys, staff and volunteers of Public Counsel’s oldest project have been advancing economic, social and racial justice by providing legal counsel for low-income individuals and their families, combatting inequalities in bargaining power through advocacy, opposing those who take advantage of the vulnerable, and holding wrongdoers accountable through cutting-edge civil rights, consumer rights, and impact litigation.

Gil Cedillo

Gil Cedillo is a member of the Los Angeles City Council for District 1. Previously, during his service as a member of the State Assembly and Senate, he authored many bills that were signed into law, which included workers’ right to organize (AB1889), Downtown Rebound (AB 2870), the California Dream Act (AB 130 and 131), and more. Cedillo currently chairs both the Housing Committee and Committee on Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights and Equity. He grew up in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles and has a son and two granddaughters.


Cindy Pánuco

Cindy Pánuco is the Director of the Consumer Rights & Economic Justice Project at Public Counsel, a project aimed at eliminating economic injustice on behalf of underrepresented and low-income persons throughout California and nationwide. She represents plaintiffs and consumers in individual and class action cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Her work as a civil rights practitioner include impact cases ranging from prisoner rights class actions (Pierce v. County of Orange) to predatory lending (Nemore v. County of Los Angeles, Renovate et al.,) as well represented individual plaintiffs in civil rights and employment cases such as police killings of persons with mental health disabilities that resulted in multi-million dollar settlements (Saycon v. City of Long Beach) and (Zion v. County of Orange et al.,). Named a 2019 Rising Star in civil rights, Pánuco is presently the Secretary of the Board of California Rural Legal Assistance and a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. As the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, she is a native Spanish speaker.


The New Directions Veterans Choir

The New Directions Veterans Choir is an award winning a cappella group that sings renditions of doo-wop, soul, traditional gospel and popular music. The choir is comprised primarily of men and women who have served proudly in the United States Military. Following their service to our country, they became homeless. The New Directions Veterans Choir got its big break on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and since then has been featured on the NBC Nightly News and E! Entertainment Television. They have performed at over 100 venues and events, including “The Donny and Marie Show,” the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and for members of the United States Congress.


Illustration courtesy of Shepard Fairey/Obeygiant.com


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.


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