By: Thomas Martin

Being a student studying political science in today’s era, it is all too easy to find yourself wrapped up in the latest political stunt happening in the media or on Twitter. We often focus on the person that is speaking the loudest, whether or not their ideas are sound. In order to come across real solutions to the problems we face in Los Angeles, we have to be able to actually listen to others.

Throughout my time at Town Hall Los Angeles, I have learned more about the importance of a conversation. In fact, they are so essential, that this whole organization exists to support them! As a non-profit, non-partisan speaker’s forum, Town Hall Los Angeles invites people to speak from all different backgrounds about ranging topics, from education to public safety to cannabis, all in order to allow Angelenos to hear from prominent figures on the issues they face every single day. They have the track record to prove it, too. Shortly after I started my internship, I was put in charge of digitizing all of Town Hall’s CD audio records. After combing 40+ years worth of programming, I am so grateful that we have an organization like THLA to promote civic discussion in our city.

This is also what drew me to apply to THLA. A former professor of mine at USC mentioned that he was on the Board of Directors for the organization. After an amazing semester with him, I figured he was onto something by being involved with Town Hall. I decided to apply, and my time here has been some of the best experience of my academic career. I was able to grow more as a writer, through researching varied topics and people, and by writing letters to high profile leaders in LA and CA. I also became more in touch with LA by getting to know a whole group of people in the city that I normally would not interact with: THLA’s members. I saw first hand what conversation could do, whether it be shedding light on a previously unknown topic, or agreeing to disagree in a civilized and polite manner. And as Town Hall Los Angeles is preparing to make big changes to become even better, I am proud to have helped to create the building blocks for the future of the organization.

I want to say thank you to the amazing team at Town Hall: Kyle, Marian, and Kim. Thank you so much for all of your guidance and help throughout these last four months. I know that I will remember my time here for years to come, and I am so grateful for the opportunities you gave me while I was at Town Hall Los Angeles.

My time here at Town Hall was truly amazing. To anyone who has the fortune of being a THLA member or just attends our events, know that you are witnessing the best of what LA has to offer. I am confident that everything I learned here at Town Hall will empower me to start and partake in conversations that will change our societies for the better.