Grassroots activism has made a big difference in the life of Karen Bass. In the 1990s, Bass was a working single mom, trying to get control of her crack-ridden South Los Angeles neighborhood.
She founded a group called the Community Coalition; it propelled her to the California State Assembly in 2005.
Last May, Bass became the first black woman to be named assembly speaker.
She talks with Farai Chideya about her rising profile and her new level of responsibility.