CAAASA Professional Network List - READ ONLY
Updated 2/24/21
Last NameFirst NameBiograpical Sketch
BassKarenCongressmember Karen Bass was re-elected to her sixth term representing the 37th Congressional District in November 2020. Congressmember Bass serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs where she is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights. She also serves on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, where she is active in working to craft sound criminal justice reform policies. Congressmember Bass served as the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in 2019 and 2020. During her tenure, the Congressional Black Caucus worked with the Congressional Hispanic, Asian Pacific Islander, and Native American Caucuses to demand a targeted response to the COVID-19 pandemic and initiate a national needs assessment for communities of color. She also introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act - the most transformative piece of policing legislation to ever pass in a chamber of Congress. (You can read more about what the Congressional Black Caucus accomplished under her chairship here.) Congressmember Bass has served on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations for as long as she's served in Congress. As Chair of the Subcommittee, Congressmember Bass has acted to build coalitions and support economic growth and partnerships with the African continent, with a goal to transform how the United States engages with African nations and to promote the many opportunities to expand trade and economic growth between America and African nations. In 2015, Congressmember Bass acted swiftly during her first term to bring legislators, advocacy groups and international leaders together to extend the third country fabric provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The provision supports stability, development, and economic growth of sub-Saharan African countries by protecting jobs in the apparel sector and providing some of the best markets for American businesses to sell their goods and services. Congressmember Bass has traveled to the continent upwards of 30 times and continues to push to increase the diversity among our diplomatic corps serving there. Congressmember Bass has also served on the Judiciary Committee since 2012. Her work on this committee includes passing sweeping criminal justice reforms including the First Step Act and reforms to our prison system with an eye on how women are treated in prisons. Congressmember Bass also helped pass the Equality Act of 2020, which would provide consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment and housing. She also serves on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet where she works on protections of intellectual property right infringements that threaten the economic health of the 37th District. On this committee, Congressmember Bass also voted to impeach the 45th President of the United States. Upon arriving in Congress, Chairwoman Bass founded the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. The caucus has a membership of more than 150 Members of Congress who are dedicated to improving the child welfare system and has successfully promoted passage of many key policies aimed at improving the nation’s foster care system. Prior to her election to Congress, Chairwoman Bass served in the California State Assembly, where in 2008, she made history by becoming the first-ever African-American woman in U.S. history to serve as Speaker of any state legislature. During her tenure as Speaker, California endured its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Under her leadership, the State Assembly came together to address the financial emergency with legislation to help Californians affected by the economic crisis. For her action, she was one of four legislative leaders awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2010. In the early 1990s, she convened a small group of community organizers, both African-American and Latino, and founded Community Coalition, known locally as CoCo. CoCo's mission is to help transform the social and economic conditions in South Los Angeles that foster addiction, crime, violence and poverty by building a community institution that involves thousands in creating, influencing and changing public policy. CoCo has become a nationally known community institution that has successfully changed many areas of public policy and trained a new generation of leaders.
Congressmember Bass grew up in the Venice/Fairfax area of Los Angeles, which is the same area she represents today in Congress. She is a graduate of Cal State Dominguez Hills, the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program, and the USC Masters Program in Social Work. She worked as a Physician Assistant and as a clinical instructor at the USC Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program. Congressmember Bass had one daughter, Emilia Bass-Lechuga and son-in-law Michael Wright. She continues to be inspired by Emilia and Michael’s passion for life. Emilia planned to follow in her mother’s footsteps working for social change. Congressmember Bass also has four step children.
BillyVernonVernon Billy – California School Board Association (CSBA), CEO & Executive Director. Vernon M. Billy serves as the Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director for the California School Boards Association. Billy provides executive leadership for the association, which represents and serves the elected and appointed members of the governing boards of more than 1,000 school districts and county offices of education in California. He is responsible for planning, organizing and leading the staff, programs and activities of CSBA. Billy has been involved in the business, legislative and political process for nearly three decades. Having worked for CSBA in the early 1990s as a senior legislative advocate, he linked his experience and knowledge of education policy with his business interest and served as an owner and partner of several successful policy and advocacy firms. Billy is the former vice president of a multi-million dollar education services company, which he played a key role in building. His experience as a business owner, policy expert and political strategist provides him with a unique insight into the relationship between business and politics. Billy also has served as the governmental relations director for the San Francisco Unified School District, the chief contract lobbyist and governmental affairs director for California's largest district, the Los Angeles Unified School District, as well as represented numerous schools districts, education companies and nonprofit organizations. In each of these positions, he worked closely with superintendents, boards and district senior staff to advance their education policy goals, manage public relations crises, and develop strategies to support students. Billy is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in governmental/international relations.
E. Toby
E. Toby Boyd – California Teachers Association (CTA), President. CTA President E. Toby Boyd is in his first term of office beginning June 26, 2019 through June 25, 2021. His background includes a host of leadership and advocacy roles during a 25-year teaching career in the Elk Grove Unified School District. He has been elected CTA president after two terms as a CTA District E Governing Board Member. In that capacity, Boyd represented most of the CTA members in the counties of Sacramento and San Joaquin. He was involved with an education program in Elk Grove Unified that assists under-represented children in a program called MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement). He held the positions of MESA advisor and elementary coordinator for Elk Grove and served as the liaison between the school district and the universities involved with the program. As a strong site representative for the Elk Grove Educators Association, he gained the respect of his peers and was appointed as a bargaining team member. He served as a delegate to the CTA State Council of Education, the union’s top governing body. At State Council, Boyd served on the Early Child Education Committee, where he was appointed the chair of the kindergarten subcommittee. He also held the position of member/minority-at-large on the CTA Association for a Better Citizenship Committee. Boyd is a 12-time delegate to the National Education Association Representative Assembly. He was also involved with Preschool California, an organization seeking the implementation of universal access to preschool for all California’s children. Boyd served as a spokesperson for the group at several functions and represented the organization’s position on at least two state legislative panels. He was also appointed by former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass to the state’s California Early Learning Quality Improvement System Advisory Committee, where he was the vice-chair of the Data Systems for Program Improvement and Research/Evaluation subcommittee. Boyd also served on the California Transitional Kindergarten Professional Learning Steering Committee. He currently serves on The Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery and is the Co-Chair of the new State Senate Subcommittee on Loss of Learning and Safe Recovery from the Disruption and Devastation caused by COVID-19. Boyd is a graduate of California State University-Sacramento, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with an emphasis in bilingual/cross-cultural studies, and then earned his teaching credential from the Multi-Cultural/Multi-Lingual Center at the university.
BradfordStevenSenator Steven Bradford – California State Senator (35th District); California Legislative Black Caucus, ChairSteven Bradford brings a lifetime of experience to the California State Senate. In over two decades of public service – first as a Gardena City Councilmember, then as a State Assemblymember and now as a State Senator - Bradford has proven himself to be an unwavering citizen activist. He views himself as a public servant and not a politician. Public service was instilled in him by his parents who taught him the value of giving back to the community. Prior to his service in local and state government, Bradford was a Public Affairs Manager for Southern California Edison, District Director for the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald, Program Director for the LA Conservation Corps, National Director of Bigger and Better Business for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and worked for seven years as a marketing and sales representative for International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). He made history when he became the first African American elected to the Gardena City Council. Over the 12 years that he served on city council, he helped create robust job and economic growth, and stabilized the city’s budget. When he was elected to the Council, the City of Gardena was on the brink of bankruptcy and was $27 million in debt. There was no money in the bank and employees had not been given raises in over seven years. By the time he left the council, they had eliminated the debt, allocated $8.5 million in reserve, increased employee salaries without raising taxes or cutting essential services, and secured millions of federal dollars for various improvement projects for North Gardena. He also authored and championed ordinances, which established the City’s Small Business Task Force and the City’s Police Foundation. As a former solid waste director, he brought those skills to bear, helping negotiate some of the lowest trash rates in the county. In addition, he served as Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Gardena for one year. Bradford was elected to the 51st State Assembly District in a Special Election in 2009, reelected in 2010, and reelected again in 2012, but the second time around, to the newly created 62nd District. While serving in the Assembly, he rose to prominence by becoming Chair of the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce, which had jurisdiction over electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, private water corporations and other issues related to commerce. In his role as Chair, he garnered national attention by presiding over hearings investigating the devastating power outages across California. He also created a $108 million program to assist low-income households install solar panels at home, increasing equity and the deployment of distributed clean energy resources. In 2013, Assembly Speaker John Perez named Bradford Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color. Under his leadership, the committee examined many institutional injustices that plague young Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific Islander males in California, which he continues to work on in the Senate. As a result of his efforts, Bradford was invited to the White House to attend President Barack Obama’s announcement of “My Brother’s Keeper,” a national initiative that reduces the opportunity gap faced by boys and men of color, which builds upon the work of his Select Committee. As a member of the Assembly, Bradford had 43 bills signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Governor Jerry Brown, including AB 1371 (Three Feet for Safety Act), AB 2188 (Disability Benefits), AB 2426 (Surrogacy Facilitators), AB 2567 (Vehicle Parking Violations), AB 651 (Expungement), AB 2634 (Civil Rights), AB 217 (Low-Income Solar), AB 128 (Reclassify LA World Airport Police), and the Jackie Robinson Assembly Resolution, HR 24. In 2017, Senator Bradford was re-elected to the California State Legislature, and his first year in the Senate he was successful at getting 11 bills signed into law by Governor Brown. These laws improved public safety, transportation infrastructure, our worker’s compensation system, the state’s climate goals, and public education. In addition to the legislative accomplishments, Bradford secured $11.3 million in the state budget for Compton Community College and helped secure a $35 million grant to Watts Rising for affordable housing, green space, and local workforce development. He previously served as Chair of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and Chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He currently chairs the Senate Committee on Public Safety. In 2018, Senator Bradford had an additional 11 bills signed into law, including SB 1294: The California Cannabis Equity Act, a first-in-the-nation bill which encouraged equitable participation in the cannabis industry and fostered business opportunities for individuals who have been negatively impacted by the War on Drugs; SB 978, which increases law enforcement transparency and accountability; SB 1412, which expanded employment opportunities for rehabilitated individuals; and SB 343, which provided critical tax relief for relocated residents in Carson. Senator Bradford also instrumental in a handful of bills he co-authored that are now state law, including AB 987, which helped streamline the Inglewood Revitalization Project and Los Angeles Clippers Arena. In addition, Senator Bradford secured $5 million in funding for community college reentry programs for current and formerly incarcerated students and $10 million for local cities and counties with social equity programs to support individuals, who were most impacted by cannabis criminalization, enter the burgeoning cannabis industry. In 2019, Senator Bradford was successful at getting 10 bills signed into law by Governor Newsom. The legislation covers a wide range of subject areas including: SB 595, which addresses the lack of inclusivity and equity within the cannabis industry by providing social equity applicants with application or licensing fee waivers and deferrals; SB 534, which created greater diversity within the insurance industry; and SB 206, a first-in-the-nation bill which allows college athletes who generate billions of dollars for corporate sponsors and their universities to also benefit from their skills and talents. After several states introduced bills modeled after SB 206, the NCAA supported rule changes allowing its student-athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. As Chair of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, Senator Bradford helped financially empower underserved communities with funding generated from bad actors in the lending industry; and as a longstanding leader on energy, utilities and communications issues, three of his bills in these areas were signed into law. In addition, Senator Bradford was successful at securing over $40 million in critical funding for the support of cannabis equity programs, increasing support and services at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, and improving innovative rehabilitation programs at CDCR facilities. In his free time, you will often find him on the golf course or attending jazz events. He started a Junior Golf program while on the city council and his favorite community event is the Gardena Jazz Festival, where he serves as the Founder and Chair. The festival has been celebrated for 16 years and is one of the most popular events in the South Bay. Bradford grew up in Gardena, where he resides to this day. He coached football and baseball for sixteen years in Gardena’s Parks and Recreation League and attended San Diego State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He currently serves on the board of the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute, a non-partisan public policy think tank.
BurkeAutumnAssemblymember Autumn Burke – California State Assemblymember (62nd District), California Legislative Black Caucus, Member. First elected in 2014, Autumn R. Burke represents the 62nd District in the California State Assembly. Her economically and ethnically diverse district is home to some of the world's most successful technology and aerospace companies, several of the region's most popular beaches, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles Air Force Base, and the Forum. A Los Angeles native, Assemblywoman Burke is an entrepreneur and small business owner with a proven record of business development and community outreach. She has worked to help provide pathways to green technology and energy efficiency for neighborhoods and disadvantaged communities. She has taken that same passion for innovation to Sacramento with a focus on policy to expand access to health care, education and living-wage jobs for all. While in Sacramento, she has achieved successes to positively impact the lives of all Californians, including: extending California's Cap & Trade market system which has become a model for the rest of the country and the world to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change while transitioning to a clean energy economy, and convening the bipartisan Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force with the goal of reducing child poverty across the state. Additionally, she was appointed to the Domestic Violence Advisory Council to advance policies that support the safety and security of all domestic violence victims. In 2019, she furthered that success by authoring two economically significant pieces of legislation: the Loophole Closure and Small Business and Working Families Tax Relief Act and The Wayfair Implementation & Small Business Relief Act which cumulatively will bring in an additional $4.2 billion in revenue for the State. A majority of the revenue will go towards increasing aid for the poorest working families in California through the expansion of California's Earned Income Tax Credit and to schools so that they can provide our children with quality resources and education that will enable them to succeed now and in the future. She also authored landmark wildfire legislation in AB 1054 which protects Californians from unexpected electricity costs while also creating a fund to address future wildfire liabilities. The same year, she was acknowledged as a key influencer in the healthcare policy arena, as part of the Sac Bee's ongoing series on critical figures in Sacramento. Burke is the daughter of former Los Angeles County Supervisor, Assemblywoman and U.S. Congresswoman, Yvonne Braithwaite Burke. Autumn Burke's election to the legislature marks the first time in California history that a mother and daughter have both served in the State Assembly. Assemblywoman Burke is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation. She also serves as the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Building a 21st Century Workforce, and a member of the Assembly Committees on Accountability and Administrative Review, Health, Utilities and Energy, Banking and Finance. She has previously served as Vice-Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus and was recently appointed to the State Allocation Board. Assemblywoman Burke represents the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, El Segundo, and Gardena, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice, and Del Rey, and communities of Del Aire, West Athens, Lennox, Westmont, and Marina del Rey.
Burke HarrisDr. NadineDr. Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH, FAAP – California Surgeon General. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is an award-winning physician, researcher and advocate dedicated to changing the way our society responds to one of the most serious, expensive and widespread public health crises of our time: childhood trauma. She was appointed as California’s first-ever Surgeon General by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2019. Dr. Burke Harris’ career has been dedicated to serving vulnerable communities and combating the root causes of health disparities. After completing her residency at Stanford, she founded a clinic in one of San Francisco’s most underserved communities, Bayview Hunters Point. It was there that Burke Harris observed that, despite the implementation of national best-practices for immunizations, asthma, obesity treatment and other preventive health measures, her patients still faced outsized risks for poor health, development and behavioral outcomes. Drawing on research from the CDC and Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Burke Harris identified Adverse Childhood Experiences as a major risk factor affecting the health of her patients. In 2011, she founded the Center for Youth Wellness and subsequently grew the organization to be a national leader in the effort to advance pediatric medicine, raise public awareness, and transform the way society responds to children exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress. She also founded and led the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health, to advance scientific screening and treatment of toxic stress. She currently serves as a government liaison for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Advisory Board for Screening and sat on the board of the Committee on Applying Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Sciences From Prenatal Through Early Childhood Development: A Health Equity Approach for the National Academy of Medicine. Her work has been profiled in best-selling books including “How Children Succeed” by Paul Tough and “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance as well as in Jamie Redford’s feature film, “Resilience”. It has also been featured on NPR, CNN and Fox News as well as in USA Today and the New York Times. Dr. Burke Harris’ TED Talk, “How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across the Lifetime” has been viewed more than 6 million times. Her book “The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity” was called “indispensable” by The New York Times. Dr. Burke Harris is the recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Heinz Award for the Human Condition. She was named one of 2018’s Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times.
CampDr. DarylSuperintendent, San Lorenzo Unified School District and President, California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA). Dr. Daryl F. Camp began serving as the superintendent of the San Lorenzo Unified School District in 2019. Previously, he served for seven years as the superintendent of the Riverbank Unified School District. Prior to 2012, he served as the assistant superintendent of educational services for the Riverbank Unified School District. Under his leadership, student learning in Riverbank USD improved and opportunities for students have expanded. Camp served on the CSBA’s Superintendents’ Advisory Council from 2013 to 2016. In 2015, he served as the president of Region 7 of the Association of California School Administrators. In 2008, he received the Valuing Diversity Award from ACSA and the following year his article Talking about Racism in Our Schools was published in ACSA’s Leadership magazine. Camp teaches the Setting Direction module in CSBA’s Masters in Governance program. He is also a governance consultant with CSBA’s Governance Consulting Services, developing customized board development workshops for governance teams. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College, his master’s degree at California State University, Hayward, and his doctorate degree in educational leadership at California State University, Sacramento. Camp graduated Magna Cum Laude from Morehouse College and was inducted into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa scholar society.
CooperJim Assemblymember Jim Cooper – California State Assembly (9th District); California Legislative Black Caucus, Treasurer. Assemblymember Jim Cooper proudly represents California’s 9th Assembly district, which includes the cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt, and Lodi. Cooper currently serves on several committees, including: Public Employees Retirement and Social Security Committee, Governmental Organization Committee, and Insurance Committee. Cooper also serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration and the Assembly Select Committee on Community Law Enforcement Relations and Responsibilities. Cooper has also served as the Assistant Majority Leader and Assistant Majority Whip under then Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins. Assemblymember Cooper has an extensive background in law enforcement and local government. Before joining the Assembly in 2014, Cooper served as a Captain in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department for 30 years and spent 15 years as Elk Grove’s founding mayor and councilmember. He established solid governing values, balanced the city’s budget, and built a city from the ground up. Cooper has earned numerous awards, including the Bronze Star for Bravery for actions during the 1991 “Good Guys” hostage crisis. He also spent three years working as the Department’s spokesperson and spent nearly a decade working as an undercover narcotics officer and gang detective –investigating illegal activity to fight drug trafficking in Northern California. Community service is a significant part of Assemblymember Cooper’s life. He has served on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home. Cooper grew up in Sacramento and is a graduate of the West Point Leadership Academy and FBI National Academy. He earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Saint Mary’s College.
Darling-HammondDr. LindaLinda Darling-Hammond, President, State Board of Education, is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University and founding president of the Learning Policy Institute, created to provide high-quality research for policies that enable equitable and empowering education for each and every child. At Stanford she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as faculty sponsor for the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which she helped to redesign. Dr. Darling-Hammond is past president of the American Educational Research Association and recipient of its awards for Distinguished Contributions to Research, Lifetime Achievement, Research Review, and Research-to-Policy. She is also a member of the American Association of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Education. From 1994–2001, she was executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, whose 1996 reportWhat Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future was named one of the most influential reports affecting U.S. education in that decade. In 2006, Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation’s ten most influential people affecting educational policy. Darling-Hammond began her career as a public school teacher and co-founded both a preschool and a public high school. She served as Director of the RAND Corporation’s education program and as an endowed professor at Columbia University, Teachers College before coming to Stanford. She has consulted widely with federal, state and local officials and educators on strategies for improving education policies and practices and is the recipient of 14 honorary degrees in the U.S. and internationally. Among her more than 600 publications are a number of award-winning books, includingThe Right to Learn, Teaching as the Learning Profession, Preparing Teachers for a Changing World and The Flat World and Education.She received an Ed.D. from Temple University (with highest distinction) and a B.A. from Yale University (magna cum laude).
DrakeDr. Michael V.Dr. Michael V. Drake, MD – University of California, President. In August 2020, Michael V. Drake, M.D. became the 21st president of UC’s world-renowned system of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three nationally affiliated labs, more than 280,000 students and 230,000 faculty and staff. Dr. Drake previously served as president of The Ohio State University (OSU) from 2014 through June 2020. Prior to his six years at OSU, his entire academic career has been at UC, including as chancellor of UC Irvine for nine years from 2005 to 2014 and as the systemwide vice president for health affairs from 2000 to 2005. Drake received his A.B. from Stanford University and his residency, M.D., and fellowship in ophthalmology from UCSF. He subsequently spent more than two decades on the faculty of the UCSF School of Medicine, including as the Steven P. Shearing Professor of Ophthalmology. Under his leadership, Drake greatly enhanced UC Irvine’s reputation as a premier university. UC Irvine rose to join the top 10 public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s annual list and was ranked by Times Higher Education as the No. 1 university in the U.S. under 50 years old. During his tenure at the campus, the four-year graduation rate increased by more than 18 percent, while undergraduate enrollment and diversity significantly increased. In addition, Drake oversaw the establishment of new schools of law and education as well as programs in public health, nursing and pharmacy. Drake has published numerous articles and co-authored six books. He served as a reviewer for several medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science and the American Journal of Ophthalmology. Drake is a member of several national scientific and scholarly societies, and has received various awards for teaching, public service, mentoring and research. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the UCSF School of Medicine’s Clinical Teaching Award, the Hogan Award for Laboratory Research, the Chancellor’s Award for Public Service, the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for University Service, the UC Irvine Medal, and the University of California Presidential Medal in recognition of his exemplary service to the University. Drake’s extensive public service experience includes various roles for the American Medical Association, the National Eye Institute, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and multiple commissions on health in the state of California. He is a former chair of the board of directors of the Association of American Universities and currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. He is also the chair of the board of governors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, a member of the American Talent Initiative Steering Committee, and a member of the board of directors of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
GipsonMikeAssemblymember Mike Gipson – California State Assembly (64th District), California Legislative Black Caucus, Member. Born and raised in Watts, Asm. Mike A. Gipson always knew that he wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of those he encountered throughout his community and beyond. His undeniable passion for public service propelled him to serve as councilmember for the City of Carson for nearly a decade before transitioning to the California State Assembly. On November 4, 2014, Asm. Gipson was elected by an overwhelming margin to represent California’s 64th Assembly District that includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor Gateway, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, South Los Angeles, Torrance, Watts/Willow brook and Wilmington.
Asm. Gipson currently serves as Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair, responsible for driving the legislative decision making process for the majority caucus, address statewide issues, and hold weekly meetings to discuss and set the caucus’ priorities. Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon appointed Asm. Gipson to this leadership position in 2016 and re-appointed him in 2017, 2018, 2019 and now 2020. Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Gipson has championed many budget priorities since taking office, including establishing the first state earned income tax credit for working families; the repealing of the maximum family grant that lifted 135,000 children out of poverty; and approving a path to $15/hour in California. He also passed comprehensive transportation legislation; spearheaded a historic cap and trade package; combating homelessness and serving as lead assemblymember on curbing gun violence. Mr. Gipson has authored bills to regulate ‘ghost guns,’ streamline the process for foster youth to receive benefits, protect Sativa Water District customers from receiving discolored water, and currently the author to ban the carotid restraint by law enforcement in California.
Assemblymember Mike Gipson has supported co-authored and supported legislation on criminal justice reform, our brothers and sisters of labor, the environment, affordable housing, and expanded healthcare. Asm. Gipson currently lives in Carson where he is a devoted husband to his wife Le Cresha. They have two sons, Devon and Jordan along with their two grandchildren Faafetai Ole Alofa and Cataleya Acevedo Gipson. Their third son, D’Ance passed away at 3 years old as a victim of a hit-and-run motorist.
HarrisKamalaKamala D. Harris is the Vice President of the United States of America. She was elected Vice President after a lifetime of public service, having been elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator. Vice President Harris was born in Oakland, California to parents who emigrated from India and Jamaica. She graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Vice President Harris and her sister, Maya Harris, were primarily raised and inspired by their mother, Shyamala Gopalan. Gopalan, a breast cancer scientist and pioneer in her own right, received her doctorate the same year Vice President Harris was born. Her parents were activists, instilling Vice President Harris with a strong sense of justice. They brought her to civil rights demonstrations and introduced role models—ranging from Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to civil rights leader Constance Baker Motley—whose work motivated her to become a prosecutor. Growing up, Vice President Harris was surrounded by a diverse community and extended family. In 2014, she married Doug Emhoff. They have a large blended family that includes their children, Ella and Cole. Throughout her career, the Vice President has been guided by the words she spoke the first time she stood up in court: Kamala Harris, for the people. In 1990, Vice President Harris joined the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases. She then served as a managing attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later was chief of the Division on Children and Families for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. She was elected District Attorney of San Francisco in 2003. In that role, Vice President Harris created a ground-breaking program to provide first-time drug offenders with the opportunity to earn a high school degree and find employment. The program was designated as a national model of innovation for law enforcement by the United States Department of Justice. In 2010, Vice President Harris was elected California’s Attorney General and oversaw the largest state justice department in the United States. She established the state’s first Bureau of Children’s Justice and instituted several first-of-their-kind reforms that ensured greater transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system. As Attorney General, Vice President Harris won a $20 billion settlement for Californians whose homes had been foreclosed on, as well as a $1.1 billion settlement for students and veterans who were taken advantage of by a for-profit education company. She defended the Affordable Care Act in court, enforced environmental law, and was a national leader in the movement for marriage equality. In 2017, Vice President Harris was sworn into the United States Senate. In her first speech, she spoke out on behalf of immigrants and refugees who were then under attack. As a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, she fought for better protections for DREAMers and called for better oversight of substandard conditions at immigrant detention facilities. On the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, she worked with members of both parties to keep the American people safe from foreign threats and crafted bipartisan legislation to assist in securing American elections. She visited Iraq, Jordan, and Afghanistan to meet with servicemembers and assess the situation on the ground. She also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee. During her tenure on the committee, she participated in hearings for two Supreme Court nominees. As Senator, Vice President Harris championed legislation to reform cash bail, combat hunger, provide rent relief, improve maternal health care, and address the climate crisis as a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Her bipartisan anti-lynching bill passed the Senate in 2018. Her legislation to preserve Historically Black Colleges and Universities was signed into law, as was her effort to infuse much-needed capital into low-income communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 11, 2020, Vice President Harris accepted President Joe Biden’s invitation to become his running mate and help unite the nation. She is the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President, as was the case with other offices she has held. She is, however, determined not to be the last.
HoldenChristopherAssemblymember Christopher Holden – California State Assembly (41st District); California Legislative Black Caucus, Member. Assemblymember Chris Holden brings to the legislature a lifetime of experience in public service and business garnered during his many years on the Pasadena City Council and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. He was first elected to the California State Assembly in 2012, and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2014, 2016, and 2018 from a district that stretches from Pasadena in the West to Upland in the East and includes the communities of Altadena, Claremont, La Verne, Monrovia, Rancho Cucamonga, San Dimas, Sierra Madre, and South Pasadena. While in office Holden has authored legislation to save developmental disability services, protect public health, and preserve civil rights. He supports legislation that grows our economy, protects our environments, strengthens our infrastructure and supports working families. On developmental disabilities, Holden successfully lead efforts to keep developmentally disability service providers open and funded at appropriate levels. He fought to increase reimbursement rates for developmental disability service providers in cities that had minimum wage laws that outpaced the State’s. Now with a $25 million dollar increase in the budget, that would be matched with federal funds, there is $50 million dollars for bridge funding to retain vital services for individuals and families living with disabilities including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities. On children’s health, Holden passed legislation that expands lead testing in drinking water within California’s childcare centers. The legislation also requires child care providers to receive instruction on the risks of and how to prevent lead exposure, and requires them to give parents written information about childhood blood lead testing requirements.
On civil rights, Holden passed a bill that requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to include information in the California Driver’s Handbook regarding a person’s civil rights during a traffic stop. After the wildfires in 2017, Holden served as co-chair of the Wildfire Preparedness and Response Legislative Conference Committee with his colleague, Senator Bill Dodd. The Committee passed legislation to provide comprehensive safety solutions to make the electricity system safer and protect ratepayers. The legislation also protects wildfire victims’ rights in civil actions and bans the use of ratepayer funds for executive compensation or perks. As Chair of Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy, Holden will continue to seek solutions to California’s wildfire crisis. Locally, Holden established himself as a leader in strengthening the economic vitality of the San Gabriel Valley by organizing a transportation roundtable with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Mayors of 11 other cities to discuss the transportation priorities for the area, including the future of the Metro Gold Line extension. For the past four years, as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Regional Transportation Solutions, Holden held hearings to discuss timely transportation issues for the region and the State. The hearings, attended by hundreds, included local and state government officials and transportation experts that discussed issues regarding funding solutions, active transportation and managing regional growth. Holden currently chairs the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy. Additional committee assignments include Business & Professions, Communications and Conveyance, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, and Judiciary. He is Chair of the Select Committee on Regional Transportation and Interconnectivity Solutions and sits on the Advisory Committee of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. He also serves on the Select Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education and is an Alliance member of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys & Men of Color. From 2016 to 2018, he was Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Holden served 24 years as a Pasadena City Councilmember and Mayor. He was the youngest City Councilmember at age 28 and only the second African American to serve as Mayor. Throughout his years of public service, Holden has been a champion in creating jobs, preserving vital services, strengthening the economic vitality of the San Gabriel Valley and expanding the light rail. While on the City Council, Holden served as a Commissioner and President of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority and on the Pasadena Light Rail Alignment Task Force. Holden owns CHMB Consulting, a real estate firm and is a former owner of a Subway franchise. He is a lifelong resident of the district and graduate of San Diego State University. He lives in Pasadena with his wife, Melanie, and children Nicholas, Alexander, Austin, Mariah and Noah. Holden is the son of former State Senator and LA City Councilman Nate Holden.
Jones-Sawyer, SrReginald ByronAssemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr – California State Assembly (59th District); California Legislative Black Caucus, Member. Serving as the voice of the people of California's 59th District in the State Assembly, Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. was elected to the State Legislature in November 2012 and re-elected in 2014 and 2016. The district he represents encompasses a wide-range of diverse, culturally rich and dynamic communities. It lies entirely within Los Angeles County and includes the neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, Florence-Firestone, Walnut Park, and a portion of Huntington Park. As the people's voice for the 59th District in the State Capitol, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer has worked hard to put local neighborhoods first and to deliver results for his constituents. He's played a key role in California's economic recovery, helped invest more in local neighborhood schools while making higher education more affordable and accessible, advanced job creation policies, pushed for protections for immigrants - like driver's licenses for individuals who pass all required exams and tests as well as healthcare for immigrant children- advocated for smart environmental protections that promote clean energy and green jobs, supported more safeguards for working families and their rights, and he's spearheaded forward-thinking policies that both promote public safety but also enhance justice in our criminal justice system to make it more fair and transparent for all communities. Significantly, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer has authored or co-authored legislation that has directly benefited all residents in the 59th District and the state overall. Legislation such as: AB 672 that provides re-entry assistance - like housing and job training - for persons that have been wrongfully convicted and consequently released from state prison; AB 266 that provides proper regulatory oversight of the cultivation, manufacture, transportation, storage distribution and sale of medical marijuana; and AB 1012 that prohibits school districts from assigning any student to a course period without educational content, a.k.a., Fake Classes bills. In the Legislature, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer is the Chair of the Public Safety Committee and serves on the following standing committees: Governmental Organization, Agriculture, Budget, labor and Employment. He is Chair of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color and sits on the Budget Subcommittee #5 Public Safety. He also sits on the following Select Committees: 2028 Olympic & Paralympic Games, Community & Law Enforcement Relations and Responsibilities, Diabetes & Heart Disease Prevention, Census and Hate Crimes. The father of two sons and a grandson, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer holds his responsibility as Chair of the Status of Boys and Men of Color dear to his heart. Consequently, he has held Legislative Hearings, community forums and consulted with experts to guide him in writing laws, implementing programs, and forming alliances to address the hurdles faced by this population. Most recently, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer secured $37.3 million in the 2018-2019 California State Budget to establish the Youth Reinvestment Fund. A fund that will help improve the outcomes of vulnerable youth populations by using trauma informed community and health-based interventions in lieu of arrest, detention and incarceration. Over $1 million of the Youth Reinvestment Fund will be allocated to Native American Tribes for youth diversion programs. Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer recognized the devastation the School-to-Prison-Pipeline posed for underserved communities like those in his district, which has high incarceration rates for African Americans and Latinos in particular. That is why as Chair of the Public Safety subcommittee, he led the way to secure nearly $100 million for recidivism reduction grants. For the first time since the great recession, millions of dollars in grants were made available to service providers to help turn-around the lives of the formally incarcerated so that they could become productive residents in their communities. His subcommittee also has the enormous responsibility of overseeing the entire budget for the state’s court system. Partnering with the Chief Justice and working with judges throughout the state, he helped to restored over $300 million to the court system after a decade of devastating budget cuts. Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer is the former Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, which had a historical number of twelve members under his tenure. Under his leadership, the caucus had expanded its annual programs, increased the number of college scholarships and improved state funding for programs and institutions like the California African American Museum (CAAM) and the Mervyn Dymally Political Institute at California State University Dominguez Hills. Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer’s history of public service includes serving as Director of Asset Management for the City of Los Angeles, Assistant Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, Chair of the Los Angeles County Small Business Commission, Vice President of SEIU's (Local 721) Los Angeles Professional Managers Association, and statewide Secretary of the California Democratic Party. While working for the City of Los Angeles, Jones-Sawyer transformed the city's complicated and complex permit development bureaucratic system into a more "customer-friendly" agency that expedited the processing of many huge developments, including the building of the Magic Johnson Theater (now the Rave in Baldwin Hills) and the Staples Center Arena. The Jones-Sawyer family members were early pioneers in the civil rights movement. His uncle, Jefferson Thomas, was one of the "Little Rock Nine" high school students. These brave students faced violent mobs in their fight to integrate an all-white high school in 1957; one of the most important and documented civil rights events in our nation's history. Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and has been an active member of the Alumni Association and past President of the Black Alumni Association; he also completed the prestigious Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer also served as Chair of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, past President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration, as State Secretary for the California Democratic Party, and President of New Frontier Democratic Club. He is the father of three children: Lauren, Reginald Jr. and Evan.
KamlagerSydneyAssemblymember Sydney Kamlager – California State Assemblymember (54th District); California Legislative Black Caucus, Vice-Chair. Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) represents the 54th Assembly District, encompassing Baldwin Hills, the Crenshaw community, all of Culver City, Ladera Heights, Leimert Park, Mar Vista, Mid-City Los Angeles, Palms, Pico-Union, Westwood and Windsor Hills. In 2020, Kamlager passed AB 1950, the most transformative probation reform legislation in the country. The bill set maximum terms of two years for felony offenses and one year for misdemeanor offenses. Prior law authorized courts to enforce misdemeanor probation terms for a maximum of three years. Felony probation may have been enforced for as long as the maximum possible prison sentence for the offense. Reforms created by the legislation will save millions in taxpayer dollars and help many thousands of Californians exit the criminal justice system and stay out of the system. In 2019, Kamlager guided six of her eight bills into law. As Chair of the Select Committee on Incarcerated Women, Kamlager is focused on reviewing and reforming policies to support the health, dignity and rehabilitation of women in prison. She also sits on the Assembly Public Safety Committee and Speaker Rendon's Select Committee on Police Reform. She also serves on Governor Newsom's Penal Code Revision Committee, which studies and recommends ways to simplify and rationalize the substance and procedure of criminal law in California. Kamlager also is committed to advocating for environmental justice, funding for the arts and equity in our education system. Born and raised in Chicago, Kamlager moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science and joined Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She earned her Master’s degree in arts management and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Kamlager lives in View Park with her husband, Austin Dove, her two step-children, their dog, Kush and cat Kisi Whitepaws.
LeeBarbaraCongresswoman Barbara Lee was born in segregated El Paso, TX and attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School, where she was taught by the Sisters of Loretto, an order dedicated to promoting justice and peace. Her father was a veteran of two wars and her mother broke many glass ceilings and racial barriers. After grammar school, Congresswoman Lee moved to San Fernando, California and worked with the local NAACP to integrate her high school cheerleading squad. As a single mother raising two sons, Congresswoman Lee attended Mills College and received public assistance while building a better life for her family. As president of Mills College’s Black Student Union, she invited Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, to speak on campus. As a result of this meeting, Congresswoman Lee registered to vote for the first time and worked on Congresswoman Chisholm’s historic presidential campaign, including serving as her delegate at the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami, FL. - Community Advocate & Small Business Owner - Congresswoman Lee received her Masters of Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in psychiatric social work. During her graduate work, Congresswoman Lee founded the Community Health Alliance for Neighborhood Growth and Education (CHANGE, Inc.) which provided mental health services to many of the East Bay’s most vulnerable individuals. In 1975, Congresswoman Lee joined the staff of Congressman Ron Dellums, where she eventually rose from an intern to chief of staff. During the eleven years she worked for Congressman Dellums, Congresswoman Lee was one of only a few women and persons of color to hold a senior position on Capitol Hill. - California Legislator- After leaving Congressman Dellums’ office in 1987, Congresswoman Lee founded a facilities management company that grew to employ over 500 people. As a small business owner in the East Bay, Congresswoman Lee worked with people from all walks of life. In 1990, Congresswoman Lee was elected to the California State Assembly, where she served until 1996 when she was elected to the State Senate. As a California legislator, Congresswoman Lee authored 67 bills and resolutions that were signed into law by Republican Governor Pete Wilson. This legislation addressed a wide spectrum of issues, including public safety, education, healthcare, and environmental protections. In the legislature, Congresswoman Lee was an early champion of LGBT issues and authored the 1995 California Schools Hate Crimes Reduction Act. As the first African American woman elected to the State Senate from Northern California, Congresswoman Lee created and presided over the California Commission on the Status of African American Males and the California Legislative Black Caucus, while working to defeat the punitive “three strikes law.” Congresswoman Lee also served as a strong advocate for women in the legislature, where she authored and passed the first California Violence Against Women Act and served as a member of the California Commission on the Status of Women. - Congressional Representative - In 1998, Congresswoman Barbara Lee was elected to serve California’s 9th congressional district (now the 13th) in a special election. In 2001, Congresswoman Lee received national attention as the only Member of Congress to oppose the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in the wake of the horrific events on September 11th. The Congresswoman believed this AUMF would become a blank check for endless war. As of 2013, this authorization had been used more than 30 times to engage in military action without Congressional oversight. Congresswoman Lee is working to repeal this blank check and restore Congress’s constitutional oversight to matters of war and peace. She was also an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War. Congresswoman Lee has long advocated for legislative action to end poverty. In 2007, she worked with a diverse coalition of Members to create the Out of Poverty Caucus. In 2013, she became chair of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As chair, she leads more than 100 Members of Congress in crafting and advancing legislation to lift millions of American families out of poverty and into the middle class. Since her time in the California legislature, Congresswoman Lee has been a fierce advocate for ending HIV and ensuring an AIDS-free generation. Since entering Congress, she has authored or co-authored every major piece of HIV/AIDS legislation including the legislative frameworks for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Congresswoman Lee’s legislation establishing a USAID special advisor for orphans and vulnerable children was enacted into law in 2009. In 2011, Congresswoman Lee formed the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, which she co-chairs. Currently, Congresswoman Lee serves on the Budget Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal government spending. She serves on three subcommittees (Vice Chair, State and Foreign Operations; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration) of the Appropriations Committee. Congresswoman Lee is the only African American woman in Democratic Leadership, serving as Co-Chair of the Policy and Steering Committee. As Co-Chair, Rep. Lee works to ensure that committees reflect the diversity, dynamism, and integrity of the Democratic Caucus. She also works to advance the policies that comprise the Democratic “For the People” agenda. In addition, she currently serves as the Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, and Co-Chair of the Cannabis Caucus. She is the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (111th Congress) and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (109th & 110th Congresses).
McCartyKevinAssemblymember Kevin McCarty – California State Assembly (7th District); California Legislative Black Caucus, Secretary. Kevin McCarty was elected to the California State Assembly in 2014 to represent the 7th Assembly District, which includes Sacramento, West Sacramento and parts of unincorporated Sacramento County. McCarty serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, which oversees the largest component of California’s multi-billion dollar budget. As Chair, McCarty made historic investments in public education including expanding access to preschool for low and middle income families, providing greater career technical education programs, and increasing student enrollment at our public colleges and universities. Other legislative priorities for Assemblymember McCarty include addressing housing affordability, fighting climate change, championing criminal justice reform, curbing gun violence, tackling the opioid crisis and advocating for the middle class. McCarty began his public service career as a Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Commissioner and served on the Sacramento City Council from 2004 to 2014. As a Councilmember, he created innovative youth programs and wrote common-sense gun laws, tackled sub-standard rental housing, and crafted clean air policies. He created Sacramento’s Little Saigon district, the City’s Whistleblower Hotline program, and the Independent Auditor department. A lifelong Sacramentan, McCarty went to local public schools, attended American River College, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from CSU Long Beach and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from CSU Sacramento. McCarty and his wife live in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Sacramento with their twin daughters.
MonroeL.K.Alameda County Superintendent of Schools and President, California County Superintendents Educational Service Association (CCSESA) L. Karen Monroe understands the power of education to change and even save lives. She has dedicated herself to ensuring that students and families are seen, valued, and have access to vital educational opportunities and supports. The power of learning has been a constant in her life. She proudly stands on the shoulders of four generations who have called the Bay Area home. Her mother and grandmother were teachers in this community before her and she is deeply committed to promoting the highest quality education for every student. In her youth, Karen had the great privilege of serving as legislative Intern to The Honorable Shirley Chisholm during her last congressional term. She will tell you that “working with your role model is a life-changing experience – especially one who so boldly interrupted the expectations of the past to redefine what is possible”. This opportunity truly ignited her passion for educational advocacy.
ThurmondTonyTony Thurmond was sworn in as the 28th California State Superintendent of Public Instruction on January 7, 2019. Superintendent Thurmond is an educator, social worker, and public school parent, who has served the people of California for more than ten years in elected office. Previously, Superintendent Thurmond served on the Richmond City Council, West Contra Costa Unified School Board, and in the California State Assembly, representing District 15. Like many of California’s public school students, Superintendent Thurmond came from humble beginnings. His mother was an immigrant from Panama who came to San Jose, California, to be a teacher. His father was a soldier who didn’t return to his family after the Vietnam War. Superintendent Thurmond met him for the first time when he was an adult. After Superintendent Thurmond’s mother died when he was 6, he and his brother were raised by a cousin who they had never met. Superintendent Thurmond served on the Richmond City Council from 2005-2008. While on the council he served as Liaison to Richmond’s Youth Commission and Workforce Investment Board and the Council Liaison to the West Contra Costa Unified School District. He was chair of Richmond's 2005 Summer Youth Program which employed 200 local teens. Superintendent Thurmond served from 2008-2012 on the West Contra Costa School Board, where he coordinated a plan to keep schools open during the 2008 recession. Education is at the core of Superintendent Thurmond’s legislative record. He authored legislation that successfully expanded the free lunch program, bilingual education, and the Chafee Grant college scholarship program for foster youth. Additionally, Superintendent Thurmond’s legislation guaranteed preferential voting rights for student school board members, improved access to families for early education and childcare, and shifted millions of dollars directly from prisons to schools. Superintendent Thurmond introduced legislation to expand STEM education, improve school conditions for LGBTQ youth, and tax private prisons to fund early education and after school programs.
WatersMaxineCongresswoman Maxine Waters is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor. Elected in November 2018 to her fifteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives with more than 70 percent of the vote in the 43rd Congressional District of California, Congresswoman Waters represents a large part of South Los Angeles including the communities of Westchester, Playa Del Rey, and Watts and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County comprised of Lennox, West Athens, West Carson, Harbor Gateway and El Camino Village. The 43rd District also includes the diverse cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita and Torrance. Congresswoman Waters made history as the first woman and first African American Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. An integral member of Congressional Democratic Leadership, Congresswoman Waters serves as a member of the Steering & Policy Committee and is the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. She is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and member and past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
- Legislative Leadership - Throughout her more than 40 years of public service, Maxine Waters has been on the cutting edge, tackling difficult and often controversial issues. She has combined her strong legislative and public policy acumen and high visibility in Democratic Party activities with an unusual ability to do grassroots organizing. Prior to her election to the House of Representatives in 1990, Congresswoman Waters had already attracted national attention for her no-nonsense, no-holds-barred style of politics. During 14 years in the California State Assembly, she rose to the powerful position of Democratic Caucus Chair. She was responsible for some of the boldest legislation California has ever seen: the largest divestment of state pension funds from South Africa; landmark affirmative action legislation; the nation’s first statewide Child Abuse Prevention Training Program; the prohibition of police strip searches for nonviolent misdemeanors; and the introduction of the nation’s first plant closure law. As a national Democratic Party leader, Congresswoman Waters has long been highly visible in Democratic Party politics and has served on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) since 1980. She was a key leader in five presidential campaigns: Sen. Edward Kennedy (1980), Rev. Jesse Jackson (1984 & 1988), and President Bill Clinton (1992 & 1996). In 2001, she was instrumental in the DNC’s creation of the National Development and Voting Rights Institute and the appointment of Mayor Maynard Jackson as its chair. Following the Los Angeles civil unrest in 1992, Congresswoman Waters faced the nation’s media and public to interpret the hopelessness and despair in cities across America. Over the years, she has brought many government officials and policy makers to her South Central L.A. district to appeal for more resources. They included President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Secretaries of Housing & Urban Development Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo, and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve System. Following the unrest, she founded Community Build, the city’s grassroots rebuilding project. She has used her skill to shape public policy and deliver the goods: $10 billion in Section 108 loan guarantees to cities for economic and infrastructure development, housing and small business expansion; $50 million appropriation for “Youth Fair Chance” program which established an intensive job and life skills training program for unskilled, unemployed youth; expanded U.S. debt relief for Africa and other developing nations; creating a “Center for Women Veterans,” among others. Rep. Waters continues to be an active leader in a broad coalition of residential communities, environmental activists and elected officials that aggressively advocate for the mitigation of harmful impacts of the expansion plan for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Furthermore, she continues initiatives to preserve the unique environmental qualities of the Ballona wetlands and bluffs, treasures of her district. She is a co-founder of Black Women’s Forum, a nonprofit organization of over 1,200 African American women in the Los Angeles area. In the mid-80s, she also founded Project Build, working with young people in Los Angeles housing developments on job training and placement.
As she confronts the issues such as poverty, economic development, equal justice under the law and other issues of concern to people of color, women, children, and poor people, Rep. Waters enjoys a broad cross section of support from diverse communities across the nation. Throughout her career, Congresswoman Waters has been an advocate for international peace, justice, and human rights. Before her election to Congress, she was a leader in the movement to end Apartheid and establish democracy in South Africa. She opposed the 2004 Haitian coup d’etat, which overthrew the democratically-elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, and defends the rights of political prisoners in Haiti’s prisons. She leads congressional efforts to cancel the debts that poor countries in Africa and Latin America owe to wealthy institutions like the World Bank and free poor countries from the burden of international debts.
Congresswoman Waters is the founding member and former Chair of the ‘Out of Iraq’ Congressional Caucus. Formed in June 2005, the ‘Out of Iraq’ Congressional Caucus was established to bring to the Congress an on-going debate about the war in Iraq and the Administration’s justifications for the decision to go to war, to urge the return of US service members to their families as soon as possible. Expanding access to health care services is another of Congresswoman Waters’ priorities. She spearheaded the development of the Minority AIDS Initiative in 1998 to address the alarming spread of HIV/AIDS among African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities. Under her continuing leadership, funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative has increased from the initial appropriation of $156 million in fiscal year 1999 to approximately $400 million per year today. She is also the author of legislation to expand health services for patients with diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Congresswoman Waters has led congressional efforts to mitigate foreclosures and keep American families in their homes during the housing and economic crises, notably through her role as Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity in the previous two Congresses. She authored the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which provides grants to states, local governments and nonprofits to fight foreclosures, home abandonment and blight and to restore neighborhoods. Through two infusions of funds, the Congresswoman was able to secure $6 billion for the program. She is lauded by African American entrepreneurs for her work to expand contracting and procurement opportunities and to strengthen businesses. Long active in the women’s movement, Rep. Waters has given encouragement and financial support to women seeking public office. Many young people, including those in the hip-hop music community, praise her for her support and understanding of young people and their efforts at self-expression. One testament to her work is the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center, a multimillion dollar campus providing education and employment opportunities to residents of the Watts area. - Personal Background -
Maxine Waters was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the fifth of 13 children reared by a single mother. She began working at age 13 in factories and segregated restaurants. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked in garment factories and at the telephone company. She attended California State University at Los Angeles, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She began her career in public service as a teacher and a volunteer coordinator in the Head Start program. She is married to Sidney Williams, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. She is the mother of two adult children, Edward and Karen, and has two grandchildren.
WeberDr. ShirleyDr. Shirley Weber, PHD – California Secretary of State. Shirley Nash Weber, Ph.D. was nominated to serve as California Secretary of State by Governor Gavin Newsom on December 22, 2020 and sworn into office on January 29, 2021. She is California’s first Black Secretary of State and only the fifth African American to serve as a state constitutional officer in California’s 170-year history. Weber was born to sharecroppers in Hope, Arkansas during the segregationist Jim Crow era. Her father, who left Arkansas after being threatened by a lynch mob, did not have the opportunity to vote until he was in his 30s. Her grandfather never voted as custom and law in the South, before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, systemically suppressed voting by Blacks. Although her family moved to California when Weber was three years old, it was her family’s experience in the Jim Crow South that has driven her activism and legislative work. She has fought to secure and expand civil rights for all Californians, including restoring voting rights for individuals who have completed their prison term. Weber attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she received her BA, MA and PhD by the age of 26. Prior to receiving her doctorate, she became a professor at San Diego State University (SDSU) at the age of 23. She also taught at California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA) and Los Angeles City College before coming to SDSU. She retired from the Department of Africana Studies after 40 years as a faculty member and serving several terms as department chair. Before her appointment, Secretary Weber served four terms as an Assembly Member representing California's 79th Assembly District, which includes parts of the City of San Diego as well as several cities and communities in the San Diego region. Weber also served as a member and chair of the San Diego Unified School District and has twice served as a California Elector, including chairing the California College of Presidential Electors on December 14, 2020. During her tenure in the Assembly, Weber chaired the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee, Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety, and Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health. Weber was the first African American to serve as the chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. She also served as a member of the Standing Committees on Education, Higher Education, Elections, Budget, Banking and Finance. In addition, Weber chaired the Select Committee on Campus Climate, which was created to examine and mitigate hate crimes on California’s college and university campuses. The committee also explored student hunger, sexual assaults, homelessness, and freedom of expression. She formerly created and chaired the Select Committee on Higher Education in San Diego County, which explored the need for an additional higher education facility in San Diego and ways to improve the quality, affordability and equal access of higher education in the region. From 2019 - 2020, she served as chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC), which consists of the state’s African American legislators and has the goal of promoting equal opportunity for California’s African American community. Weber broke records during her tenure by garnering extraordinary support for CLBC’s efforts and its projects.
Weber’s genuine passion and tireless quest for equality and fairness in all sectors of life have resulted in her pursuit of reforms in education and criminal justice. Her equity-oriented legislation includes: school finance and accountability, classroom safety, ethnic studies, early learners, attendance and dropout rates, quality instruction, law enforcements’ use-of-force and body camera practices, reparations, the CalGangs’ database, Affirmative Action, inclusive jury selection and instruction, predatory lending, resources for exonerees, restorative justice, racial profiling, among others. Weber has also pursued public policy changes related to health, senior citizens, veterans and military families. Secretary Weber is a mother of two adult children, three grandchildren and was married for 29 years to the late Honorable Daniel Weber. She is number six in a family of eight children. Her Parents, David and Mildred Nash, are deceased. Her hobbies are reading and traveling.
Williams Dr. Ron Superintendent, Victor Valley Union High School District and President, Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). VVUHSD Superintendent Dr. Ron Williams has devoted more than 35 years of his life to education, including the last 25 as an administrator. Raised in Wisconsin, Dr. Williams attended Arkansas Tech University before coming to California in the 1980's. He later received a doctorate in education from La Sierra University, teaching English and math before becoming an administrator in 1991. He served as a principal and assistant superintendent in districts across the state and worked for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools before joining VVUHSD in 2012. He was hired as the district’s Superintendent in 2014. “In our district, we are guided by our commitment to provide educators a comprehensive set of tools to give every student the opportunity and hope that only comes with a quality education focused on results and creating value for student success,” Dr. Williams said. “We carry out this commitment in partnership with staff, parents/guardians and other organizations that provide educational programs and services. Students, parents, educators, elected officials, business and community leaders, and the general public are all stakeholders in our work to improve our students, schools, and district achievement.”