The Impact of African Americans in California

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas provides introductory remarks at the Anniversary of CalPRI. Photo by Leroy Hamilton

Remarks by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the One-year Anniversary of the CA Policy & Research Initiative (CalPRI)

Participants at the CalPRI. Photo by Leroy Hamilton

“It’s a privilege to be here with you all today to recognize and appreciate the impact of African Americans in the state of California. As with the country at-large, one cannot truly understand this state without understanding the impact and contributions that African Americans have made.

“From Pio Pico, in 1832, California’s last governor under Mexican rule, who was of mixed Spanish, Native American, and African ancestry… To the “Tall Man,” Mayor Tom Bradley, who is missed and significantly and appreciably improved the City of Los Angeles. As the years have shown us – and what was once said during the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – “the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy” are not inevitable.

Shakari Byerly, Principal Researcher at EVITARUS, shares data. Photo by Martin Zamora / Board of Supervisors

“It takes doing the work. And that work is constant and persistent advocacy. This is the mighty tool we have for advancing the cause of justice under law; for ensuring both fairness and rigor in all of our civic activities; and for securing the basic promise of equality that was codified in our founding documents.

“I am proud of CalPRI for carrying this mantle on behalf of our community and serving as the catalyst to translate ideas and policy into action. For providing the academic rigor and mobilizing expertise to influence the policy-making process. For pushing for innovative change and building networks throughout the state to support creative, pragmatic and actionable policy solutions on tangible issues for our community. Your work is impressive. It is appreciated. And I look forward to what this coming year brings.”

California Policy & Research Initiative booklet. Photo by Leroy Hamilton