Growing up, I remember hearing tales of my grandfather Leo’s fight to maintain ownership of the land that had been in our family for generations. In my hometown in North Carolina, he was the first Black man to own property in the city limits. He often faced overt acts of racism and aggression while working to provide and build a future for 13 children, including my mother. It wasn’t until I came of age that I really understood what my grandfather’s legacy meant for my family and community.

Today, I understand my grandfather’s legacy as a part of a lineage of long-term sacrifice and resistance in the struggle to pave the way for more prosperous and fortified Black futures. I recognize leaders on our CRC board who are a part of that very same lineage.

Clarence Williams, a member of our board for more than 20 years, has used his position to advocate for the community, both partnering with and holding banks accountable. Williams was a leader in advocating for the creation of Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires financial institutions to collect and report data on lending to women-owned and minority-owned small businesses.

The newest chair of our board, Sharon Kinlaw, has also served on our board for more than 20 years. Kinlaw has long advocated for structural vs. transactional change, and holds CRC accountable to that vision both internally and externally. She sued the City of LA, alleging that its housing program was inaccessible to people with disabilities. This lawsuit was a testament to her fearlessness, and as a result, Kinlaw was honored for this work by CRC in 2019.

Our newest vice chair, Gloria Bruce, is a fierce advocate and keeps CRC grounded in the critical need for affordable housing. She gave a declaration in support of defending the Community Reinvestment Act in our case against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and is willing to take a stand for what is right in some of the most critical moments.

Nikki Beasley, another strong advocate and member of our board, was instrumental in developing and advocating for the anti-displacement code of conduct. Her leadership on our housing committee and willingness to push the envelope in critical moments has been an integral part of shaping CRC’s future.

And finally, another member of our board, Chancela Al-Mansour, was a leader on the OneWest HUD redlining complaint that resulted in a settlement promoting homeowners and reinvestment in greater LA area neighborhoods of color. This included over $100 million in loans plus subsidies and philanthropy.

The struggle for equity and justice for Black lives is a long-term fight. We honor members of our community who are committed to doing the time-tested work of paving the way for Black futures every single day.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.