At hundreds of colleges across the country, Black Faculty & Staff Associations (BFSAs) are strong and respected employee advocacy and resource organizations. Born out of pain and struggle, these groups have been responsive to discriminatory barriers in the workplace for decades.
Specifically, our branch, the Los Angeles Community College District Black Faculty & Staff Association (LACCD Black Faculty & Staff Association or LACCD BFSA) was established 50 years ago. During its evolution, local campus chapters were established and have been nurtured and maintained by members. Well versed in contract negotiations and conflict resolution, many of the founding members have been very active in the union as well as their campus communities.
During its tenure, the BFSA has established mutually respectful and strong bridges with many individuals and entities throughout the history of the organization. Our name and brand, shared by thousands of colleges and universities across the country, brings with it, our core values and is a reflection of a strong heritage, established by our predecessors and living legends, such as City College’s Mary Crockett, Henry Ealy, and Mattie Moon. Independent, nonpartisan and funded by dues-paying members, BFSA is one of LACCD’s oldest and most respected organizations.
The mission of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) is to be a visible and viable agency dedicated to supporting employment equity and professional excellence, leadership, and development of African-American employees of the District by:
- Advocating for fair hiring, promotion, and retention practices
- Encouraging professional excellence and growth through mentorship and networking opportunities
- Creating, cultivating and maintaining a sense of community and a safe space to speak
- Enhancing morale, self-esteem, and cultural identity by recognizing and celebrating accomplishments, contributions, and milestones through culturally-inspired celebrations and activities
The California Black Faculty and Staff Association (CBFSA) was organized in 1969 because concerned individuals felt that the needs of Black faculty, staff and students were not being properly addressed. In order to remedy this serious shortcoming, the idea of a statewide effort was proposed and initiated by Dr. Enid Blaylock at California State University at Long Beach. She recognized that Black faculty and staff in California did not have a central organization around which they could coalesce and effectively deal with problems commonly faced by Blacks employed in higher education. Taking stock of its own dilemma, the Board of CBFSA decided to develop a more effective advocacy organization in order to advance the cause.
With this new thrust, CBFSA completely revamped its organizational structure, rewrote the bylaws and adopted new goals and objectives. The primary goal was to increase membership. To do this, an intensive recruitment drive was conducted. After a year, membership was doubled. Recruiting efforts over the years were successful and grew to nearly 600 dues paying members. Membership stretched across the state and encompassed all three systems of publicly-supported higher education as well as in private colleges and universities.
If we stand tall, it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors. ~Yoruba Proverb
It is because of their courageous leadership and interest in equity that the LACCD Black Faculty & Staff Association is in existence. The following individuals have been constant advocates for fairness in hiring, retention, and promotion of Black faculty and staff of the LA Community College District.
Jesse Owens Smith, Ph.D., Professor of Ethnic Studies, Emeritus
Professor of Ethnic Studies, Emeritus
Department of Afro-Ethnic Studies
California State University at Fullerton
The founder of the Association of Black College Faculty and Staff of Southern California (also known as the “State BFSA”), a nonprofit organization established in July of 1975, Dr. J. Owens Smith is a former professor of Afro-Ethnic Studies and Political Science, and faculty member emeritus at California State University at Fullerton. He received a B.A. in Journalism at California State University at Los Angeles, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Chicago.
Dr. J. Owens currently resides in Southern California with his family and continues to consult on issues of employment equality for African-American employees and socio-economic development and growth of the black community.
Henry Ealy, Professor of History, Emeritus
Professor of History, Emeritus
Department of American Cultures
Los Angeles City College
Regarded by his colleagues as a gifted teacher with “ferocity of personal commitment to equal justice and unflagging sense of principle,” Professor Ealy was the Department Chair and a Professor in the Los Angels City College American Cultures Department, which he co-founded early in his 40-year career. One of the first teachers to pioneer multicultural curricula, Professor Ealy has demonstrated breadth and versatility in his commitment to diversity by teaching courses ranging from African American Studies to Asian American Studies, Chicano Studies and United States History. He created the first successful campus Upward Bound program that provided African American and Chicano/Latino students with opportunities for academic enrichment and cultural interaction. As a teacher, faculty mentor and role model, Professor Ealy created and maintained a classroom setting where everyone was treated fairly; and by transcending tolerance, his students possessed an awareness and appreciation for unfamiliar aspects of other cultures. Professor Ealy explained, “Diversity is the lubricant necessary for people from different backgrounds to work in harmony with each other. My purpose as a teacher has always been to create exactly that kind of harmony and therefore, one must treat all persons fairly and with an awareness of their unique individual attributes.”
In his efforts to involve and diversify the student body, Professor Ealy has advised and served on numerous committees, extracurricular organizations, and in the greater community where he has organized countless citywide programs and conferences over the years, including hosting the African American Manchild Conference in 1999. Professor Ealy has unceasingly led by example with the advice that he frequently offers to younger colleagues: “Come early and stay until the last student has been served.” Fellow faculty members note that it is this unwavering dedication that makes him a model of righteous morality and stalwart conscience.
Joyce Livingston, Professor of History, Emeritus
Department Chair, Library
Professor of History, Emeritus
Los Angeles Trade-Technical College
Ms. Livingston began her academic career at Southwest College as a tutor in the Learning Skills Center before continuing her education at University of Southern California (USC). In 1975, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History; and in 1977, she obtained her Master’s degree in Library Science. Ms. Livingston began her career as a librarian for the Los Angeles County Public Library System, which eventually led her back to the Los Angeles Community College District as a faculty member at Southwest, Harbor, and Mission colleges. In 1980, Ms. Livingston became a full-time faculty Librarian in overseeing Reference Instruction and as an adjunct history instructor at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. In 1984, Ms. Livingston earned the academic ranking of Professor, and shortly after, held the position of Library Department Chairperson for 14 years. During her tenure, Ms. Livingston served in various leadership and membership positions in a multitude of committees including, but not limited to Academic Senate, Education Policies, Curriculum, District Discipline Committee for Library Services, and Hiring Prioritization. She was also very involved in other outside committees, such as the California Librarians Black Caucus.
After stepping down as Chairperson in 2009, Ms. Livingston assumed the position again, until she retired in 2012, after nearly 33 years of service at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and 35 years in the Los Angeles Community College District .
She served as a member of the American Federation of Teachers Guild Local 1521, the Los Angeles Faculty Guild, the Librarian Black Caucus, and the Los Angeles Community Colleges Black Faculty & Staff Association. Through her tireless work and efforts, Ms. Livingston was selected as Who’s Who Among Black Americans in 1994 for her civic and professional contributions to American society.
Mattie Moon, Professor of Sociology, Emeritus
Professor of Sociology, Emeritus
Department of Social Science
Los Angeles City College
A.A., Los Angeles Southwest College
B.A., M.A., Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
Member of Phi Alpha Theta, National History Honor Society Member of Alpha Sigma Nu, National Jesuit Scholastic Honor Society
Pat Siever-Henderson, Professor of History, Emeritus
Vice Chair of History
Black Student Union Advisor
Department of History
West Los Angeles City College
Professor Patricia Siever-Henderson, former vice-chair of the History Department at West Los Angeles College, began community college teaching in the mid-1970s, and found comfortable niches in all sections of academia. She has been a member of community college accreditation teams, chair of the Commission for the Advancement of Teaching–district-wide, former president and vice president of the California Association of Community Colleges, member of task force for legislative reform, secretary of the Faculty Guild, and member of the California Community College Board of Governors. She later served as vice president. She was also elected as a Trustee of the Culver City Unified School District.
Aside from her contributions and achievements in academia, Professor Siever-Henderson was very active in crucial areas of policy-shaping and budget-deciding committees and boards.
A graduate of UCLA with a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in African studies, Professor Siever-Henderson said, “Education is my life… It isn’t just a part of it. It is teaching students and seeing them succeed, knowing they are our future.”