AABLI Black Commissioners Group (Tiffany Arnold photo)
The African American Board Leadership Institute (AABLI) hosted its inaugural Black Commissioners Reception on Thursday, July 27 at the Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) in Los Angeles.
During this reception, AABLI board chair Virgil Roberts along with President and CEO, Yvette Chappell-Ingram, welcomed 15 Southern California Black Commissioners and several local politicians to network with AABLI’s alumni. Roberts explained, “This reception is intended to create an in-person setting for commissioner hopefuls to interact with local politicians, who make appointments, and confirmed Black commissioners to hear their personal experiences.”
Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer, celebrated AABLI and its alumni for showing a passion for public service and civic engagement by saying, “This organization and its mission [to train African Americans for board governance] serves as an essential component to the success of developing viable candidates for commission appointments.”
“Learning how to navigate the ins and outs of the application selection process, can be a challenge,” said CA State Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Jr. (District 59). He continues, “Yet I am encouraged this evening by what I see – African American professionals taking action to be a part of public boards and commissions.”
Finally, Commissioner Mike Davis, Los Angeles City Board of Public Works, reminded everyone that commission appointments come with a large responsibility. He encouraged those seeking an appointment, “To stay focused on what it means to be a public member on a board, specifically to provide public input on a variety of issues in the community. For example, as the President Pro Tempore, it’s my responsibility to stay committed to delivering projects and programs that enhance quality of life, economic growth, public health and the environment to all Angelenos.”
Funded by the James Irvine Foundation, AABLI designed a Public Boards and Commissions Training program to educate its alumni about the commission process. Chappell-Ingram described the program by saying, “Participants learned about the application process, how to position oneself for appointment consideration, reviewed the various open commission positions, and interacted with experienced commissioners. The three module program was conducted from December 2016 through May 2017 and concentrated on state, city and county commissions.”