At a special reception on November 12, California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) officially named the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute that is housed on campus and unveiled a sculpture of the legendary politician that will be permanently on display in the University Library to honor his impact on the region and the state.
Coordinated by the institute and Lynn Dymally, the late congressman’s daughter, the reception was attended by many of his friends, family and political colleagues.
Dymally achieved many “firsts” as an African American politician, including California’s first foreign-born black state assemblyman (1963-1966; 2003-2008); the state’s first black senator (1967-1975); the first black lieutenant governor (1975-1979); and the first foreign-born black elected to the House of Representatives (1981-1993).
A staunch advocate for education, Dymally spearheaded into law the institute that now bears his name and brought it to CSUDH in 2003. Earlier this year, the California Legislative Black Caucus supported and won approval for a $250,000 baseline appropriation in the state budget to ensure the institute can achieve its mission as a non-partisan public policy center focused on issues affecting the well-being of African-American communities locally, regionally and nationally.
“We are very proud and we think it’s very important to have this institute on our campus, because, like Mr. Dymally, we’re all about transformation through education. We are committed at this university to making this institute one of the best, most highly regarded black think-tanks in the nation,” said CSUDH President Willie J. Hagan.
After the unveiling, California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, pledged continued support for the institute.
“On behalf of the Legislative Black Caucus, Dr. Hagan, this institute is now the academic home for every member of the California Legislative Black Caucus,” he said. “Not only did we obtain funds this year to keep it going, but all 12 of us are going to fight to get you more money next year.”