Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., executive publisher and chairman of the Los Angeles Sentinel, has been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the California Parks and Recreation Commission. Along with being the executive publisher and chairman of Bakewell Media, which owns the Los Angeles Sentinel and the Los Angeles Watts Times, Bakewell is the founder/creator of the Taste of Soul Family Festival, held annually on historic Crenshaw Boulevard in the heart of the Los Angeles African American community. Since its founding in 2005, Taste of Soul has brought millions of people and thousands of local businesses into community for a day of ethically-cultured food, family and fun. Proclaimed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, “Taste of Soul is the largest and best free and single day festival in Los Angeles.” From 1974 to 2006, Bakewell served as the president and CEO of the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade and currently serves as the organization’s Chairman of the Board.
Bakewell, Sr. is equally known as a civil rights icon throughout the state, as well as one of California’s most influential and successful African American business leaders. He has literally breathed economic life into often disregarded communities like Compton, South Los Angeles, NW Pasadena and Seaside, California. “I am so honored to see Danny Sr. take an active role on a state commission and I applaud Governor Newsom on this appointment. I have known Danny for years, both as a community leader and a serious business leader, and I am confident that Danny will help guide our state park system into a place where all of California can enjoy and participate in the beauty of our state parks and facilities, as well as create economic opportunities that our park systems are involved with on an annual basis,” stated California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer.
When asked about his appointment, Commissioner Bakewell, Sr. stated, “I consider the Governor to be a friend and when he first approached me about being appointed to a state commission, I was reluctant. But the more I thought about it, and the more I discussed it with Aline (Mrs. Bakewell), I decided that at this point in my life, to have an opportunity to be of service in a state that we both love and that has given us so much. I thought, why not? I am honored to have been appointed and I am looking forward to creating opportunities for all Californians to see, experience and participate in all of the beauty and wonder, as well as tremendous opportunities that our state park system has to offer.”
Along with his many business and community accolades, Bakewell is the co-founder of the National Black United Fund, and is chairman emeritus of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (Black Press of America). He has been inducted into the Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, is a three-time NAACP Image Award winner, and has a school in LAUSD named in his honor (Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. Primary School) and is the recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) – Adam Clayton Powell Award.
This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Bakewell is a lifelong Democrat.