In Memoriam: Inola Henry
By Bob Mulholland
CDP Campaign Advisor, DNC Member
The California Democratic Party has lost one of its most valuable members.
Inola Henry passed away at home several days ago.
Inola would tell people she had “a lifelong commitment to education and social economic justice.” She was well-known as a teacher and mentor in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Inola was a young 66 who was active in her teacher’s union, dedicating much of her life years promoting positive race and human relations. She spent the last two decades as an advisor and coordinator for the district’s human relations programming for grades 4 to 12.
Inola was a founder of the Watts Summer Festival, conceived following the 1965 riots. She became active with the Democratic Party shortly after that, with both the state Party and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. Those of us in the Party knew her simply as “Inola, the Resolutions Committee Chair,” where she served with distinction for decades.
Last summer, the CDP Executive Board re-elected Inola to the DNC for her third term, where she had served on the DNC Resolutions Committee. She attended many national conventions, including 2008 in Denver where she proudly voted to nominate Barack Obama to be the Democratic nominee for President.
Thousands of people over the years appeared before the CDP Resolutions Committee and Inola treated each person with respect and professionalism, referring to all who came before the committee as her “children.” She was passionate about the issues that were discussed and on countless occasions was able to bring two varying sides together to pass a single cohesive message.
Inola’s great grandfather William Henry was a slave in Mississippi who ultimately escaped and later married and had a son (Inola’s grandfather). Reverend Robert Youngblood Henry settled and raised a family in Hope, Arkansas, the birthplace of President Bill Clinton. Inola’s beloved uncle, George I. Henry, was a longtime civil rights activist who died in 2007.
Inola grew up in Lanton, Oklahoma, where she was involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and participated in sit-ins before moving to California and becoming involved in the Democratic Party.
In March of this year, Assemblymember Mike Davis honored Inola as the 48th Assembly District’s “Woman of the Year, calling her “an inspirational leader with a long history of accomplishments” and “a rare combination of compassion and competence.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Inola’s family and her immediate friends.
The California Democratic Party has lost one of its finest institutional leaders. She will be greatly missed by all who had the honor of knowing her.