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Requiem for a Warrior, Lawrence “Larry” Aubry – A Champion of the People
By George J. McKenna III
Published May 21, 2020

Dr. George McKenne (Courtesy photo)

On May 16, 2020, Larry Aubry passed away, and left a legacy that few can equal, but to which many should aspire. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in the time of southern segregation and came to Los Angeles at an early age, attending Jefferson High School.  He returned to New Orleans to briefly attend Xavier University, but returned to Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA.   

 He began his career as a County Probation Officer working diligently to help young men and women to redeem their lives beyond the criminal justice system. His passion for helping others combined with his quest for social justice led him to join the County Human Relations Commission where he was able to expand his commitment to community service on a larger scale. He became involved in education improvement, criminal justice reform, housing, economic justice, community and cultural affairs, immigrant rights, violence prevention and political accountability.  He focused primarily on the issues affecting the inner cities of Los Angeles, Inglewood, Compton and the adjacent areas.  He remained a Commissioner until he retired.  

I met Larry in 1971 while serving as Dean of Students at Horace Mann Jr. High School and he was assisting parent outreach groups with implementing their expectations for educational justice.  We became fast friends and mutual supporters of our common interests.  He became heavily involved in mediation and interventions due to community unrest related to gang and drug activity, school bussing, racial conflicts, police confrontations with Black citizens and other societal challenges. Larry immersed himself in a myriad of situations, some quite challenging, to assist and support the neediest members of the community.  In that regard, he became involved with a variety of institutions, organizations, and people, covering a wide spectrum including pastors, politicians, paupers, physicians, educators, homeless, labor, law enforcement, and activists. 

 His commitment to improving society at all levels led him to run for office and he was elected to the Inglewood School District Board of Education in the late 1980’s and early 90’s when I also served as District Superintendent.  He began writing a weekly column in the LA Sentinel and did so for nearly 30 years. His articles were always informative, objective and insightful, providing a needed source of facts, analysis and recommendations on important community issues. 

 Larry was a true multi-dimensional “renaissance man” with a variety of skills and accomplishments.  He was a musician, intellectual, public servant, writer and activist. Possessed of unimpeachable integrity and character, he refused to compromise his well earned values, and was always truthful. He remained devoted to and fought for the rights of all groups, but was unapologetically protective of the Black perspective, as he saw the quality of the treatment afforded to African Americans by the larger society as a barometer for the humanity of this country.   He was loyal to his friends for life and remained connected to the “Eastside Boys” a group of young men from Jefferson High School.  

 Larry Aubry was a life-long warrior on behalf of the weak, wounded and worn down; a great champion and voice of the voiceless, and a true servant leader where humility and authenticity endeared him to a large number of friends at all levels of society. He was ubiquitous throughout the community attending multiple cultural, political and civic activities, often occurring on the same day.  He was literally everywhere, emboldened by an indefatigable energy that stayed with him throughout his life. A serious man who possessed a great sense of humor, enabling him to relate well to everyone, he was respected by all.  Only age and illness slowed his pace, but he never stopped fighting for us, himself and his loved ones.  

 He was my dear friend whom I will miss forever. I grieve because he has gone, but will celebrate that he came our way. He was unique and will be missed.  

 

Dr George Mckenna III 

LAUSD School Board Member 

District 1  

Categories: Op-Ed | Opinion
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