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Leadership California to establish The Ozie B. Gonzaque Leadership Scholarship

Tuesday, August 11, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katherine Lauer

Leadership California is pleased to establish

The Ozie B. Gonzaque Leadership Scholarship


In grateful recognition of Kimberly Shiner, an alumna of the 2017 California Issues and Trends class, and a current Leadership California board of director, the scholarship will be established in honor of Kim’s grandmother, Ozie B. Gonzaque. 

Today, at 95 years old, Mrs. Gonzaque’s resilience, professionalism and leadership have made her one of the most prominent African American public service women leaders in Los Angeles.  The scholarship will allow a deserving African American woman to attend the Leadership California Issues and Trends or LC 2 DC programs.  The criteria will be based on a written essay detailing both financial need and the desire and perspective on advancing one’s leadership skills in the fields of education, nonprofit, or government (public service).  Partial and full program scholarships may be awarded based on available funds. 

Mrs. Gonzaque served as a Commissioner for the Los Angeles Housing Authority for 18 years having served as Chairperson for 11 of those years under the appointment of Mayors Tom Bradley, Richard Riordan and James Hahn.  Her leadership united and advanced the Housing for Urban Development (HUD), the entire staff of the L.A. City Housing Authority, residents of the 21 housing developments (of which one bears her name in honor of her leadership), and the community at large.  Among her most noted accomplishments is the creation of the iconic police logo and phrase, “To Protect and Serve,” which currently appears on police vehicles nationally, and founding the Southeast Easterettes, a support group of the LA Police Department.

Ozie B. Gonzaque is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas; her family moved to Monroe, Louisiana in 1940 and in 1944, she moved to Watts, California with her parents and four sisters. She continues to reside in the family home today to remain close to the community she loves and has served. She is the proud mother of three daughters, two stepdaughters, and two stepsons. She is the grandmother of 10 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.  Scores of officials and prominent leaders have honored her during her 75 years of service with hundreds of accommodations displayed in her home.  And many often sought her leadership counsel over a bowl of her famous Gumbo. 

In addition to her tenure as Chairperson of the City of Los Angeles’ Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, her long list of public service includes serving as Chairperson of the Housing Authority’s Security Committee; a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the City of Los Angeles’ Enterprise Zone’ served as a Committee member for the 108 HUD Community Development Bank; is a member of the Commissioners of Committee of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO); she was a Rater for the Los Angeles Police Department, of the few minorities to serve on the Oral Board for 25 years, and she was a Hearing Officer for the interview process for the Board of Rights for the L.A. Police Department. 

Among her honors is recognition in Who’s Who of Black America; bestowed honor of the “Gonzaque Tree Grove” in Will Rogers Park; Woman of the Year in 1991 through then Congresswoman, Maxine Waters; recipient of Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite-Burke’s commendation; People’s Choice Award as role model in 1990;  Bicentennial Award in 1986; Outstanding Community Service Award in 1984; Meritorious Award form Los Angeles Police Department in 1978; and recipient of Community Services Award from the 77th Street Businessmen’s Booster Association.  Received “Wattstar-of-the-Year Award” in 2016 and served as Co-Chair of the Watts Cinema and Education Center, with over 40 prominent businessmen and businesswoman, County of Los Angeles until 2017.

Mrs. Gonzaque always instilled in her family a sense of obligation and the importance of public service and giving back. In a recent article she said, "My mother always said, "Don't complain unless you are willing to make a change." Those words have stayed with me all my life."  

Please help deserving African American women attend the Leadership California Issues and Trends or LC 2 DC programs. Your generosity will enable Leadership California to provide an important opportunity to deserving African American women to enhance and advance their leadership through the unique knowledge and experiences gained from the California Issues and Trends and LC 2 DC programs. Please honor the resilience, professionalism and leadership of Ozie B. Gonzaque, one of the most prominent African American public service women leaders in Los Angeles by advancing African American women of color as our leaders in her name.

To contribute, visit our website here and indicate the scholarship fund you'd like your donation earmarked for.