Before Kamala Harris, there was Charlotta Bass. As we continue to commemorate Black History Month, I want to recognize an unsung hero. In the presence of her family and friends, I was honored to proclaim Feb. 14 as Charlotta Bass Day.
As one of Los Angeles’ most respected Civil Rights icons, Charlotta Bass was a trailblazer who burned a fire on every path she took, resulting in many firsts, opening doors for others to finish what she started.
Ms. Bass was the first Black woman to be publisher and owner of the largest African American newspaper on the West Coast. The California Eagle’s office at the time was found at the heart of District 9 on Central Avenue. Her passion for justice and equality led her to pursue politics. She was the first African American woman to run for vice president of the United States, and for a seat on the LA City Council in the 1940s using the slogan "Don't Fence Me In." Although she was not successful in her runs, she never stopped fighting for social issues surrounding housing discrimination, police brutality and standing up to the Ku Klux Klan.
Charlotta Bass, we celebrate you because your legacy is our legacy to uphold. May we all continue to focus on what makes us great, in the name of freedom, integrity and grit.
In hope and solidarity,