CDTech’s Leadership Award is presented to an individual who has dedicated themselves to exemplary community-focused leadership. This year, we are proud to honor Hon. Mark Ridley Thomas with the Leadership Award during CDTech’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on May 19th, 2016.
Since he was overwhelmingly elected in November 2008 and reelected in June 2012 to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas has distinguished himself as a strong advocate for more than two-million Second District residents. He presently serves as Chair Pro Tem of the Board of Supervisors, Chair of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and President of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission.
He has promoted the District’s interests on a variety of fronts, including transportation, job creation and retention, and local hiring. In the area of health policy, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has overseen the construction of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, as well as a network of cutting-edge health care facilities throughout the District; he has facilitated the use of technology and encouraged an integrated approach to wellness that includes mental health care and a prominent role for school-based clinics. His advocacy has helped secure an equitable share of funding for public-private partnership health clinics in underserved areas.
Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas served the 26th District in the California State Senate where he chaired the Senate’s Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. He served as Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus in 2008 and led the Caucus in unprecedented levels of cooperation and collaboration with counterparts in the Latino and Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucuses.
Mark Ridley-Thomas was first elected to public office in 1991 and served with distinction on the Los Angeles City Council for nearly a dozen years, departing as Council President pro Tempore. He later served two terms in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the Assembly Democratic Caucus. His legislative work addressed a broad range of issues with implications for economic and workforce development, health care, public safety, education, budget accountability, consumer protection and civic participation.
He is widely regarded as the foremost advocate of neighborhood participation in government decision-making. By virtue of his founding of the Empowerment Congress, arguably the region’s most successful 24-year experiment in neighborhood-based civic engagement, he is considered the founder of the Neighborhood Council movement.
Ridley-Thomas’ political career was preceded by a decade of service as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, which followed a brief but successful five-year stint as a high school teacher.
The Supervisor is a graduate of Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles and earned a baccalaureate degree in Social Relations with a minor in Government and a master’s degree in Religious Studies with a concentration in Christian ethics from Immaculate Heart College. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas went on to receive his Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California focusing on Social Criticism and Social Change.
He is married to Avis Ridley-Thomas, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute for Non-Violence in Los Angeles. They are the proud parents of Sinclair and Sebastian, both Morehouse Men. Sinclair recently earned an MBA degree at USC’s Marshall School of Business, works in the investment banking industry, and resides with his wife Shaunicie, an attorney, in San Francisco. Sebastian is a member of the California State Assembly representing the 54th District, which includes Southwest Los Angeles, Culver City, Century City and Westwood.
CDTech thanks you, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, for being a catalyst for community, economic and leadership change. Join us in honoring Hon. Mark Ridley-Thomas on May 19th, 2016 during CDTech’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.
[All photos courtesy of markridley-thomas.com]