Et Al.: New Voices in Arts Management

White Space / Black Space + Occupational Hierarchy = Racial Battle Fatigue

Yvonne Farrow


Systemic racism permeates every profession in this country, including the creative industries. I believe that if we can fix the house that’s on fire, the African American’s house, then all other issues, such as gender or sexuality—across all industries—can be resolved. Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, wrote, “Many of the advancements that Americans enjoy . . . are all the by-products of the subordinate caste’s fight for justice in this country and ended up helping others as much as if not more than themselves.”

As an African American woman in my seventh year as a City of Los Angeles employee, I felt deeply that I wanted my project to be in service to the City family. I saw a void, and in a flash of inspiration, knew exactly what was needed to fill it. I approached the Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel (LAABP) to ask if they would partner with me on my research project. They said yes without hesitation, and I began the study soon after.

“The mission of the Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel is to motivate, encourage, and educate individuals, to realize their dreams and move forward in their careers within City government. We join the many employee organizations as we face the challenges of today and tomorrow. We continue our efforts to ensure fairness and equal opportunity. Together we can accomplish what none of us can do alone.” —LAABP Mission Statement

In July of 2020, LAABP reported that there were 9,415 employees in the City of Los Angeles who identify as African American or Black. LAABP has approximately 678 members across all 36 City departments. 61% of those surveyed work at the mid or supervisorial level, and only 11% at the executive level.

Around that same time, Mayor Eric Garcetti created the Civil and Human Rights Commission, followed by Executive Directive No. 27 (ED 27), Racial Equity in City Government. He mandated that each general manager appoint a Racial Equity Officer in their department to address the issue of racial inequity, and, after an in-depth look at the racism that helped to fill its coffers, make recommendations that could lead to policy change. Garcetti enacted ED 27 and other measures “so the City may prepare itself in the event that the California State Senate and, ultimately, the California electorate, enacts ACA-5 to repeal Proposition 209”, a proposition which outlawed Affirmative Action in California. He went on to say, “And while we await the results of the effort to repeal Proposition 209, we must also redouble our efforts to promote equity in our City, beginning with our own government. In employee recruitment and procurement, there remain many ways to enhance diversity and equal opportunity without affirmative action.”         

He must have had foresight, because on November 3, 2020, California's Proposition 16 (that repealed CA Prop 209's affirmative action legislation) was defeated by 56% of the vote. On elections, Dr. Maulana Karenga, the Creator of Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles on which it stands, wrote:

Elections always leave so much still to be done. . . . We still must secure food for the hungry, housing for the homeless, affordable healthcare for all, economic security, security of person, an end of police violence and massive incarceration, and as always secure freedom for the oppressed, justice for the wronged and injured, power of the people over their destiny and daily lives, and a just and lasting peace for the world.

Inspired by John Lewis, encouraged by Garcetti, and fortified by Karenga, I embraced the moral obligation I felt to continue, and I resolved to do the work. Karenga continues: “It is found in the ancient sacred texts of our ancestors which call on us to seek and speak truth, do and demand justice and constantly repair, renew and reconstruct the world, making it more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. And there is no special day, decade, season or situation in which to do this.”

Historical Background

About the Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel (LAABP)

I joined LAABP three years ago and have since participated in and/or volunteered for networking events, training, civil service test preparation, and Black Heritage Month activities. Also a scholarship recipient, my experience has been that the organization more than lives up to its mission to prepare its members for careers in the City.

According to their website, LAABP’s rich history began with Mayor Tom Bradley, and “remains at the forefront of the battle for equal employment with the City’s workforce.” Yes, the LAABP has been resilient, carrying the torch that Mayor Tom Bradley lit almost 50 years ago, but I believe that the cry to end systemic racism and the nation’s willingness to make change must embolden LAABP to delve more deeply into their mission and make it come alive in a way that only this time in history can permit.

About Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 5 (ACA-5)

In ED 27, Mayor Garcetti clarified the Affirmative Action Amendment (ACA-5), which was unfortunately upheld by California voters in the 2020 election. I here add the Mayor’s explanation because I believe the language of ACA-5 was easily misunderstood by voters. It had voters choosing to uphold equality (sameness), when what was needed was equity (fairness):

To a significant extent, progress in racial equity in California was undermined in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 209, which amended the California Constitution to provide that state and local government entities "shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting." While it had long been unlawful to discriminate in education, employment and contracting, the practical effect of Proposition 209 was to outlaw affirmative action in this State. In the absence of thoughtful affirmative action programs, longstanding racial and gender stratification has persisted and deepened. On June 10, 2020, the California State Assembly passed Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 5 ("ACA-5") to begin the process of repealing Proposition 209. If the proposed state constitutional amendment is also passed by the State Senate, ACA5 would be placed on the November 3, 2020 general election ballot, and California voters will have the opportunity to repeal Proposition 209 by a majority vote. The proposed repeal of Proposition 209 presents our City with the possibility of implementing affirmative action policies and programs and deciding what else we might do differently in such a changed landscape.

As stated earlier, Prop 16 was defeated, and as a result, Prop 209 will not be repealed, thereby keeping the tentacles of racism wrapped around the body politic. Despite the cry for change, systemic racism and the laws that keep it in place remain.

The Birth of Racism in the United States

Across the nation, people are asking, “Will this time be different? Will anything finally be done about systemic racism?” To this I say, this time MUST be different!

It is horrifying to think how long humanity has been suffering with the disease of racism. From the invention of US race and racist policies in the 1500’s to the arrival of Africans on these shores in 1619; from the Civil War of the 1800’s to Segregation and Jim Crow through the 60’s; and still today, with the continuous oppression, hunting, and murder of Black people, unfortunately racism is still alive and well in the twenty-first century. It is important to note, however, that enslaved people have always fought against their oppressor in the name of freedom and equity. In the time of John Lewis it was called the Civil Rights Movement; in our time, this fight is called Black Lives Matter.

The birth of racist policies that hold racism in place today are best described by Ibram X. Kendi, founder of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, who wrote:

Prince Henry’s racist policy of slave trading came first—a cunning invention for the practical purpose of bypassing Muslim traders. After nearly two decades of slave trading, King Afonso asked Gomes de Zurara to defend the lucrative commerce in human lives, which he did through the construction of a Black race, an invented group upon which he hung racist ideas.

As a student, Kendi heard finance scholar Boyse Watkins lecture on racism as a disease, which Kendi later likened to metastatic stage-4 cancer, and determined that racism should be dealt with as such:

Remove any remaining racist policies, the way surgeons remove the tumors. Ensure there are clear margins, meaning no cancer cells of inequity left in the body politic, only the healthy cells of equity. Encourage the consumption of healthy foods for thought and the regular exercising of antiracist ideas, to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence. Monitor the body politic closely, especially where the tumors of racial inequity previously existed. Detect and treat a recurrence early, before it can grow and threaten the body politic.

We must accept that systemic racism is a disease this country has been diagnosed with, and take ownership of it. However, the onus should not be on Black people to do the work of uncovering racist ideas and the policies that keep them alive. Those benefiting from racism, consciously or unconsciously, must also do their part or the cure will not take.

This is what the City of Los Angeles is now endeavoring to do, department by department. However, they missed an opportunity to engage employees via other avenues, namely the City affinity groups. While the Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel, a forty-eight year-old institution, is not a City department, the City could have reached out to them and other affinity groups such as the City Employees Club of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Filipino Association of City Employees, and the City of Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Employees Association, to assist in accomplishing this great and important work.

It is crucial to note that LAABP, due to the exceptional professional development, training, and educational opportunities offered to its members, has opened its doors to other peoples of color. This act of leadership on the part of LAABP, which exhibits equity, diversity, and inclusion, demonstrates that this City affinity group could be instrumental in advancing ED 27.


The conditions under which the research unfolded were stressful due to the short time-frame in which I had to roll out the study. I had just seven weeks to determine the scope of work, gain approvals, create the research instruments, implement the processes, and collect the data.
I used mixed methods to gather data to explore my research question: What is the State of Racial Equity and Inclusion for African Americans who work for the City of Los Angeles? These methods were launched and implemented over a three-week period:In support and partnership, the LAABP did a tremendous job collaborating with me to promote the three phases of research, not only in their newsletters and e-blasts, but also on their website.

Qualitative research methods have been important to this study. The heart of my analysis is found in the stories collected from African American City employees. Metrics mean nothing without narratives to bring them to life. By making the survey completely anonymous, and creating a safe space for interviewees as well as participants in the focus group, the trust required to gather honest data was achieved. These anonymous stories by African American employees give specific examples of clear starting points where the City can begin its racial equity work.

I created a StoryBank to collect these examples, and then I analyzed the data and identified major themes by grouping together accounts of racism that I wanted to highlight in the study. In this report of findings, each entry from the StoryBank is preceded by literary references which give theoretical framing to the three major themes I selected.

Regarding the quantitative data, Google analytics captured all responses that could be counted into clear, colorful charts and graphs. The survey, interview, and focus group instruments, as well as the StoryBank and metric data, can be found in the appendices at the end of this report.

I then formulated major conclusions and made recommendations from the totality of the mixed method research findings.


The LAABP staff liaison shared that there are 9,415 employees in the City of Los Angeles who identify as African American or Black; however, LAABP has approximately 700 members. I call attention to this as the study is limited to members. Possible reasons that a larger number of African American City employees are not LAABP members may include: 1) a lack of awareness of LAABP’s services, 2) affordability of membership, and 3) the inability of LAABP to mediate racism on the job.  

I was contacted by City employees who were not members of LAABP but who wanted to take the survey. It occurred to me that this might be a great way to attract new LAABP members. I spoke with LAABP, and the leadership agreed to open the survey to African American City employees who were not yet members. I simply added a button to select “I am not a member” and a link at the end of the survey for those who would like to join the organization. We also opened the survey to African American employees of the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Not all African American employees in the City have a clear understanding of the breadth of LAABP’s career development services. For example, during my one-on-one interviews, someone shared that generally City employees have the impression that the organization is “exclusive” and “event-oriented,” and that this might be a reason for low membership.

Membership fees for participation in LAABP may be another deterrent for potential members. I wonder if the reason might be the fee of $6.00 deducted bi-weekly from each paycheck. This practice is consistent, however, with other City affinity groups. In addition to networking events, these organizations also provide career development seminars and workshops to their members. Union dues and medical insurance are also deducted, as well as fees for other vital services, from employees' paychecks. For African Americans who already make significantly less money than whites (as stated in the introduction, only 11% of African Americans surveyed in this study work at the executive level), these deductions do add up.

Lastly, one interviewee reached out to me with a horrific story of racism within his department. He needed help with a very dire situation (and also needed an ear, in my opinion). I reached out to leadership for counsel and learned that LAABP does not mediate or advocate for City employees in regards to racism. “This is not the function of the organization,” I was told. It was suggested that the employee contact state and federal agencies for assistance, as it seemed he was getting nowhere with the City’s Human Resources Department. I shared this information, but in the age of George Floyd, LAABP might consider helping its members as a first step. I added his story to the StoryBank with others whose complaints of racism languish unresolved.

Participation & Analysis

I administered 142 surveys, conducted 6 interviews, led 22 focus group participants, and selected 43 narratives from the StoryBank for this report.

Analyzing the results of the survey, interviews, and focus group was a heartbreaking task. I propose that if even one deserving African American is passed over for promotion, is interviewed for a job where the panel was not diverse and was therefore biased, loses a job due to inequitable probation practices, is stuck in an undesirable cubicle or without a desk, is asked to do unethical tasks, faces retaliation for speaking up, or has their discrimination complaints go unresolved, a course correction is required!  

In this report, I chose to focus on the following three themes: 1) Occupational Hierarchy (promotion, hiring, and probation); 2) Black Space/ White Space Inequity (workspace, racial self-interest, and retaliation), and 3) Racial Battle Fatigue. I end with a discussion on radical self-care and wellness using the arts as antidote.

Excerpts from anonymous narratives in the StoryBank are highlighted with each major finding. Additional selected stories from survey responses are found in the appendix originally submitted to LAABP with this report and are largely left raw and unedited. I found a palpable frustration captured in the writing of the employees. The names of City departments and/or personnel have been redacted.

The results and conclusions found in this report, as well as my journey throughout the study, are fully documented in the appendix. Though they are not part of the main report, a review of the appendices—including timelines, processes, and data—is useful.

Key Findings and Recommendations

Conclusion 1: Occupational Hierarchy Exists

Occupational hierarchy is the racist idea that African Americans don’t expect to be promoted, that they know and accept their place, and that if they are promoted, it should never be over whites (or those who consider themselves white-facing).

This theme is borrowed from Wilkerson. Occupational hierarchy is an aspect of systemic caste hierarchies. Wilkerson’s analysis applies to race as it relates to the workplace as well: “Your place was preordained before you were born. 'A Negro may become a locomotive fireman," [Bertram] Doyle wrote, 'but never an engineer.' Thus, caste did not mean merely doing a certain kind of labor; it meant performing a dominant or subservient role."

The caste system, as laid out by Wilkerson, still exists today within our City government. Through the stories collected, I found that this symptom of systemic racism, essentially a caste hierarchy which has positioned African Americans on the bottom, still has a foothold in the City in the areas of promotion, hiring, and probation. One City employee wrote:

In my 30 years of City employment, I have seen promotional lists manipulated to keep too many [B]lacks from promoting into management. If the list had a cluster of too many well-qualified Blacks near the top, they either requested more candidates in order to reach some non-[B]lacks, or simply left the positions vacant until the list expired, meanwhile letting non-[B]lack candidates [a]ct for a temp bonus for 2 years, making them more qualified the next round. They have used me to [a]ct for 8 consecutive years, refused me the acting bonus while promising me the next promotion, and then promoted over 20 candidates to that same position—without the experience, passing over me on 3 consecutive lists. With 23 years’ experience as a supervisor, it took a second discrimination complaint to finally promote to the position after-the-fact. Retaliation, alienation, denial of all overtime, unequal treatment, and freeway therapy is what I get when I complain of discrimination. —Anonymous Survey Respondent

Recommendation 1

I recommend that the City partner with LAABP in active labor reform (as this is their strong suit), that LAABP recommit to their mission, and that they create a Racial Equity Initiative:83% of respondents reported that they would support a LAABP Racial Equity Initiative.

Conclusion 2: White Space/Black Space Inequity Exists

Spatial inequity is a form of racist macro- and microaggression where white work spaces are considered desirable and therefore over-resourced, while Black work spaces are considered undesirable and therefore under-resourced.

Microaggressions in employment are cumulative negative actions that impact the culture and experience of working in a social space; they are not always delivered in words or even seen with the eye. In her book, So You Want To Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo explains, "Microaggressions are small daily insults and indignities perpetrated against marginalized or oppressed people because of their affiliation with that marginalized or oppressed group.”

Similarly, Kendi, in his New York Times Bestseller, How To Be An Antiracist, illustrates how microaggressions relate to spatial equity, the second most prevalent theme in my research, which results in bias when it comes to workspaces:

Just as racist power racializes people, racist power racializes space. The ghetto. The inner city. The third world. A space is racialized when a racial group is known to either govern the space or make up the clear majority in the space. A Black space, for instance, is either a space publicly run by Black people or a space where Black people stand in the majority.

Through stories collected, I found that this symptom of systemic racism still has a foothold in the City in the areas of workspace, self-interest, and retaliation. One City of LA employee wrote:

A third notable act of discrimination came out of the flee [sic], roach, rat and dust mite debacle at City Hall. When I returned, every cubicle in the entire office had been dusted, vacuumed, treated with pesticides, and the carpet shampooed— except mine. —Anonymous Survey Respondent #36

I would like to assert that work done in racist self-interest is also a form of spatial microaggression. One City of LA employee wrote:

Gentrification, displacement, local market rate rents and fair housing are not of interest. It makes me wonder how many times I’ve been complicit with criminal developers simply because the higher ups picked me to expeditiously rush a case study, and only facts relative to the developer are presented. —Anonymous Survey Respondent #40

I also assert that retaliation is a spatial macroaggression. Another City of LA employee wrote:

I reported her behavior to her immediate supervisor, a Black man, whom she said on several occasions she had no respect for. She began a slow and deliberate process of retaliation, creating a stressful environment that led me to have panic attacks and anxiety episodes. —Anonymous Survey Respondent #42

Recommendation 2

I recommend that the City explore spatial racism, root out unfair and unethical practices in the awarding of contracts, adapt a no-tolerance policy for retaliation, and use LAABP to reform Human Resources’ complaint resolution protocols.

Conclusion 3: Racial Battle Fatigue Exists

Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) is the overwhelming feeling of exhaustion African Americans experience simply navigating everyday life in a racist society. Similar to symptoms of PTSD, RBF can manifest in a variety of ailments both physical and mental.

Scholar Gaga Gondwe writes,

Research in medicine has identified how trauma and stress can be passed down genetically through generations, impacting overall health. The impact of that trauma can only be trebled by each new generation of Black students agitating against the very same stressors that their forebears fought—and then witnessing their demands for meaningful structural change ignored, as if their activism meant nothing.

Feelings of hope, fear, expectation, helplessness, or dread can take over. Liza Talusan, author of “Supporting Ourselves Through Racial Battle Fatigue,” explained how RBF compromised her health:

I barely had enough room to breathe. Cycling through those emotions every single day led to my own serious weight gain, high blood pressure, stress related insomnia depression and a short-fuse which I only felt safe lighting with my own family. And so by default, my young family suffered from the side effects of my own racial battle fatigue. Those highs and lows, even in just one day, does a number on someone. And we often times needed to just decompress.      

I titled my focus group Conversations from the Couch with the intention of creating a relaxed space on Zoom in order to focus on wellness. The group of City employees gathered to discuss the effects of racism on mind, body, and spirit, and what they did to combat it. I was told that this format wasn’t what people were expecting, however. No one had ever asked them what racism had done to them or how they coped. Inspired by the Black Panther Party and other activists, I introduced the term radical self-care to address post-traumatic stress.

In conducting the focus group and survey, I asked how respondents decompress:

How do you decompress?

28% create art (performing arts, visual arts, crafts)
49% watch art (film, TV, fine arts)
41% meditate or do other mindfulness practices
59% exercise or work out
19% stretch or do yoga
49% indulge in food or drink (healthy or otherwise)

It is monumental that 77% of employees surveyed made or consumed art as a mechanism to decompress. This is a strong indication that the arts can be instrumental in healing and bringing about wholeness to employees working in the City of Los Angeles.

Also of note, when asked, “Would you be interested in any of the following self-care programs?,” 45% of employees surveyed were interested in expanding existing healthcare services, 47% in Employee Assistance Programs, and 54% in LAABP offering self-care workshops and discussion groups.

Shown in the graph below, while 34% expressed that they might be interested, 36% clearly expressed that they wanted additional health and wellness services. Therefore, I assert that radical self-care is especially needed for City employees suffering from racial battle fatigue.

Recommendation 3

I recommend that LAABP augment its member services to include support groups, and that the City request expansion of wellness services to include and combat racial battle fatigue:

Recommendation 4

I recommend that the City use the arts, both performing and visual, to engage its employees City-wide, as a prescription and pathway to healing after the racial equity work mandated by ED 27 is complete.

Even if only to witness a musician sing what the employee wishes he could say, or an artist paint the colors one feels inside, or a dancer express the secrets of one’s heart through movement. Theater can be a safe vehicle for audiences to live through painful experiences, find healing, and learn something about themselves and those around them. Artists are our last responders. They can take what has happened in the world, transform it, and give it back to us in ways we all can process—mind, body, and spirit.

Dr. James Haywood Rolling, Jr. wrote, “Art matters. Toward the achievement of social justice and the work of shaping human potential, the value of each life and every creative act indispensably enriches us all.”

I strongly suggest that policy be written to enlist the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs in serving a new constituency—the City employee. Utilizing arts programming to promote healing and wholeness post-ED 27 (as evidenced by this report), would serve our City, its workers, and our citizens well. I for one stand at the ready!

An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. . . . And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved. —Nina Simone

Final Thoughts

It’s personal. Race is personal.

We can enact new policy and pass laws, but true change must happen within the heart of the individual. It is up to each one of us to look within and examine our conscious and unconscious racist beliefs and biases.

Many have asked, will this time be different? I say, if the City of Los Angeles can take a hard look at itself and commit to change, then all industries can, but it will take everyone doing their part. I assert that the Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel is well positioned to help make this happen.

I hope this work will empower us as we move forward toward a more equitable future for African Americans in City government and in the nation.

To read "At a Glance: Key Findings and Recommendations," please click here.

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  1. I was not supposed to begin this research project until the fall of 2021, but on the heels of the murder of George Floyd and countless others now dead at the hands of law enforcement and other vigilantes, I knew that racial equity must be the topic of my work. This was the moment to step forward and be a part of the change we all want to see.
  2. Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (New York: Random House, 2020), 382.
  3. “Our History/Mission,” Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel, accessed December 15, 2020,
  4. Yvonne Farrow, Interview with LAABP staff member, December 2020.
  5. Farrow, Anonymous Interview Data, 2020.
  6. Mayor Eric Garcetti, “Executive Directive No. 27,” City of Los Angeles, June 19, 2020,, 3.
  7. Garcetti, 2.
  8. Ballotpedia, “California Proposition 16, Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment,” accessed December 15, 2020,,_Repeal_Proposition_209_Affirmative_Action_Amendment_(2020).
  9. Maulauna Karenga, “Taking Tuesday in Stride: Waking up Wednesday Still in Struggle,” Los Angeles Sentinel, November 16, 2016.
  10. Karenga.
  11. Garcetti, 2.
  12. James Haywood Rolling, Jr., “Black Lives Matter: An Open Letter to Arts Educators on Constructing an Anti-Racist Agenda,” National Arts Education Association, June 10, 2020,
  13. Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist (New York: One World, 2019), 42.
  14. Kendi, 237.
  15. Farrow, Anonymous Interview Data, 2020.
  16. Farrow, Interview with LAABP staff member, December 2020.
  17. Farrow, Anonymous Interview Data, 2020.
  18. Farrow, Anonymous Interview Data, 2020.
  19. qtd. in Wilkerson, 136.
  20. Farrow, Anonymous Survey Data, 2020.
  21. “Our History/Mission,” Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel.
  22. Farrow Anonymous Survey Data, 2020.
  23. Ijeoma Olou, So You Want To Talk About Race (New York: Seal Press, 2019), 169.
  24. Kendi, 169.
  25. Farrow, Anonymous Survey Data, 2020.
  26. Farrow, Anonymous Survey Data, 2020.
  27. Farrow, Anonymous Survey Data, 2020.
  28. Joan C. Williams and Sky Mihaylo, “How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on their Teams,” Harvard Business Review Magazine, November-December, 2019,
  29. Playing by the Rules: Ethics at Work, S3 E3, “Lessons Learned,” directed by Bryan Myers, aired October 3, 2019, on WLIW,
  30. Gaga Gondwe, “How Elite Institutions Can Prove That Black Lives Matter: Emotional labor & the limits of interpersonal diversity work,” Public Seminar, July 2, 2020,
  31. Liza Talusan, “Supporting Ourselves Through Racial Battle Fatigue,” To Loosen the Mind, October 23, 2015,
  32. Farrow, Anonymous Interview Data, 2020.
  33. Martha Tesema, “How You Can Honor the Radical History of Self-Care,” Shine, July 23, 2020,
  34. Farrow, Anonymous Survey Data, 2020.
  35. Farrow, Anonymous Survey Data, 2020.
  36. Farrow, Anonymous Survey Data, 2020.
  37. Haywood Rolling, Jr.
  38. Nina Simone, American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free, directed by Yoruba Richen (January 18, 2021; New York City: PBS), documentary.


I’d like to thank everyone whose love and support has helped me through the program: my husband, family, colleagues, cohorts, and the Claremont Graduate University staff and faculty. I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to my CGU adviser, Professor Amy Shimshon-Santo, whose intuitiveness, guidance, and expertise in navigating me through my capstone research project from start to finish, has been invaluable; and a special thanks to Bronwyn Mauldin and Genevieve Kaplan for their support in research and rhetoric respectively. Finally, I would like to thank the Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel, specifically Niesha Louis and Antrecia Sims (my municipal partners), who took a chance on me and said yes to the project without hesitation. It meant more to me than you’ll ever know.


The Claremont Graduate University Research Center determined that this project was IRB exempt. This study is for educational purposes only and reflects the work of an independent graduate student capstone research project. Yvonne Farrow is not an authorized representative or duly elected director of the Board of the Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel (LAABP). Furthermore, while based on real data, the recommendations contained in the report are hypothetical in nature.

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