From Lark’s Yoga Class: I remember her very well: we all knew and loved her, coming in late to yoga class on Saturday, a friend. I had heard, and read about her in several newspapers, and cut her picture out and put it in my wallet. Adrienne Smith- Crenshaw Yoga
Dear Family and Friends: I am the Reverend Dr. Luther Holland and I remember a young girl who grew into a beautiful, spirit-fill, fantastic leader in the South Central area of Los Angeles. I was a ministerial colleague of her Father, The Reverend Lloyd Galloway who was the Pastor at our sister U.C.C., Lincoln Memorial Church and we exchanged pulpit many times. Lark used to baby sit our two children J. J. and Kimberly Holland who are now in their 40’s. Lark, like her mother, was a creative spirit who loved her family very much and like her dad, understood the needs of the community and dedicated herself to getting something done to improve the quality of life for our sisters and brothers. Her loss at such a young age is difficult to comprehend and we know it will be a difficult time for her family, friends, and love ones but know that God knows best and God needed Lark to assist in organizing some community efforts up in heaven. My prayers are with the family and her creative health care voice that will not be silenced but will continue to advocate for the homeless, unemployed and under-employed in her beloved Los Angeles. Shalom, Rev. Dr. Luther Holland
From a long-time friend and member of her Dad’s church: My family has been part of your family for a very long time. We know you will miss Lark very much. May the peace of God that passeth all understanding be with you in the days ahead. Her work will continue and she will never be forgotten. God Bless you! Clarence & Helena Williams and family Hello, I was quite surprised to hear the very sad news. I did not know her well but as a past and current REACH recipient, I had the good fortune to listen to Lark speak through a variety of conferences. The last time that I saw her was last year and I was so moved by what she said, that I made my way over to her, through a crowd of people, and I spoke to for a few minutes letting her know how much I appreciated her message and compassion for all of those around her. I am a bit introverted so I don’t usually go out of my way to speak to people that I don’t know well, but in this case, I felt the need to share my thoughts with her. I would like to express my deepest regrets to her family and loved ones and to let them know that Lark Galloway touched many people and is a very special soul. Sincerely, Cathy Edgerly REACH Program Manager Inter-Tribal Council of MI. REACH Journey to Wellness Tribes
Greetings All, We wanted to let you know of a post we published today on the California Budget Project’s blog, remembering Lark’s many contributions and, in particular, her leadership role in our organization. http://californiabudgetbites.org/2014/12/16/remembering-lark-galloway-gilliam-a-longtime-part-of-the-cbp-family/ Best Wishes, Chris Hoene Executive Director California Budget Project The content of this dedication will be posted among the tributes Thank you, CHC, for providing those of us who were blessed to know Lark this opportunity. Lark was one of the kindest people I ever had a chance to meet. We were first introduced when I started working on the South Los Angeles Alliance of neighborhood Councils SLAANC). She was immediately warm and welcoming and made me feel right away like I belonged. In what could have been a difficult situation coming in as a new representative and relative outsider, she made it much easier. After seeing how welcoming she was when we were first met, I couldn’t help but then be struck by her dynamism. She was a fierce, fierce advocate for her community. She had such a strong presence at our meetings. But because she had such great awareness, she never used that strength to belittle anyone. I had the fortune of working with Lark on presentation leading up to the Congress of Neighborhoods event. She was so diligent and so accessible throughout that process. Her dedication to making sure South LA had a voice at that event was never in doubt to me. I was so grateful that I could see that project to fruition with her and the others that had contributed. I am now left wondering how we will fill the void she’ll be leaving in her absence. I know the values she embodied in her well-lived life will still be within all of us, at the Empowerment Congress West, SLAANC, and the Community Health Councils, so that gives me great comfort. I hope we will all be able to channel her wonderful spirit in the work that we do going forward. And I think that is the best tribute that we can give her and best way for us to pay her our respects. Thank you so much again for this opportunity. Sincerely, Brett Shears, Lark’s fellow SLAANC member At-Large Representative, North Area Neighborhood Development Council (NANDC), Chair, Community Committee Delegate to the South Los Angeles Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (SLAANC) Budget Advocate (Region 10), Chair, IT and General Services Committee
I’ve been out of the state for a while, so I am devastated to hear about the recent passing of Lark. I, along with (what I imagine) many other individuals, organizations, and communities that have been touched by Lark, mourn the loss of an amazing human being, colleague, community leader, and advocate. I first met Lark very early in my career, when I was a MSW student and through our work with the Los Angeles Welfare Reform Coalition—for which she was one of the co-founders and leaders. I will always remember Lark as not only a tremendous healthcare advocate and expert, but also a leader who remained connected with the communities that were directly impacted by these policies and systems. The Community Health Councils and its work, in my mind, are a testament to her commitment to community. And I’m saddened because she will never know this, but I’ve always remembered our interactions and she was an important influence in my own career. She will truly be missed. Dennis Kao, MSW, PhD Assistant Professor California State University, Fullerton Department of Social Work
Note: A friend’s interpretation of what Lark’s name stands for that is demonstrated in her life. The beauty of this relationship is that Joy grew up in Lark’s Dad’s church and they have known each other since childhood. L – Loyal to advocating for the less fortunate in our community. Loyal to the mission, goals and objectives of CHS. Loyal to her beliefs and service to the community A – She put the A in Advocacy and Activism through CHS and through S.L.A.A.N.C and through all her interactions with other community leaders and politicians. R – She was respected by all K – She was simply a kind person I will miss her. Joy Atkinson Commissioner Board of Neighborhood Commissioners
Here are my thoughts about Lark: “I was very lucky to be part of the first small group of five women at CHC— Lark was for me one-of-a-kind of a boss — she is very intelligent, charismatic, but primarily very passionate and dedicated to what she is doing best— listening to people and pulling their thoughts and strengths together to form a productive solution in order to improve the standards of life and health of the ones in need!! From Lark, I learned to appreciate all the things that are parts of the process, and not be too fixated with the end-product only. Be happy with a little difference we can make… everything counts! It was delightful to get to know Lark on the personal level–she is a warm and caring person. She is not really a boss, but rather a close friend! She always make sure that we are happy, but also cares about our other halves, our family. Although she is always busy, she can still have an eye on us: she stayed late with me a few times to help me out in making photocopies and stapling them together!! Not something a boss would love to do! But that’s Lark! When I decided to get married, she pulled the staff together and insisted to help me organize my wedding in L.A.! They did a wonderful job!! At CHC, we were like a little family!! It was a wonderful place to work! Lark, thanks so much for all the things you have given me. You are my special friend! Big hugs, Cecile Giaon
I am honored and so grateful to have had Lark as a boss, mentor, “mother” and friend. As she did with so many others, Lark lovingly helped me to grow up, find my voice and strengthen my resolve for racial and social justice. There is so much more to say, which I’ll save for a later time. We’ll be keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Please give extra hugs to Robin when you see her. Jennifer Chang
Note: A poem written by a childhood friend Lisa Suguitan Melnick Now that Lark has moved on Though we know it was time God’s Time leaves us imagining A world With Lark not Without. Now this: Looking forward The trees still moaned The sky spoke its striations of gray The wind’s fingers fluttered among, revealing The beyond blue beyond Yemaya agitated her petticoats her Sister, Mother. I did not want to have this conversation with you, my SoCA pamilya But I thought you’d like to know on either side of this here line All the –ed’s That a smile at the sound of Lark’s husky voice Delivered a snappy line of her humor The brilliance in Larkie’s eyes Opened the gateway to her sparkling mind And to the tears in my heart sharing this Sister as you do. With so much love, Lisa December, 2014
Good morning. Please receive my heartfelt condolences on the passing Ms. Galloway-Gilliam. Please, keep me informed of memorial arrangements. Thank you Untoria, Leida @dpss.lacounty.
I first and foremost have to say that LGG (as we called her) will be missed deeply. As a former employee of Community Health Councils, I owe so much to Lark for contributing to where I am today in my public health career. I remember the day I interviewed with Lark for a position at CHC and how much she drilled me and didn’t hold back on the questions she asked me. Even though I was nervous at first, there was something very calming and welcoming about her personality and spirit. I had the opportunity to work with Lark for 3 years and I learned so much from her during that time. My inner advocate was blossomed and nurtured by Larks guidance and mentorship, any idea I had she literally would let me run with it! My heart goes out to Gwen and the entire CHC team. Lark was special and a rare breed, and her legacy for advocacy will live on through all of us! Regards, Tanishia Wright Program Analyst Nutrition and Physical Activity Program County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health
Thank you for relaying this difficult-to-receive message. I am devastated, speechless. Among Lark’s many accomplishments was organizing a disparate group of Executive Directors of community NPOs into a viable organization which sought, among other things, to keep our public officials accountable to their constituents and to South Los Angeles. Her departure creates a true void in our community. Sincerely, Jackie Kimbrough, PhD Executive Director The Children’s Collective, Inc. On behalf of The L.A. Trust and myself, we stand with you in mourning the loss of this incredible advocate and heroine. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and her family. Maryjane Puffer
I am so sorry to hear of Lark’s passing. I want to extend my sincere sympathy to the CHC team. CRCD lost one of its co-founders in Dec. 2012 – Ruth Teague – and it has been deeply painful for us at many levels. My heart goes out to all of you, and to Lark’s circle of family and friends. Carrying on the important work of the organization in the midst of loss is hard; take care of yourselves too. With sympathy, Kirsten Grimm | Deputy Director Coalition for Responsible Community Development I am very sorry for your loss. I am so sorry I never got the chance to meet her. May God comfort her family, and staff during this time. Thank you for telling me. Sincerely yours, Crystal O. Jones I am so very sad to hear about Lark’s passing. I first met her at a health care focus group. She was always kind and friendly to me. I loved that she was so smart! Peace be to all of her family and friends. Ase’ Wanda E Green Uigei
So sorry to hear of Lark’s passing. She will be missed by many. Helen Arriola Governmental and Community Relations Officer
Good evening! Saying so long is hard. I always wish I’d known about the departure to diminish the shock. Just wanted you to know that the Metro board adjourned today in Lark’s honor. Thought I could get thru without tearing up but I didn’t and that’s Ok. Metro Staff and board, along with audience, one by one shared personal stories with me. I hope Lark is hovering over to know what a great impact she had. I’ve asked the board secretary to send you a copy from the Minutes. Please provide me with a USPS address to be used to transmit that information. Thanks and be well! “Jackie” Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director Metro and President Ward Economic Development Corporation
I am really sorry for our loss. My prayers and thoughts with the CHC family. May her dreams for a healthier South LA carry us forward into action. Anne Kim
I am very sorry to hear your sad news. I hope that you will be sending out the message about her memorial through your email list. CHC is a highly effective force for good in the community, Sincerely, Florence Nishida UCCE Certified Master Gardener GLAVG (Grow LA Victory Garden) Coordinator LA Green Grounds, Founder
Thanks for the message regarding Lark Galloway-Gilliam’s passing. I am tremendously sad to hear of it. Her leadership in the community will be greatly missed. I’m sure it is a difficult moment for everyone at CHC as well. My thoughts are with you all. Best, Sahra Sulaiman Communities Editor for Boyle Heights and South LA, Streetsblog LA
Hello CHC Family, Our love and positive thoughts go out to each and every one of you during this time. Lark and the work you all did getting that CTG grant is one of the reasons I was hired here at PB and for that I am eternally grateful. She gave Pacoima a place at the table when not many people do. She was also my buddy at the Recode L.A. Zoning Advisory Committee meetings. I will miss her. Please let me know about services planned for her. Keep your heads up, Yvette Pacoima Office Yvette Lopez
Dear, dear friends, I am so terribly and profoundly saddened by the news of Lark’s passing. She has been an exemplary leader and visionary that we can only hope to model. What a loss for social justice, for her work and personal family and for all of us that benefited from her tremendous efforts. This is truly a sad moment. Wishing you all strength during this painful time. In health… Ellen and all the Office of Women’s Health Ellen Eidem
My heartfelt sympathy and prayers goes out to Lark’s family and many friends, she will be deeply missed and her work will not go unappreciated. Sincerely, Barbara Lott-Holland Labor Community Strategy Center Co-chair Bus riders Union
My heart is filled with sorrow and with gratitude for all that Lark did and the impact and imprint she made on us all in the community. My prayers are with the staff and board. Know we will continue to be there for you. Gwendolyn W. Young, President Amen Lark! It is done and it is well with my soul! Peace, Charles Zacharie, Stakeholder and former Neighborhood Council Member (Treasurer) Newparkview Our sincere condolences from HealthRIGHT360. Truly a great and committed leader! Walter Taylor
I am appreciative that you sent word of the sad news about Lark. I have attached my own brief memorial (see page 2) that I will be distributing to the Grayburn Ave. Block Club, tomorrow morning at our event. Peace, Lynetta McElroy, Captain The National REACH Coalition mourns the loss of its co-founder and former Board Chair, Lark Galloway-Gilliam, who passed away on Monday December 1, 2014. Throughout her lifetime, Lark worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the most vulnerable among us. As the Executive Director of the Community Health Councils (CHC) in Los Angeles, Lark was a staunch advocate for health equity and quality healthcare for racial and ethnic communities. In 2004 along with other REACH 2010 grantees, Lark envisioned and worked to establish the coalition that would become the NRC. She was its first Board Chair, providing the guidance, insight and leadership needed to position the organization as a national network working in communities across the country to overcome racial and ethnic health disparities. Lark’s legacy is, and will continue to be, an inspiration to all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, her CHC family, and all the people whose lives have been touched by her.
To Lark’s Family, I’m very sorry for your loss. It was an honor to be a small part of her life. She was full of light and demonstrated such strength and optimism. It was contagious and my day was always better after seeing her. Her spirit and all of you are in my prayers. Sincerely, Dr. Koh-Kaiser Physician
Dearest Robin, and Galloway, Evans, Banday, Gilliam Family, What I am overwhelmed with beautiful and wonderful Lark’s passing, she is forever with you and us. Anne’s thrill, at her re-introduction to LA, at having a boss whom she could laugh with about the Centennial High connection, who inspired her, quickly became her mentor, quickly became among her closest of friends; The immediate and tangible warmth of Lark’s parties at her house, her radiance about her daughter, Robin; The organization built from scratch, with a warrior for justice, a prescient caller for community, at its core; The seriousness, yet joy, the intentionality, yet spontaneity, of two wonderful baby showers at Lark’s house, forever etched in memory, and family history; Becoming neighbors, in no small part, because we wanted to be near her; The to-the-bones love and warmth of what became a wonderful tradition of Thanksgiving with the extended family, such a wonderful family, that welcomed us, with all our rough edges and rambunctious kids, into the fold; Our Max and Ella’s “Auntie,” their beloved “Auntie”; My walks around the block on a Saturday or a Sunday, with our Max and Ella, with a stop at Auntie Lark’s and Robin’s, food for the soul, food for the soul with my friend, Lark; Sitting in the living room on these walks, talking community, talking politics, talking racial justice, economic justice, health justice, CHC, LCSC, Crenshaw High School, LAUSD, UTLA, USC, civil rights groups, neighborhood council, getting advice, getting insights about leadership, getting a push about leadership, feeling grounded; Standing with Lark at Crenshaw High, in front of 100 parents, talking about CHC and the fight for health justice; When needing a place for the kids, feeling wonderful that Max and Ella are with Lark and Robin, and sometimes the extended family, not just a “place to be” for a few hours, but relationships for life for our kids;When Crenshaw High stakeholders had nowhere else to go, when we had to have political meetings during tense times, calling up Lark, and having her open CHC’s door to students, parents, community organizations, teachers; Listening to Lark playing piano with Ella, standing on the sidewalk with Lark and proudly seeing Max ride his bike without training wheels for the first time, into a bush, watching Lark and Robin coach Max and Ella into feeling comfortable with the dog, smelling the grass and dirt in Lark’s front yard as she helps Ella water the flowers; Mentioning Lark’s name to class after class of Crenshaw High School students, they knew how much they benefited from dozens and dozens of internships in food equity and access, in urban planning, in environmental health that Lark made sure came to Crenshaw students; Warmth, love, Thanksgiving with wonderful family, leader, mentor, friend, neighbor, advisor, someone whom you are truly proud to know and love, and whom you know truly makes you a better person; Wonderful, beautiful Lark will always be with us. Alex- Love- Alex, Anne, Pat, Max and Ella
Grayburn Avenue residents warmly remember Lark Galloway-Gilliam as Chair of the Endeavor Space Shuttle Transport Task Force. We are very grateful for the recent trimming of our majestic Chinese Elm trees due to Lark’s tireless efforts. The trees had grown so much that large branches would, without warning, suddenly crack and fall on front lawns and cars on our street. Although the trees had not been cut in many years, the City of Los Angeles had tree trimming scheduled for Grayburn Avenue far into the future. Through her work on the Endeavor Task Force, Lark successfully negotiated tree trimming on Grayburn Avenue and other streets in the Leimert Park area. Without her efforts, we surely would have had serious problems with falling branches due to the recent heavy rains that occurred in our area last month. Residents have noticed many newly planted trees on Coliseum, Rodeo and other nearby streets. Lark was instrumental in obtaining a 4 to 1 tree replacement ratio in regard to the trees that were cut due to the Endeavor Transport as opposed to the 2 to 1 tree replacement pursuant to Los Angeles City Ordinances.
In other words, we breathe easier, here in Leimert Park, due to the foresight and perseverance of one woman, Lark Galloway-Gilliam. On a personal note, I watched Lark in numerous meetings. She was thoughtful, fair, knowledgeable and forthright, with a sense of humor that would put the whole room at ease. She will be sorely missed. Lynetta A.S. McElroy, J.D., Captain Grayburn Avenue Block Club January 9, 2015
I met Lark during the summer of 1996 when I applied for a job at CHC. When I arrived, I sat in the conference room and noticed that someone had written “Robin Gilliam” all over one of the white boards, and I thought – “No way – could this person possibly be related to Ed Gilliam?” who was my principal at Centennial High School in Compton a few years prior. And of course, this is how I began the cosmic connection to Lark, Robin and the rest of her beautiful family. Lark and I realized rather quickly that we truly enjoyed and respected each other, and became true friends over the coming years. I always appreciated the fact that she never treated me like an inexperienced punk-kid (and yet, I was exactly that), but instead demonstrated confidence and always pushed me to move beyond my comfort zone in our work together. Lark was the kind of boss that you felt proud to work for, and that you knew would be a terrific sounding board to help problem-solve and/or really evaluate all of the angles of a policy issue. All of us vied for alone-time with LGG, and loved driving with her to meetings all over Los Angeles County. That woman was almost never on time to these endless meetings, but she would regularly tell us, “I may not be on time, but I am always in time,” with a wink and smile. And there was never a more true statement uttered. She could turn a dry, seemingly pointless policy discussion into a meaningful and action-oriented meeting within minutes. No kidding. She was absolutely lovely to work for and with, and I was incredibly sad to leave her and my co-workers at CHC a few years later. In fact, when I gave her my resignation – she was not loving Anne Caputo-Pearl so much that day. There was a bit of distance between us for a few days, and then I decided that enough was enough and sat myself down in her office and blubbered all over her and she did the same with me. We understood that we were both saddened at the prospect of not working with each other every day, and erroneously thought that having some distance would make the parting easier to bear. That moment provided us both with the opportunity to tell each other how much we loved and cared for the other, and that the relationship wouldn’t change – just the geography.
Thankfully, my husband and I decided to buy a house on the block behind my good friend – forever binding her to our family. Then, when I returned to nursing school, she took great pity on me and let me work for her 1 day per week for a few years. And the truth was that I benefitted from that situation far more than she or CHC did. I managed to get pregnant and have a child during that period of time, and found a whole new round of wonderful CHC folks to love. Lark helped organize not one, but two baby showers for me over the years and has served as a loving Auntie to our kids. Then there is Robin . . . Who knew that this girl in middle school, who I met at CHC many years ago would become not only a friend, but a trusted care giver for my kids? I remember Robin coming to CHC to sit patiently and finish her homework, and bug her mother about “When are we going home? When are you going to finish your work?” One afternoon, I decided to ask Robin, “Do you know what kind of work we do at CHC? What your mother does here?” And of course, she wasn’t entirely sure – so we talked. She asked good questions, and seemed to have a tiny light bulb moment of understanding that her mother was doing an incredibly important job, and in fact – was quite good at that job. As we all know, Robin grew into a beautiful, caring, incredibly intelligent and conscientious woman who set a high bar for those of trying to be good daughters to our mothers. Lark (and Ed) raised a fantastic daughter, who will go on to make her own mark on the world, in her own way, and in her own time. No doubt.
I love Lark, and could never fully express what she meant and means to me, and can’t believe that she is no longer here with us. BUT, I have countless comforting memories of this great woman, and will keep her in my heart until I too am no longer here.