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Wanda Combs-Moore
     

South Central Los Angeles to the Seat of Power

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It is hard to believe that on September 29, 1999 it will be one year since Tom Bradley lost his fight for life.

Tom Bradley was a dreamer, he believed that the impossible was possible. He dared to be and became, the policeman, the attorney, the city councilman and the first Black Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, not just one term, but five terms, twenty years. Fifty-two years as a public servant and twenty incredible years as the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, he made a difference.

I was there and I know he made a difference.

For the first time all the people of Los Angeles felt connected, inclusive because he cared. There was excitement in the air, hope, and expectations. The doors of city hall were swung wide opened and people came from near and far, all walks of life and all were welcome.

Because of his desire for change, for a better life, he refused to let his color deny him. Often time, I would shake my head in disbelief, this man was born during a time racism was a fact of life, when a Black man had the burden of the world on his shoulders, just trying to survive. There was no hope, no future. It only made Tom Bradley more determined.

I had been a city employee for at least fifteen years before I went to work for Councilman Tom Bradley. Two years later, history was made when Tom Bradley was elected Mayor in 1973, and our lives changed forever. On his watch, the City of Los Angeles became a world class city and the jewel of the pacific.

Tom Bradley meant so much, to so many, he had that special thing of making all around him feel special, yes we miss him. The man is gone, but his spirit and legacy remains. I remember and will always be grateful for the confidence he had in me. Tom Bradley was a gift to us all.



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