Human Relations Appointment, Upcoming Power Resources
By Dianne Anderson
At different junctures along the way, Robbie Butler couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t getting appointed to a commission in the city of Long Beach, even though she had a long presence in the community
But as any Delta Sigma Theta Sorority member would do, she decided to take the initiative and contact her city council member, who worked closely to find a good fit. Last month, Butler was appointed and approved for her post as the city’s new Ethics and Human Relations Commissioner.
Butler, also a member of Black Women United for Progress, said that the organization’s mission is helping Black women in Long Beach get more appointments on commissions, seats and boards, which hasn’t been easy in the past.
“There are several commissions through the city. You find one with a vacancy that you’re interested in and I applied several times before I finally got a nod,” she said, noting there is a glaring disparity in representation.
“It stares you in the face every day until we have just banded together putting other women who are interested in elevating to that particular level,” she said.
As part of her new duties, she will reach out to talk with residents about ways to improve relationships and connect various cultures in the city, including Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans.
Butler, a Delta Sigma Theta Sorority member for 45 years, said that this is the kind of involvement that her sorority thrives on.
“My aunt was a Delta, there was no way I was graduating from college without pledging Delta. Because social action is one of our major thrusts, it’s a big thing for us,” said Butler, who is also the chairperson of the sorority’s social action committee.
On the commission, she hopes to address several key areas within her capacity. She believes that society needs to start talking more with each other rather than at each other, and drop the assumptions that divide the people.
Increasing tolerance for others who are different is the main focus. She feels that often people don’t try to connect if someone doesn’t look like them, or talk like them, or travel in the same circles.
“It’s not as simple as we all get along – but then again it is. It’s important that we talk and find out those things that we have in common as opposed to things we don’t have in common,” she said.
On Saturday, April 23, the annual Ms. Single Mom Empowerment Forum celebration event is hosted by The Speak Up Empowerment Foundation, Inc., Sullivan International, Inc., and the Long Beach Community Improvement League.
Butler, president of the Speak Up Empowerment Foundation, Inc., said that her nonprofit is one of 16 Black-led organizations that received grants through the Black Health Equity Fund. The event was planned last year for in-person before COVID spiked, but she said their virtual this year offers the ladies gifts, prizes, resources and a free lunch for participants on a drive-through.
The community’s single moms are invited to RSVP to the event that runs from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., which is live streamed with her team from the Long Beach Marriott Grand Ballroom.
“Focused Forward to Success” features several motivating speakers, starting with Stacy Lewis, human relations director at the Port of Long Beach, and Courtney Stanton, assistant pastor at E. 105th Street Christian Church. The spotlight is also on the experts, including Dr. Amber Johnson, the Black Health Equity Coordinator and CSULB faculty member. Also featured, Amy Goldman is the director of legal services at Community Legal Aid SoCal, Melissa Coter of Asset Media Group, and Crystal Mozell of Champions for Progress.
She said that each year, her program serves 250 single moms, mostly African American.
“We crafted this day for access to local resources, pertinent information, advanced educational opportunities,” she said. “We’ll have top representatives of the colleges. This day is especially for our single mothers.”
For more information or to RSVP to the free event,