The Passing of a Beloved Community Leader

A tribute to Lark Galloway-Gilliam by Monte Roulier, a founding board member of Community Commons

Lark Galloway-Gilliam, Executive Director of the Los Angeles-based Community Health Council, passed away late last week. Lark was a long-standing and influential champion and advocate for underserved and under resourced communities of LA—expanding access to healthcare, boosting access to nutritious food, and growing healthy and safe neighborhood environments.

LGG_HeadshotHer legacy and impact, however, are in no way confined to the LA area. Lark chaired the National REACH Coalition and helped shape the way we think about and the ways we act to advance healthy, inclusive and equitable communities.

Lark was also an early champion of the Community Commons platform and had recently joined the board of IP3, which stewards the Commons. Despite her many commitments and her battle with a long-term illness, she always found time to contribute generously.

We were privileged to have Lark join us for a Google Hangout last spring on the subject of the Healthy Communities Movement. Hear her inspiring response to the question, “What’s on the horizon for the movement?”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said,

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

Lark seemed to embody these insights on love and power by organizing community voices, by challenging the status quo as a fiercely independent thinker, and by helping to humanize situations with her keen sense of humor. She was a social innovator who took risks with aplomb and steadiness of nerve.

All of us on the IP3 Board and Community Commons Team mourn the loss of a dear colleague, while also celebrating the legacy of this well-lived life. Lark Galloway-Gillam had the rare gift of truly seeing the dignity inherent in all human beings. She will be greatly missed.

To see the full Google Hangout with all of Lark’s comments, please visit here.

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