Making Waves 2020: Ozie B. Gonzaque, The Woman Behind "To Protect & Serve"

For Black History month we honor outstanding community members through our Making Waves campaign. Ozie B. Gonzaque is the first person to be highlighted out of our class of five amazing honorees.

February 3, 2020

Ozie B Gonzaque, An LA Hero

The endurance, professionalism and leadership Ozie B. Gonzaque epitomizes have made her one of the most prominent Chairpersons of the Los Angeles Housing Authority.

Ozie served as a Commissioner under the appointment of Mayor Tom Bradley for eight years. Under Mayor Richard Riordan, Ms. Gonzaque was one of the few Commissioners reappointed. She was also reappointed by Mayor James Hahn.  She served as Chairperson for City of Los Angeles’ Housing Authority for eleven (11) years of the 18 years she served. Her leadership united the spirited and upward mobility of Housing for Urban Development, the entire staff of the L.A. City Housing Authority, residents of the 21 housing developments, and the community at large.

Ozie B. Gonzaque is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas; she and her family moved to Monroe, Lousiana in 1940, following their father’s labors in mining. In 1944, she moved to Watts, California with her parents and four sisters. She is the proud mother of three daughters, two stepdaughters, and two stepsons. She is the grandmother of seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.  She worked at both the “Club Alabam” and the Zombie Night Club rocking with Central Avenue.  She then shortly became a Supervisor for Fradelis Frozen Foods for 12 years, taking her into her volunteerism as she played a major role in the Bureau of Consumer Affairs for 10 years.

In addition to her tenure as Chairperson of the City of Los Angeles’ Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, she was the Chairperson of the Housing Authority’s Security Committee; a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the City of Los Angeles’ Enterprise Zone’ served as a Committee member for the 108 HUD Community Development Bank; is a member of the Commissioners of Committee of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO); she was a Rater for the Los Angeles Police Department, of the few minorities to serve on the Oral Board for 25 years, and she was a Hearing Officer for the interview process for the Board of Rights for the L.A. Police Department.  Ozie is well known as a “grass roots” representative who fought for the respect, rights and opportunities for the residents of the housing developments, and those in transitional and/or growth oriented stages of their lives. Examples of her special missions included the initiation of the Beautification Program, encouraging celebration at Christmas by the decorating of individual units by residents. Special recognition was given to competing residents of the Christmas decorating contest.

Other accomplishments include the creation of the logo, ‘To Protect and Serve,’ which currently appears on all police vehicles; founder and president of the Southeast Easterettes, a support group of LA Police Department; recognition in Who’s Who of Black America; bestowed honor of the “Gonzaque Tree Grove” in Will Rogers Park; Woman of the Year in 1991 through then Congresswoman, Maxine Waters; recipient of Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite-Burke’s commendation; People’s Choice Award as role model in 1990;  Bicentennial Award in 1986; Outstanding Community Service Award in 1984; Meritorious Award form Los Angeles Police Department in 1978; and recipient of Community Services Award from the 77th Street Businessmen’s Booster Association.  Received “Wattstar-of-the-Year Award” in 2016 and served as Co-Chair of the Watts Cinema and Education Center, with over 40 prominent businessmen and businesswoman, with Glenda Wina of the Office of Protocol, County of Los Angeles until 2017.