Happy Birthday Dr. C

Happy Birthday Dr. C

Hardy L. Brown

Hardy L. Brown

Dr. Lulumae Clemons and I worked at Kaiser Permanente in Fontana for several years together before she retired. Dr. C, as close friends called her, was the Department Administrator of Education and Training. And being an African American in that position brought more challenges than her predecessor had to encounter.

I was the Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator with responsibilities to develop and implement the company’s Affirmative Action Program plus be the in house expert on any issues of race, sex, age, national origin and people with disabilities that surfaced in the Fontana Medical Center service area, which included Riverside at the time.

hardy_brown_lulamae_clemonsSo when Dr. C was hired that increased my activity because some people did not want to follow her instruction or believed she knew what she was doing or that she had the support of then Hospital Administrator Franklin Boeckman.

I had heard of Dr. C civil rights reputation before she arrived at Kaiser so I knew they were in for a surprise. She surprised me too because she had so much class and style with how she would go about doing her duties and address those who would oppose her actions on racial reasons. I was more confrontational sometimes but Dr. C had finesse.

We had another companion to help us by the name of Richard “Dick” Webster, Director of Housekeeping Department. Sometimes after a department head meeting where some issue with racial implications would raise its head, Dr. C would approach me and say we need to go off campus and talk. She would layout the scenario and offer a strategy to address the issue without embarrassing anyone. In essence correcting the issue while furthering the goals of equal employment and affirmative action.

She taught me that being consistently confrontational is not wise plus it creates enemies in the long run. I was blessed to have her as a mentor and friend during those initial days of breaking new ground in building a diverse workplace.

It was Dr. C who helped knock down the nursing program at Chaffey College for not including Blacks and Latinos. I arranged the meeting, but I needed Dr. C to explain Kaiser’s need to develop a diverse workforce to the president of the college as well as the president of the board of trustees.

My approach was to tell them to either include Blacks and Latinos in their program or go somewhere else to train their students. Dr. C’s approach gained us a friend and Chaffey found Blacks and Latinos for their next session of nursing classes.

Now I understand that my friend is turning 96 on her birthday. She is still as good looking as when I first met her and still as spry in her movement. I know God has rewarded her for being obedient to his word by treating everyone with dignity and respect. Have a happy birthday and joyous celebration and thank you for being a blessing to so many people in our community.

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