Oct. 6, 2020
It is with immeasurable sadness the UNITE-LA family acknowledges the passing of our beloved colleague, friend and UNITE-LA family member, Dr. Alma Salazar.
At the time of her passing, Alma served as Executive Vice President with her predominant focus on education and workforce development initiatives and policies. Alma joined UNITE-LA in 2000. Since her first day with UNITE-LA, Alma worked to build business/education partnerships to improve the academic achievement, life-long learning, and career success for California’s students. Because of her efforts, the youth of today and generations to come of Los Angeles, California and the nation have a better future. Her list of accomplishments would be too numerous to include here.
Alma graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication, a master’s degree in public policy and administration and doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Alma was awarded the prestigious American Memorial Fellowship by the German Marshall Fund of the United States in 2012.
For those of us in the UNITE-LA family, we can tell you there was no one who worked harder or set the bar higher for the team. Her support as a leader and a friend served as a backbone of UNITE-LA. She had a steely, yet graceful and kind, intensity when focused on doing service for others. She was rock solid reliable, our field commander, a fierce advocate, and our port in every storm. Alma could go from silly to serious and from gentle to tough like magic. Alma never settled or ever looked away from a challenge. She always put L.A.’s youth first – particularly the marginalized, underserved and undocumented. Alma also never wanted any attention for any of her remarkable successes and most likely be none too pleased with this attention.
As her UNITE-LA family, she filled our life with strength of spirit and showed us firsthand what a true fighter looks like. She refused to let cancer stop her from serving the youth of Los Angeles or from continuing to be a member of our team up until the very end. This emptiness we feel is full of despair. Though we are not graced with her presence every day, the force of nature she was will forever remain in us. And we know, we will never stop asking, “What would Alma have done?” We will never stop working to make her proud. And we will never stop until all Los Angeles youth have equal access to the best education and careers.
Not only are all of us at UNITE-LA so grateful to have had the privilege and blessing to work alongside Alma, we are so much the better for it.
Alma’s greatest achievement was not in the office, however, but at home with her family: her six-year-old son, Noah, and partner, Gene. In accordance with her family’s wishes and the work that Alma dedicated her career to, we will be establishing a scholarship in her name. For those of you who would like to join us in honoring Alma, please reach out to Natalie Pitman, UNITE-LA's Director of Operations and Strategy, or you may make an online donation at our website, or feel free to send checks with a note indicating, Alma Salazar Scholarship, to our office address (1055 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1750, Los Angeles, CA 90017) if you would like to contribute.
United in our love of Alma,
The UNITE-LA Family