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Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission
Commemorates the Memory of Honorary Commissioner
Catherine G. (Kate) Stern
Los Angeles, CA— “Honorary Commissioner Catherine G. (Kate) Stern will be remembered as a leading Commissioner who for over four and one-half decades served the cause for civil and human rights in Los Angeles County,” said Dr. Sandra Thomas, President, Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, at the November 1, 2010 Commission meeting adjournment.
Catherine, or Kate as she liked to be called, was appointed to the Human Relations Commission in 1959 by the late Los Angeles County Supervisor John Anson Ford, who founded the Commission on Human Relations whose mission is to foster positive relations across differences based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender bias.
After her retirement from the Commission, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky appointed Kate Stern as an Honorary Human Relations Commissioner.
"With Commissioner Stern's passing, we've lost a part of our living history of the County's Human Relations Commission," stated Robin S. Toma, the Commission's Executive Director. "She was a pioneer for women in our field, and I feel privileged to have known her."
“Kate really cared about human relations” said Commissioner Eleanor Montaño, who served on the Commission with Kate for more than twenty-eight years. “She was always prepared with information and resources to further the work of the Commission.” “Her papers are being contributed to the University of Southern California,” she added.
Commissioner Lea Ann King says she will remember Commissioner Stern for her tenacity and ability to get things done: “Kate Stern served on the Human Relations Commission when women were seldom seen on boards and commissions and demonstrated how capable and effective women are as community leaders. Not only did she serve as a role model for women but she stood as a stalwart advocate for programs that promoted understanding and inclusion of all people in Los Angeles County.”
As a social activist for civil and human rights, Kate Stern was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown as a delegate to the White House Conference on Childhood and Youth; and was invited to the White House by President Dwight Eisenhower. She was on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Children and Youth, appointed by the governor serving a term from 1967 to 1968. She served on the Women’s Advisory Council, California Fair Employment Practices Commission; and the Community Relations Committee-L.A. Jewish Federation where she initiated efforts to create historic designation for the Manzanar War Relocation Camp in Owens Valley, California.
As an artist, her second passion, Kate Stern was acknowledged by Lu Haas, Master Art Critic and Historian: “Kate Stern’s Art shows the same flair, depth of feeling and intelligence as her long work in the field of human relations and civil rights.” Stern has exhibited her art at many prominent art shows and juried as well, most recently at the Los Angeles City Hall, Senior Art Exhibit. She once stated: “To me, art is seeing far beyond looking—it is being aware of the uniqueness of the ordinary—the excitement that surrounds us! And this I struggle to express through the prism of my own emotions and sensitivity, and then I hope it all comes together and reveals itself creatively.”
Born November 19, 1909, Kate moved to Los Angeles with her family as an elementary school student, and went on to graduate from the then brand new Los Angeles High School, and UCLA where she was in the second class to graduate at the new Westwood campus with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1932.
Kate was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She met and married her late husband; Meyer Price Stern in the 1930’s and reared a daughter Mathilde and son Dean (deceased 2001). She is survived by her daughter Mathilde and five grandchildren.
Commissioner Stern passed away September 23, 2010. A memorial service was held at her home on October 24th with family and friends and former Los Angeles County Supervisor Edmund Edelman gave remarks.