- ABOUT US
Mark Anthony Clayton-Johnson
Vice Chairperson, Chairperson Cheryl Tawede Grills, Ph.D.
Commissioner Cheryl Grills, Ph.D. was appointed to the Commission by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on November 29, 2011.
Dr. Grills is a clinical psychologist by training with a current emphasis in Community Psychology. She is Professor of Psychology at Loyola Marymount University and Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts.
Dr. Grills is the national President of The Association of Black Psychologists and founder and director of Imoyase Community Support Services, a non-profit program evaluation and consulting organization serving community-based organizations and foundations around the country. Among the honors and awards she has received is her election in 2004 to the title of "Distinguished Psychologist" by the Association of Black Psychologists (the association's highest honor).
Dr. Grills is a graduate of Yale University and UCLA. Her research interests, publications and current projects include African-centered models of treatment engagement with African Americans; substance abuse prevention and treatment, community psychology; community mental health, prevention, and the provision of action research and program evaluation services to community based organizations engaged in social action, community change and prevention on a host of issues including the those related to public policy and environmental change strategies to address childhood obesity in communities of color, education reform, health care, slum housing, homelessness, the prison industrial complex, reentry reduction of recidivism from incarceration for African American women, culturally based approaches to mentoring, and issues related to disproportionality in child welfare and juvenile justice.
Dr. Grills consults nationally on a number of issues particularly regarding matters of cultural and social competence, multiculturalism and Afrocentric interventions. She has also studied under traditional medical practitioners in Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal and is a registered member of the Ghana National Association of Traditional Healers.
Commissioner Christian Zarate was appointed to the Commission by Honorable Supervisor Janice Hahn on January 28, 2020.
Mr. Zarate is the President of J316 Builder, a service disabled veteran owned small business. He proudly served with the United States Army as a U.S. Paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. He then continued his service with the California Army National Guard. He knew at a very young age that his passion was helping people, his community and especially youth. He graduated from the Rio Hondo Police Academy and had a very fulfilled career, serving 15 years in law enforcement.
During his tenure in law enforcement his accomplishments encompassed the creation of the Police Officers Association where he held the title of President. He authored and implemented the K-9 Drug and Narcotics Detection Program. Mr. Zarate was the keynote speaker for several school district, superintendents, faculty, staff, and students, on the topic of social media, cyber bullying, child abuse, and mental health awareness. He specialized and built an expertise as an instructor in juvenile intervention, drug and narcotics recognition (DRE), street gangs, cartel and cross border violence. His assignments included patrol officer, special investigations unit - gang and narcotics detective, special response team, school resource officer, community relations officer, and K9 handler.
As of today, Mr. Zarate has devoted much of his time to different organizations including the most dearest one to his heart, The Boys & Girls Club. He became a Board Director in 2017 and has taken his commitment to the youth as a beautiful challenge to help grow the organization and has contributed his resources to achieve that goal."