Alice Walker Duff to Receive Community Action Award
Alice Walker Duff ’69, co-founder and executive director of Crystal Stairs, Inc., will be presented with the Occidental College Urban & Environmental Policy Institute’s first Community Action Award on Tuesday, April 18.
Duff was selected as the first recipient of the award “because of her more than three decades of tireless and effective advocacy for civil rights, quality education, the arts, and most notably, for diverse and high-quality children’s services,” said Robert Gottlieb, Institute director.
The Community Action Award was created by the Institute to honor Occidental alumni and students who through community partnerships, education, research and advocacy have played a major role in promoting social justice and greater community participation in the political and economic life of the region.
“Whether as co-founder of Crystal Stairs, founding member of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, principal author of the city’s Cultural Master Plan, or as a member of the Los Angeles Educational Partnership, Alice has been instrumental in making Southern California a better and more just place,” Gottlieb said.
Duff will receive the award at a 5 p.m. outdoor ceremony at the Institute, 1882 Campus Road, on the north side of Occidental’s Eagle Rock campus. Occidental senior Fernando Cazares will be presented with the Institute’s student Community Action Award.
Both Duff and Cazares also will be recognized by Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg’s office at the ceremony.
Founded by Duff and Karen Hill-Scott in 1980 to promote healthy, enriching lives for children and their families, Los Angeles-based Crystal Stairs is one of the largest private, non-profit child development agencies in California.
Unique in its merger of direct child care service with research and advocacy, Crystal Stairs’ multiethnic, bilingual staff provide a variety of services, including child care for low-income families and for parents participating in welfare-to-work programs, child care referrals, and funding for nutritious meals served to children in the care of licensed child care providers.
Crystal Stairs also developed and manages a school-age child care center in the Nickerson Gardens public housing development, where it employs a model child care program it created with management, residents, and the Black Women’s Forum.
President of the California Child Care Resource and Referral Services Network, Duff also serves on a variety of boards and committees, including the Center for Child Care Work Force, the Los Angeles County Family Preservation Policy Committee, and the Los Angeles County Service Planning Area Operations Committee.
Born and raised in Harlem, Duff received her master’s degree in sociology and doctorate in urban planning from UCLA after obtaining an undergraduate degree in sociology from Occidental.
Occidental College’s Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (www.uepi.oxy.edu) is a community-centered group of affiliated programs in urban and environmental policy, education, and grass-roots organizing. These programs focus on regional and community development, work and industrial policy, food and nutrition, housing, transportation and land use.
The Community Action Awards program and open house will also include displays and a presentation on the Institute’s 12 affiliated programs and centers.