December 29, 2016
Curtis Owens passed away Christmas day of this year. He was a native of Philadelphia and was inducted into the Central State University Achievement Hall of Fame on March 6, 2012. Owens was the executive senior advisor to former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“Curtis was a wonderful person and good friend,” said Danny Bakewell Sr., publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times.
“The information of his passing was devastating to receive during the Christmas weekend considering it has not been that long since his wife Edna (Owens) transitioned last year. Edna and Curtis were close friends of my wife Aline and I, so our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the Owens family.”
Owens graduated from Central State in 1962 and later received his M.P.A. from Temple University. He worked here in the Los Angeles community about 30 years. He served the African American Community in particular for most of this time.
In 1983 he served as the president of Universal Management Corporation before moving on as president of the African American Unity Center. As president of the Unity Center, Owens was instrumental in providing emergency rescue services to residents of South Central following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, as well as partnered with the Brotherhood Crusade to establish successful job training programs like the waiter waitress school which trained students with the skills necessary to enter into the waiters union and obtain jobs in some of Southern California’s most luxurious hotels and restaurants.
Owens also opened South Centrals first Construction Apprenticeship School to train African Americans to enter into the construction trade unions, historically one of the most segregated unions in Los Angeles.
“Curtis will be missed tremendously but it’s important to note that his legacy and community work with live forever,” Bakewell Sr. said.
“I am proud to have worked alongside Curtis over the years and witnessed his passion and fortitude. The world will be a better place thanks to the Owens family.”
Owens also opened South Central’s first Construction Apprenticeship School to train African Americans to enter into the construction trade unions, historically one of the most segregated unions in Los Angeles.
Owens was a retired veteran having served in the U.S. Army and was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He pledged Kappa Alpha Psi as an undergraduate student at Central State University. He was also a member of LEARN (Los Angeles Educational Alliance for Restructuring NOW) and the Los Angeles City Council Ad Hoc Committee on Gang & Juvenile Justice.