The multitude of issues affecting Southland neighborhoods inspired Minister Tonette Henry to community activism.
Establishing the Political Clergy Council (PCC), she advocates for people negatively impacted by voter’s rights,police brutality, schools, legal immigration laws, elder abuse, domestic violence, rape homelessness, gay discrimination and more.
A public servant for more than 20 years, her experience includes private investigator, former State of California Ombudsman, and campaign liaison between pastors and elected officials.
Minister Henry also serves on the pastoral staff at Israel Missionary Baptist Church led by Pastor Rodney Howard.
"I'm fighting for God's people by addressing community concerns," declared Minister Henry. "I use my expertise and relationships with government agencies, elected officials and local clergy to promote change. People have to know that someone cares and I do."
Demonstrating that belief, Minister Henry and PCC united with Sir Brileys Knights of Luxor Knights Templars Grand Lodge A.A.S.R on December 14 to offer free haircuts and giveaways to children. The event was held at N Da Kut Barber Shop And Salon, 3506 Rosecrans Avenue in Hawthorne.
Scores of children and adults attended along with the Honorable Chris Brown, the first Black mayor of Hawthorne; the Rev. Dr. Melvin V. Wade, Sr., pastor of Mount Moriah Baptist Church; the Honorable David Henry, 33-degree Grandmaster X; and Deputy Director of Community Affairs Brandon Kiel of the California Department of Justice. Following the program, PCC members distributed free groceries and toys to local residents.
Expressing love and care for people is something Minister Henry has experienced from childhood and was a factor in launching PCC, she noted.
"I was born with a gray hair and older people said, 'Tonette has been here before, she is just an old soul.' When my mom first got sick, I begged God to prepare me for her death. Feeling afraid and alone, I met Jesus and started trusting and believing in only Him.
"When I lost my mother in 2001, I was not so much ready, but more prepared; she was truly my best friend. Although the pain was there, God prepared me for everything that was to come," she said.
"I buried Mama on Saturday and my brother died the next day. In 2010, I buried my sister and that ended my family. Everyone was gone. Only God's mercy and grace can see you through these situations.
"I believe God wanted my full attention and He had to take away all those people that were very, very close and dear to my life for me to totally focus on Him."
Explaining her deep commitment to the underserved, Minister Henry observed, "The church, politicians and the lawmakers have let the people down, the communities feel they are not being heard, so I consider this organization as an order from God given only to me.
"I'm inspired by Moses in the Bible. I know my calling is to deliver the people out of their bondage. God has taken away any fear, given me the necessary tools, opened doors that are shut to others and given me the authority and power to move forward," she added.
"Until He says it is over, it is not over. Amen!"
Minister Henry welcomes volunteers to lend their time and talents to PCC's efforts to improve the community. To learn more, call (626) 246-8914 or email