Officials Wednesday were mourning the death of Alma Salazar, a member of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges and the executive vice president of UNITE-LA, a nonprofit group that works to expand college access and provide workforce development opportunities for youth in the Los Angeles area.

Salazar died Monday after a battle with cancer, according to an official with the CCC board. She was believed to be 46, though the official didn’t have an exact date of birth.

“Alma Salazar was a relentless advocate for educational and employment opportunity for low-income Californians in both her work and her service on our board of governors,” said Tom Epstein, the board’s president. “She was passionate in her commitment to students and the proposition that community colleges are powerful forces for social and economic progress. We will miss her deeply.”

Chancellor Eloy Oakley also praised Salazar, writing: “I am profoundly saddened by the news of the passing of Board of Governors member Alma Salazar. I had the pleasure of working with Alma for more than 10 years. She was a tireless advocate for Californians of all backgrounds and a dedicated board member who always championed community college students. With her passing we lost a truly remarkable Californian.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom released the following statement Wednesday: “Jennifer and I extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Alma Salazar. Through her service on the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, Alma opened doors and changed lives. Her commitment to equity and opportunity in higher education and workforce development was an inspiration to many. We hold her partner Gene and son Noah in our hearts as we continue her legacy of expanding opportunity for all.”

Salazar’s colleagues at UNITE-LA, where she worked since 2000, said that “because of her efforts, the youth of today and generations to come of Los Angeles, California and the nation have a better future. Her list of accomplishments would be too numerous to include here.”

In 2018, she was named a Skills Champion Award Winner by the National Skills Coalition during that group’s annual Skills Summit in Washington, D.C.

Salazar attended Cal State Long Beach in the 1990s and early 2000s, earning a bachelor’s degree in speech, a master’s degree in public policy and a doctorate in education.

She also chaired the board of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

“CHIRLA Board Chair Alma Salazar was a fighter. She was one of CHIRLA’s brightest lights and deeply loved our organization, its mission and its people. Alma passed away yesterday leaving us with deep memories of her grace and deep love for CHIRLA,” the group tweeted Tuesday. “Thank you. We love you, Alma.”

The Long Beach Mayor’s Fund for Education — another nonprofit that works to expand learning opportunities for young people — tweeted: “With great sadness, we share the passing of our founding Board Member, Alma Salazar. She leaves a tremendous legacy of impact on education both on and off the Board. The extent to which she will be missed can’t be overstated. Keeping her family in our thoughts and prayers.”

UNITE-LA announced that a scholarship would be established in Salazar’s name.

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