CommunityLife and Arts

Lorna Bryant to Run for Arcata City Council

The silver “On Air” box turns off in KHSU’s poster-filled Studio A as Lorna Bryant, also known as L Boogie, finishes announcing her Prince tribute for the R&B and Soul show “The Place,” which plays on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m.

“So you got to take the time and listen to this song! I love it!” Bryant said.

The 80s beat of the song “If A Girl Calls (Don’t Hang Up)” begins and Bryant follows with her head bob. The song starts with a woman’s voice: “Hello, this is Vanity, is Jimmy home?” Prince: “Yeah, but he is taking a shower.”

“So that’s Prince!,” Bryant said with a big smile on her face. The song continues with the woman’s voice: “Oh I see, did he just take out the trash?”

Lorna replies in sync with her Prince imitation, “No! That’s something he use to do, but tonight he is taking out me!”

Bryant’s sincere love for Prince is comparable to her genuine love of people and her community, which is why she has decided to run for city council for the upcoming term.

Plans for City Council

“I am running for city council,” Bryant said. “I moved to Arcata in September of last year and the day that I picked up my keys from my house I went to an Arcata City Council meeting, and it was like my true ‘aha’ moment.”

“…I want to know what is important or pressing to the community and what I can do as a potential council member.”

Bryant thought of running for city council in 2020 but was convinced to run this year during her trip to the California Democratic Convention in February, where she listened to many speakers including California Senator Kamala Harris.

“I went to the African American Caucus session at the convention and one of those speakers was Auntie Maxine, also known as Maxine Waters,” Bryant said. “She gave a bleak image of our nation if we didn’t start fighting back and if we didn’t start exercising our right to vote and becoming involved in civic engagement, and that’s when I realized it was important for me to run now and not wait until 2020.”

The applications for City Council will be available on July 16, and the deadline to submit the application along with 20 to 30 signatures from valid registered Arcata voters is August 10.

“Between now and July 16 I will seek out my community and learn,” Bryant said. “I’m still a new Arcata resident, but I have worked in this community for many years and I want to know what is important or pressing to the community, and what I can do as a potential council member.”

She also plans to hire a campaign manager in June or July. Election day is on November 6, just three days before Lorna’s 50th birthday.

Lorna Bryant is an HSU alumnus who’s planning on taking her talent to the political field. Photo by Diego Linares


A 32-year-long relationship with the community

At age 17, Bryant moved to Humboldt County from her home in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles to attend Humboldt State University. She decided to apply to HSU since it was far enough to feel out of state without her having to pay out of state fees.

“I dropped out of school here in 1988 and moved back home to LA for a short time,” Bryant said. “I then decided I wanted to go to an HBCU, Historically Black College/University, so I transferred to Jackson State in Mississippi and stayed there all of 3 months because Humboldt was in my blood too much.”

Bryant returned to HSU in 2007 as a journalism student primarily focused on radio and graduated in 2010.

“I’ve always had an interest in radio and music,” Bryant said. “My mom said I talked too much as a child and I always thought of ways that I could parlay that into something tangible in my adult life and career.”

In 2009, Lorna was approached for a part-time office manager position at KHSU, which she accepted and has now progressed into a full-time position.

Community roles & activism

Throughout the years, Bryant has acquired many responsibilities within the community. She is currently on the NAACP Eureka Branch committee, the board for the Humboldt Center for Constitutional Rights, the Community Health Advisory Board at Mad River Hospital, and the board for the Eureka Seventh-Day Adventist Church, among many other roles.

Bryant began to use her KHSU platform to bring up relevant topics of concern when she became a rotational host for the Thursday Night Talk show, which is every Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m.

“In June of 2016 there was a rash of police-involved shootings of African American men, to the point that it was at a crisis level as far as I was concerned,” Bryant said. “I did a show about those shootings and it began the spark of activism in me and as time progressed I became more involved in activism.”

The Program and Operations director for KHSU, Katie Whiteside has known Bryant since she was a student in the KHSU experience class and has seen her progress over the years.

“Her experience is broad and her knowledge is deep which benefits all of us, both listeners and the staff at KHSU,” Whiteside said. “She wants to serve the community just like she wants to serve KHSU by being a public servant.”

Last year’s murder of David Josiah Lawson also impacted Bryant’s desire to provide public service to the community.

“I have always hated the way the media depicts victims of color. They are often criminalized in the media, and I did not want to see that occur in our local community and in our local media,” Bryant said. “I began doing things on the air related to his murder and I think that thrusted me even further into activism mode, unbeknownst to me.”

Lorna Bryant speaking as MC during the one-year anniversary Celebration of Life held for David Josiah Lawson at the D St. Community Center on April 15. | photo by Sarahi Apaez

Although she has never viewed herself as an activist, concerns for her family and community have motivated her to speak up.

“My son moved to Arcata in April of last year and immediately he was faced with taunting and racial slurs when he moved to Arcata, and that became a concern,” Bryant said. “My granddaughter is biracial and I have some concerns about her, and I think I became far more hypervigilant and cognizant of the world around me on how it presented itself and how I was viewed in it.”

“The Connector”

Bryant’s large connections with not only the community but the university as well, gives her insight on the community and has dubbed her the nickname “The Connector.”

“I like being referred to as ‘The Connector,’ connecting people and trying to solve problems, That’s what I will bring to the table,” Bryant said. “If I can’t do it, if I don’t have the answer, I am not going to write it off by simply saying ‘I don’t have the answer,’ I’m going to try to find a solution or the answer from someone else.”

University Chief of Police and Vice President of the Eureka Chapter of the NAACP, Donn Peterson, works with Bryant on a regular basis and appreciates the journalistic perspective that she brings to the organization.

“I think she is going to be a great council person because of her spirit. She’s got a genuine caring, giving, serving spirit, and her spirit has called her to do this,” Peterson said. “I’m really excited for Arcata. I think she is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to vote for her!”

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