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James Woodson


James Woodson is a Residential Land Use Consultant and native of Topeka, Kansas. Mr. Woodson relocated to Southern California after completing his Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Kansas.

Upon arrival in 1989, James encountered a housing problem when a landlord in Pasadena, who was anxious to rent after a phone interview, changed his mind after meeting face to face. He was quite transparent in sharing his uneasiness with renting to “another African American” in this building. After declining to accept James’ completed application and credit check fee, the owner explained that he already had two “Nice Blacks” residing at the complex and it would not be fair to the other tenants to add any more. He then suggested that Inglewood or South LA would be a much better area to look for apts where most black tenants live. 


This shockingly blatant and offensive experience of unfiltered housing discrimination prompted James to get involved with the Fair Housing movement. He is thrilled to now be a charter member of the newly formed Fair Housing Federation of Southern California.

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Donald E. Lacy, Jr.

Board Member

Donald E. Lacy, Jr. is a writer, director, actor, comedian, radio talk show host, and activist. In 2018 the Studio City Film Festival created the Donald E. Lacy, Jr. Social Justice Award, to be awarded to filmmakers whose films address social issues. On May 19th 2019, CNN aired The Redemption Project with Van Jones documenting Donald’s anti violence activism in Oakland California and his journey to forgive the 1 man convicted of his daughter’s murder. In 2017 Donald was awarded the Legacy award from Theater Bay Area for his artistic and activist achievements. 

The LoveLife Foundation was founded in November of 1997 by Donald Lacy in memory of his daughter, LoEshe Adanma Lacy. LoEshe's name in English means "Love Life." Sixteen year-old LoEshe was an innocent bystander when she was senselessly murdered. Her murder took place on October 20, 1997 across the street from McClymonds High School where she was a student. The LoveLife Foundation is an Oakland-based community building organization committed to promoting life and saving lives through community revitalization, leadership and development. The mission of the LoveLife Foundation is to provide a supportive and empowering environment for at-risk youth, and to mobilize community support to change economic and social conditions that lead to violence. 


As a comedian he was inducted into the Bay Area Blues society Hall of Fame in 2013. He also appeared on BET’S Comic View and HBO’S Def Jam. A San Francisco State alumnus, Donald holds B. A. Degrees in Theater Arts, (with a film minor), and Black Studies.  His T.V./Film acting credits include: About Cherry with James Franco, The Other Barrio, NBC show Trauma, "Jack",  "Blood In, Blood Out", "L.A. Heat", "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper" on ABC, and "Wolf" on CBS.


Stage Credits include: ColorStruck at Theater for the New City in New York that premiered in 2019 and returned by popular demand in 2020. ColorStruck was one of the last live theater shows during the pandemic on March 15, 2020. In 2019 the World Premiere of Candlestick at ACT’s Costume Shop. Casa De Spirits written and directed by Roger Guenveur Smith in 2018.  Donald portrayed Wynton in The Royale at the Aurora Theater in 2017.

In 2013 as a response to the TrayVon Martin murder, he presented another solo show at NBTF; How Did The World Get Here?  Donald’s short film, Hidden Treasure was shown at the 2017 Hollywood Weekly Film Festival, the 16th annual Oakland International Film Festival, The 2018 Studio City International Film Festival, and the 20th annual San Francisco Black Film Festival. Mr. Lacy traveled on a 75-city tour with the Harlem Globetrotters as "The Voice”. In 2007 the original version of his one-man show, “ColorStruck” by invitation from Congresswoman Barbara Lee, was performed at the 2007 Congressional Black Caucus.  In 2008 “Color Struck” returned to the Congressional Black Caucus for an encore performance. 

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Mark Lewis

Board Member

Mr. Lewis graduated from California Polytechnic University in Pomona with a degree in Electronic Engineering and began his professional career as a Systems Engineer in the Marketing division of IBM. During which time he obtained an MBA from Pepperdine University.

To broaden his career, Mark accepted a two-year assignment with the U.S. Peace Corps as a Small Business Development Manager in Nicaragua, Central America. While there he was recruited to play for a professional basketball team, The Los Astros, which won the National Championship, awarding him Best Defensive Player. Returning to Los Angeles in 1996.

Mark enjoyed his first Peace Corps tour so much, in 1999, he returned to Nicaragua to serve as their Crisis Corps Director working with the US Embassy and various non-profit and NGOs on disaster recovery, preparedness, and mitigation projects. Returning to Los Angeles in 2001. In 2008, he was given the Franklin Williams award for Returned Peace Corps’ Volunteers with diverse backgrounds whose work exemplifies the advancement of world peace and friendship.

Mark has held various management positions at Eaton Aerospace, American Express’ Global Corporate Services Division, VERIZON’s Global Enterprise Solutions and AMAZON’s Digital Media group. He was also an adjunct business instructor/professor at Rio Hondo College (2008-2012) and the California International University (2007-2012 & 2014-2021).

Mark has authored two nationally published articles and obtained a U.S. Patent for a quality-of-life product concept. In his spare time, Mark enjoys writing and is currently completing his first science fiction drama manuscript for publication.

We are very fortunate that Mr. Mark Lewis has agreed to accept the Fair Housing Federation of Southern California’s invitation to become an Executive Board member.

Stephen Sturla

Executive Director

Stephen first became an active member of the fair housing community in 1989, when, as a tester, he performed hundreds of investigations in rental, lending and sales while working with HUD on a landmark, national study of housing discrimination. Later, as a housing coordinator and senior investigator, he  also coordinated complaint-based tests and audits related to all members of the protected class.  Many of his investigations resulted in federal court filings.  While employed as Program Compliance Officer for the Fair Housing Congress of Southern California, he monitored the testing methods of five fair housing councils and counseled the housing coordinators on proper testing procedure.


Stephen was very active in efforts to generate revenue for fair housing and helped write many successful FHIP proposals.  

Also, while at the Fair Housing Congress, Stephen was involved with many high profile cases, including Fair Housing Congress v. Weber.  (C.D. Cal. 1997), which became a landmark case in regards to familial status.  He coordinated the entire investigation. (The plaintiff, Maureen Tabon, had lived in the building for many years. She approached our agency because she was served with a notice threatening eviction based on alleged building rules violations of her son).

Since becoming a Fair Housing Expert Witness and Consultant in 1998,, Stephen has testified in Federal Court and at a number of depositions. Stephen's goal is for the Fair Housing Federation to vigorously and aggressively investigate all claims of housing discrimination discovered by our organization.   


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