An honor and recognition for a long-time CFA activist.

Antonio Gallo, a CFA member leader and Cal State Northridge Chicano Studies lecturer, is set to be recognized by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party on October 15.

The LACDP’s annual Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner honors grassroots activists from each California Assembly District as the “Democrats of the Year.” Gallo was nominated from Assembly District 54, along with Angie Jimenez.

Gallo serves as chair of CFA’s Contract Development & Bargaining Strategy Committee, co-chair Faculty Rights at CFA Northridge, vice-president lecturer representative at CFA Northridge, and a member of CFA’s Chicanx/Latinx Caucus. Gallo is also an AAUP Council Member representing Region 1.

His political advocacy started at a young age watching his mother set a strong example.

“My mom was a founder of Homeboy Industries with Father Greg Boyle,” said Gallo. Homeboy Industries is the largest gang rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.

Since then, he has been known, among other things, as a long-standing activist and delegate for the Democratic party.

Gallo grew up in Boyle Heights at a time when every day felt dangerous and often deadly. Gallo wasn’t in a gang and was distrustful of police and other authorities, so he had to chart his path and figure out who he could turn to. For Gallo, being active wasn’t an option; it was a way to survive and start advocating for an equitable world.

“If you want things to change, you need to get involved.”

– Antonio Gallo

Gallo remains grounded where he grew up, saying “I don’t see myself leaving Boyle Heights.”

Boyle Heights has been at the center of fights over gentrification and who gets to call a place home. Staying in Boyle Heights means breaking the cycle of poverty and gives the message to youth coming up that this is a place worth defending.

While Gallo dreamed of becoming the starting second basemen for his hometown Dodgers, he also was guided by a call to serve.

“Growing up going to a Catholic school, I thought I was going to become a priest,” Gallo said.

Instead, his work in the union and commitment to his Boyle Heights community reflects his call to service. 

Starting his 21st year of teaching, Gallo has been a reliable presence at CSUN. While enthusiastic about becoming a member, he wasn’t hesitant to step in, “I didn’t see people that looked like me within the union.”

As more members of color took leadership, it was easier to see CFA as a vehicle to effect statewide change. 

Gallo’s longer-term vision for the CSU is a system whose faculty reflect the population of California. Until then, he will continue serving within CFA, believing that “if everyone collectively organizes, the sky is the limit.”

As the November midterm election approaches, Gallo reminds us, as he does his students, that “the biggest threat to the democracy isn’t the Republican Party or Democrat Party; the real threat is apathy.” 

“If you want things to change, you need to get involved.”

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