Michael Guynn – President
I greet you in this name of our ancestors who founded this great organization over 50 years ago. With this acknowledgement I stand on the shoulders of giants. I have actively been involved in NABSW for over 20yrs. I have enjoyed the various roles I have held, experiences I have had, and opportunities I have been afforded.
I remain fully committed to the NABSW Code of Ethics and the Guiding Principles that our Founders and Pioneers created. I believe we are called to use our knowledge and expertise to advocate and to be of service to our people. For me, it’s a way being and a way of life!
Diane R. Griggs, LCSW – Vice President & Historian
Diane R. Griggs, LCSW, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, attended the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) obtaining her BA degree in Psychology and the University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Social Work and Community Planning and received her MSW. With extensive experience servicing vulnerable and system impacted populations, her passion is integrating holistic, culturally congruent, healing centered and social justice perspectives. A longstanding member of the ABSW-GLA chapter, Ms. Griggs has served as the Vice-President for the last eight years and additionally was recently elected Historian. Most recently, Ms. Griggs served as an Executive Producer and Interviewer for “Treasured Voices Speak: The Founding of the National Association of Black Social Workers” and is currently working on the longer feature for submission to the 2021 Pan African Film Festival. This project chronicles the historical significance of the NABSW and its contributions shaping Black life.
Toni Shaw, MSW – Treasurer
Toni is a LA Native. She received her Masters in Social Work from Arizona State University in 2018. She has worked with the re-entry population, transition-age youth, the homeless population and youth participating in diversion programs. She is currently serving as the Treasurer of the ABSWGLA. She also volunteers with Centinela Youth Services, the C.A.P. Re-Entry Breakfast, and the South Central Foundation for Fitness, Dance and Arts. Toni’s vision for ABSWGLA is that it continues to positively impact the local community by offering programming and advocacy that improves long-term outcomes. ABWSGLA has been a leader in bringing timely symposium and education into the community including programming around voter rights, human trafficking, and understanding their rights when interacting with law enforcement. In her spare time, Toni is a candle maker, stained glass mosaic artist, and quilter.
Shirley Better – Past President & Steering Committee Representative
One of the founders of the National Assn of Black Social Workers, created in 1968. I grew up in the Midwest and graduated from the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan. I worked in Detroit as a psychiatric social worker for five years before moving to San Francisco and later settling down in Los Angeles. In 1970, I accepted a teaching position at California Stated University – Los Angeles. Midway through my career at Cal State L.A. decided to enroll in the doctorate program of Social Welfare at UCLA, I graduated in 1987. I held different positions over the years at Cal State – LA –Classroom Instructor, Executive Director of the Associated Clinics, Chair of the Social Work Department, and Dean of Continuing Education. Experiencing 50+ years of involvement in ABSW has been one of the joys of my life. I have been able to help shape policy and action within the National structure as well as our local chapter – It doesn’t get better than that.
Vivian Hines, ACSW, MSW – Parliamentarian
A Youngstown, OH native and a graduate of Philander Smith College (BA) and Adelphi University School of Social Work (MSW). She is a retired Clinical Social Worker with the Department of Veterans Affairs with over 40 years of experience in the helping profession.
Vivian’s affiliations includes the National Association of Black Social Workers, California Association of Black Social Workers,, National Association of Social Workers, California Association of Social Workers, National Council of Negro Women, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and others. She is committed to improving the visibility of the organization by attending community meetings that address the needs of the people.
James Maddox – Sergeant At Arms
James Maddox was reared in Norwalk, CT and attended the Norwalk Community College (NCC) until he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After his Honorable Discharge from the military he resumed his education at NCC completing his Associates Degree. Maddox transferred to the University of Southern California where he earned a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the School of Journalism. Maddox joined Vietnam Veterans of America in 1999 and in 2007 became a National Service Officer working with veterans and their families as they sought benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Being an active member in the veteran community he was encouraged to pursue a Master of Social Work in order to better serve his veterans and their families. Maddox believes that ABSW must inform and influence our profession and research that affects black people.
Elma Forrest Stewart – Steering Committee Representative
Elma has a Bachelors in Sociology and a Masters in Social Welfare both from UCLA. She has over 38 years work experience starting as a Social Worker Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and with the Department of Children and Family Services. Her expertise ranges from Program Development, Program Management and Administration, Supervision, Adoption, Community Organization and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
“My personal experiences with ABSWGLA began when I was a student. I have held numerous offices in the organization including Chapter President and CABSW President.”
Linda B. Sewerbridges Williams – Steering Committee Representative
A graduate from Loma Linda University with a Master’s in Social Work. I have been in the field of social work for over twenty-five years. The field of social work allowed me to work in a variety of positions from the emergency response in child protective services to management in health care. My career at present is with geriatric medicine with a primary focus on Alzheimer’s/Dementia patients and their families.
My vision for ABSWGLA is to continue to serve on the membership committee to assist with increasing the growth of new members by 10% for 2021. ABSWGLA provides community forums, scholarships, donations to women’s shelter by utilizing members’ skills in community organization and social policy. My affiliations are: CABSW-Rep, NASW-IE Unit Leader
Traecy Jackson – Recording Secretary
A native of greater Los Angeles, Traecy Jackson is a graduat from Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She began employment with the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services in 1998 as a Children’s Social Worker. She has also worked with DCFS as a social worker for over 21 years.
Her vision for ABSWGLA is to provide support and resources to African-Americans with knowledge in social work in order to work, support and encourage the African-American and minority communities.
Carla Francisco, LCSW, MA – Corresponding Secretary
Carla is from Los Angeles, California. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside where she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She received her MSW degree from California State University Dominguez Hills. She is currently employed as a psychotherapist for Los Angeles County and as a consultant for various non-profit organizations. ABSW-GLA has remained active in the community for over fifty years and it is Carla’s vision that the association will continue to educate and uplift the community for many more years to come.