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Family members, friends, former colleagues and others across California were shocked to learn about the passing of former State Assemblymember Gwen Moore on Aug. 19. Her family has not yet announced the cause of her death.

Moore was first elected to the state legislature in 1978 and served until 1994, representing California’s 49th district, which has since been redistricted and renumbered in 1990 as the 47th district.

While serving in the Assembly, Moore introduced more than 400 bills that were signed into law. She also served as Majority Whip and was a member of a number of influential committees, including the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee.

Moore was a founding member of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (N.O.B.E.L.) established in 1985 to increase and promote the presence of Black women in government.  She was also one of the founding members of the Los Angeles African America Women Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI), a premier leader in the development of public policy instruction programs for women.

In 1994, Moore resigned from the Assembly after 16 years of service. She ran for Secretary of State and although she didn’t win that race, Moore began to pursue other opportunities outside of elected office that influenced state policy and impacted the lives of people.

The founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based GeM Communications Group, Moore was a sought-after consultant and worked with several prominent clients across the state.

Moore served on numerous boards. Among them were the California State Bar Board of Trustees; the California Small Business Association; and the national board of the NAACP.

Moore also served as the chairwoman of the Black Business Association (BBA), the oldest active, ethnic business support organization in California.

“I’m in shock and dismayed, “said Earl “Skip” Cooper, II, president/CEO of the BBA. “Gwen was a giving and very committed person. She would go out of her way to help others and will be missed by so many people throughout the nation.”

Moore’s family, relatives, former colleagues and friends across California and the United States reached out to each other as the news of her unexpected death was shared across her political, business and social circles.  

The BBA presented a special tribute to Gwen Moore during the virtual “Salute to Black Women Empowerment Summit” online on Aug. 26.