Left mark among Black reporters

Veteran southland journalist Betty Pleasant died Nov. 30 following a long illness, a family member confirmed.

Pleasant, 79, died at Miracle Assisted Living Facility in Winnetka, following a five-year bout with dementia, her sister, Christine Wheeler, said. No cause of death was immediately released. Memorial services are still being planned.

Wheeler said her older sister was perceived by many as tough, but she was actually less tough, and more direct.

“She was seen as tough—she had to be tough sometimes because she was the oldest of five siblings—but she was a very compassionate person,” Wheeler said. “She was just to the point.”

Pleasant started her journalism career in high school and later worked part-time as youth editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel. After studying at East Los Angeles College and USC, she went on to a long career at the Sentinel, ultimately becoming its managing editor. She later left the Sentinel and joined The Wave as author of the “Soulvine” urban affairs column, which ultimately defined her career as an advocacy journalist.

“I love this woman. A much gentler soul than her pen or presentation ever let on,” Andre Herndon, now deputy chief of staff for Mayor Eric Garcetti, said in a Facebook post. “In our last conversation, she cussed me out and told me that she loved me. Huge loss.”

Pleasant is survived by two sons, Russell and Ian Miller; two sisters, Francine and Christine Wheeler, and two grandchildren, Mason and Kayln Miller. 

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