Lauren Hammond '77 (Government)
When former Sacramento City Councilmember Lauren Hammond was a student working at Herfy’s Hamburgers and attending government classes, she dreamed of becoming a lawyer. But her passion for neighborhood issues took her in a different direction. Kind of.
“I was going to practice law,” Hammond says. “I guess now I just help make them.”
Hammond was elected to the council in 1997, making her the first African American woman in Sacramento history elected to the office. For more than 10 years, she advocated for neighborhood improvements, economic development and providing opportunities for youth—all key issues in Sacramento’s south-central District 5.
The government maven’s experience began on McClatchy High School’s student council, but took root as a Sac State Associated Students senator representing the College of Arts and Sciences.
During college she was also active in the Pan African Student Union. Professors Otis Scott (social sciences) David Covin (ethnic studies) and Mignon Gregg (government) were her greatest influences.
“They taught me you have to do your work,” she says. “You can’t complain about things unless you’re willing to change them.”
The recipient of a 2007 Sac State Distinguished Service Award has remained connected to the University by serving on the Alumni Association’s board of directors and by attending various events including the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Pipeline Summit designed to strengthen Sacramento’s growing high-tech workforce.
Her proudest accomplishments on the council include helping to bring the first grocery store to Oak Park in nearly 30 years, as well as improving streetscapes along Stockton and Freeport boulevards. She also organized three neighborhood associations.
More recently she was instrumental in creating the city’s new Office of Youth Development, established to serve at-risk youth by reducing truancy, increasing graduation rates and providing job opportunities.
In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Hammond to the California Gaming Control Commission.
Sacramento Magazine named Hammond one of Sacramento’s 30 Most Powerful Women in 2003 and in 2004 she was inducted into the National Coalition of Black Women. She is also a Class IX member of the American Leadership Forum.
This article was originally published in the Fall 2007 edition of Sac State Magazine.