First African-American Male on Board of Trustees celebrate victory

By Denise Jones

Normally that startling statement would lead you to think of a violent act. Not this time, it’s the unofficial results of Tuesday,s LBCC BOT Area 1 election, where Incumbent Trustee Jeff Kellogg may have been unseated by part-time CSULB engineering professor, Uduak-Joe Ntuk.

By 11:30, the LA County Registrar-Recorder’s office was reporting the results for 30 out of 45 precincts, with a tally of 2,858 (54.6%) votes for Ntuk and 2,380 (45.4%) for Kellogg.

Following behind the legacy of Patricia Lofland, who was the first African American elected to the Board, Ntuk campaigned on a platform of looking toward the future for students. His plans include a dual degree programs for high school students to earn an A.A degree as well as their high school diploma and increasing the opportunities for more vocational education in the trades.

Rex Richardson, vice mayor of Long Beach & Councilman of District 9, which also covers North Long Beach and is the youngest vice mayor in history of Long Beach at the age of 32, said of Ntuk’s claimed win “North Long Beach stepped up, really proud North Long Beach and the vote turn out in North Long Beach. People thought he didn’t have a shot. Elections are the best way to take a poll to check the pulse of the community and people may not have agreed but the voters have agreed that it was time for new leadership on the board and a new direction for the board.”

Supports and volunteers waited for official election results at the Weiland Brewery on Atlantic  in Bixby Knolls, an area also known as Uptown. Shortly after 10 p.m., in a packed room, Ntuk praised his family, friends, supporters and volunteers for all of their hard-work and time. He also thanked two young volunteers, Ashley Nusbaum and Samira Foy for their “black girl magic” during the campaign. Both are 24-year-old college graduates from the CSU system.

Uduak-Joe, Ntuk, third center, posing with supporter’s at Weiland Brewery in Bixby Knolls which included Trustee Sunny Zia pictured last.

Nusbaum said working on Ntuk’s campaign was rewarding. “Uduak also gave me the opportunity to not only get experience right out of college but to learn and grow within my industry. And learning how to ask the right questions.”

Foy, who handled the graphics for the campaign said, “It was a connection for me because my parents met at LBCC.”

Speaking on his past experience as a former LBCC student and now educator of today’s students, Ntuk said, “I have front line actual experience in the classroom. I have worked with the students of today. We have students who are Veterans, who are single parents, who are sleeping in their car, I have taught those students. I used to be one of those students. I was one car accident away from being homeless as a student. I was a teen parent, working 2 jobs, playing football going to LBCC back in the 90’s, that was the only place I could go, LBCC was there.”

Speaking of his opponent Ntuk said, “We just unseated a millionaire who doesn’t understand what it’s like to struggle, he doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a first-generation student, when no one’s holding your hand.”