In 1984, Moyofune Shabazz left an unstable, unsafe environment in the Bronx, NY and moved in with her father and stepmother in Los Angeles. The family settled in Baldwin Park.
“It was so exciting, encouraging. I was very hopeful. I dreamt a lot about changing my life and I landed in my dream right here. It was completely different [from the Bronx]. Stable adults were there to nurture and help children grow, versus instability and me raising myself.
I became of fully aware of my college options because of Margie Garcia [the college counselor at Baldwin Park High School]. She had such an electrifying college center. It was a popping place. There were recruiters all over the place, college reps. Ms. Garcia had me apply to the Cal States. I knew whatever she wanted me to do was in my best interest.
Senior year, life kicked in and personal things started happening with my family. We moved a couple of times. We were homeless, living in a hotel. I remember the field trip I went on to Cal State LA with George Bauchman. Based on the fact that they had dorms, I decided I could live there. I didn’t even think about my major.
My family moved to Pennsylvania to live with my stepmom’s daughter. I decided not to go because nothing was going to change. The best way for my life to change was for me to stay where I was and go to college.
When I left high school, I was a decent student but I was not at the level of academic confidence that I needed to survive. I had trouble competing in the classroom with my writing and math, sharing my perspective on life, on situations, giving my point of view. EOP helped me find my voice.
EOP provided academic support, as well as personal, social and emotional support. EOP would have tutoring sessions, monthly meetings, groups where students could meet other students like themselves. David Sandoval, he became like my godfather. Becky Hopkins was like my mother. Mary Bailey, Larry Grijalva and James Reid. All of those counselors impacted my life in amazing ways.
EOP also motivated me to become a leader and an activist on campus. I joined a community service organization, took a leadership position with the Rho Eta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.,. I was a founding member of the Pan African Resource Center at Cal State LA and was a founding member of Black Women for Wellness out in the community.
The EOP philosophy of empowerment, engagement, standing up for the community and taking advantage of resources, is my philosophy. It’s what I walk around with and what I’ve been doing to this day.”
After earning a bachelor’s in social work from Cal State LA in 1991 and a master’s in higher education counseling in 1995, Moyofune devoted her career to helping students and their families with academic, college, career and financial planning. Currently, she is an 11th grade counselor at Centennial High School in Compton. In 2017, she graduated from California State University Dominguez Hills with a second master’s in urban school leadership for aspiring principals.
Moyofune is working on a establishing a foundation in honor of her mother, Patricia Lea Deas, that will work with kids on literacy, math, health and wellness. Her goal is to create a group of leaders who will be dedicated to reducing the effects of living in poverty.