Carole Ward Allen

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Carole Ward Allen
Member and President of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District Board Director, District 4
In office
December 8, 1998 – December 2, 2010
Preceded by Margaret Pryor
Succeeded by Robert Raburn
Member and President of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners
In office
Member and President of the
California Commission on the Status of Women
In office
Personal details
Nationality African American
Political party Democratic Party
Residence Oakland, California, U.S.
Alma mater Nova Southeastern University, San Jose State University
Occupation Professor, Consultant

Carole Ward Allen is an African-American politician, professor, scholar, artist, businesswoman, political consultant, transportation leader, community organizer, member of the Democratic Party and was an elected member of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District Board of Directors. She represented District 4 (Oakland, California and Alameda, California), where she served three terms. Ward Allen became the first African American to serve as president of the California Commission on the Status of Women in 1983. In 1990, she made history again as an Oakland Port Commissioner who was elected among her colleagues to serve as president, making her the first woman to do so, and the longest African-American woman to achieve such stride with two terms. Almost a decade later, December 15, 2005, BART Director Ward Allen attained another major milestone as a woman in politics when she was elected among her colleagues on the BART Board of Directors to serve as its president and Lynette Sweet as its vice president, which made BART the first major transportation agency to be led by two African-American women in American history.


Carole is a native and current resident of Oakland, graduating from Castlemont High School in 1960.

She holds a Master of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Arts from San Jose State University and a Doctorate in Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She also completed post-graduate studies at the Sorbonne, Paris, Fourah Bay College University, Sierra Leone; University of Ile-Ife, Nigeria; the University of Kumasi, Ghana; and University of Nairobi, Kenya.[1]

She has served as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Community Relations and Marketing for the Peralta Community College District. Prior to this position, she was a College Administrator at Laney, managing the largest Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Northern California, and monitoring a federal budget of $500,000 including the Office of Community Services, as well as several special grants and programs. She also served as president of the Peralta Federation of Teachers Political Action Committee (PFT-PAC) for two years (2002–2004) where she fought to improve salaries, benefits and pensions of teachers as well as oversee the Political Action Committee. The PFT-PAC endorse candidates seeking elected office(s) of the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees.

In March 2011, Dr. Ward Allen was inducted into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame in the category of Education. She has taught over 100,000 students in the Bay Area according to The Oakland Post. In 2008, Laney College President Frank Chong recognized Ward Allen for her leadership with the President's Award of the College. Ward Allen has received multiple awards for her expertise in transportation including the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Oakland/Bay Area Chapter's Pioneer Award at the 7th Annual Madam C.J. Walker Business and Community Recognition Awards Luncheon in 2005 as the Vice President of BART.

As of 2015, she is a retired Professor at College of Alameda and Laney College in the Ethnic Studies Department and the CEO of CWA Partners, LLC.

California Commission on the Status of Women[edit]

In 1980, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Ward Allen to the California Commission on the Status of Women. In 1983, she became its first African American president. Her mentors on the commission were Congresswomen Diane Watson and Maxine Waters. She was motivated to follow in these strong women footsteps in making change in politics. During her time as president on the commission, Ward Allen was invited to the White House by Ronald Reagan's daughter, Maureen Reagan to the U.S. Commission on the Status of Women Dinner Reception, which made headlines around the Bay Area.[citation needed]

Landmark Women Issues[edit]

Much of her policy-making consisted advancing women in small businesses and enterprises, improving military wives circumstances, and fighting for equal compensation for comparable work as women. In addition, she made many speeches around California to empower women monthly.[citation needed]

Oakland Port Commission[edit]

In 1987, Ward Allen was appointed to the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners. She was nominated by Mayor Lionel J. Wilson and appointed by the Oakland City Council. Ward Allen was responsible for transportation, businesses, financial and political strategies for the development of the maritimes facilities, Oakland International Airport, and commercial real estate holdings budget of $100 million, accounting for directly and indirectly more than 44,000 jobs. She served as Commission president for two years (1990–92), as the first woman and first African American woman to do so. She was the second African American woman to be appointed to the commission and third female.

During her tenure on the Port of Oakland, she traveled to Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Spain, Ivory Coast, and Australia to speak with various officials with respect to the ports around the world.

Ward Allen is also noted for helping Mayor Lionel J. Wilson bring Southwest Airlines to Oakland International Airport during the late 1980s for the very first time.

Amtrak to Oakland[edit]

In addition, Ward Allen along with her board members advocated and secured funds to bring Oakland - Jack London Square (Amtrak station) to Oakland in the early 1990s. This was the first time in history Amtrak had come to Oakland. The site of the Amtrak station officially opened in 1994. Ward Allen was involved in much of the contracting and legal work surrounding the Port of Oakland owning the facility where the Amtrak station was built when she headed the Port.

Jack London Square Development[edit]

Carole Ward Allen was a critical proponent of the Jack London Square Development Project during the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1989, when Ward Allen was Vice President of the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners the Port's office was relocated to Jack London Square and her name was engraved on the building. The Jack London Square was supposed to help retail and businesses bring in money as an attractive tourist area in Oakland.

Oakland Aviation High School[edit]

Ward Allen was instrumental in the creation of Aviation High School, which was adopted by the Oakland Unified School District.

1998 & 2001 Oakland City Council Elections[edit]

Carole Ward Allen was a District 6 Oakland City Council candidate in 1998 and in 2001, both times making a strong showing, but unsuccessfully. In 2001, Ward Allen lost to Moses Mayne by 129 votes in the special election. She was believed to be the front-runner in hotly contested race according to the Oakland Tribune and noted as "the best candidate" in The Oakland Post. Ward Allen ran a grassroots campaign knocking on doors block by block in District 6. Her campaign raised over $24,000 to Mayne's $38,000.

BART Board of Directors[edit]

Director Ward Allen was first elected by voters on November 3, 1998. As a BART Director, she is seen for getting the most accomplished, and setting the example by leading BART as an organization into an era of change. Carole Ward Allen changed policies, procedures, operations, and reformed the BART Police Department with assistance from the California State Legislator and members of the general public under her watch. In addition to her accomplishments, she hired the first woman to serve as general manager or CEO of the entire BART organization, Dorothy Dugger. She also, was a great believer in economic development, this led her to revitalizing her communities as a hands-on BART Director by enhancing transit oriented development policy-making for affordable housing and livable communities in the Fruitvale, Coliseum, and Lake Merritt districts, helping minority and women owned businesses stay afloat financially, and generating employment opportunities to her constituents. Above all, she is recognized for her courageous and tenacious effort to become the champion and "Godmother" dubbed by BART Director James Fang, of the controversial Oakland Airport Connector Project. She has served as Vice-President (2005) and President (2006) of BART.

Oakland Airport Connector Project[edit]

During Ward Allen's tenure on the BART Board, she fought for the creation of contracting opportunities for small minorities and women owned businesses. Providing employment opportunities to Oakland and Alameda residents was extremely vital for her. That is partly why she collaborated with the local unions to facilitate the creation of job opportunities. The Oakland International Airport Connector project will generate approximately 2,500 to 5,200 direct and indirect jobs. Moreover, Dr. Carole Ward Allen has been active in many of BART’s historic measures such as its first Project Labor Agreement (PLA). In October 2010, BART Director Ward Allen had a ground breaking on the project at the Oakland Coliseum Station and was joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Ron Dellums, Assemblywoman Sandre Swanson and Council member Larry Reid, Port of Oakland, local unions and ministers on its announcement to the public. COMTO (Conference of Minority Transportation Officials) presented Ward Allen with the Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual awards ceremony in 2011 for her dedication to public service of a major transportation agency. The OAC Project is slated to be operating spring of 2014.

BART's Historic California Legislation[edit]

On July 15, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the historic BART Accountability Act AB 1586 into California law, which Ward Allen fought for and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson carried to enforce civilian oversight of the BART Police Department. Ward Allen even thanked the governor, the community, the entire BART organization and Assemblyman Swanson for their hard work in getting the AB 1586 bill implemented in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant shooting. Carole Ward Allen was the only BART Director who attended the Oscar Grant trial on the nine member board in Los Angeles during the summer of 2010.

BART Police Department Review Committee[edit]

In 2009, the hiring of two independent organizations reviewed BART's policies and procedures in the process of overseeing the BART Police Department (BPD) which she chaired in the aftermath of BART Police Shooting of Oscar Grant. Ward Allen formulated and chaired BART's first Police Department Review Committee, and as a result, BART has made sweeping changes on many security measures, as well as corrected and implemented several policies and procedures. BPD Review Committee has led to the retraining of all officers on use of force, diversity retraining and other issues. Ward Allen hired Kenton Rainey, the person selected to lead BART’s 296-member police force, to take command as Chief of Police. “What impresses me most about Chief Rainey is his commitment to the community. He’s a man who doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk- a trait which I am confident our customers will appreciate and our officers will find inspiring as they strive to be the best they can be in the years to come,” said Ward Allen.[citation needed]

BART's First Minority and Women Bonding Committee[edit]

In 2010, Ward Allen formulated the BART's first Small/Minority/Women-Owned Business and Bonding Committee. The committee seeks to address the critical problems that are preventing minority- and women-owned construction businesses from receiving adequate information in a timely fashion, making plan rooms available to low-income communities and expediting the response time of all allocations.[citation needed]

Title VI[edit]

As Chairwoman of the Oakland Airport Connector Committee, she has solicited the input from diverse communities (such as non-English speaking and low-income), to ensure transparency and accountability at BART. She was the first BART Director to demand that signage and documentation was not recommended to be multi-lingual, but required to well serve her communities. Thus being she served Oakland's Chinatown and Fruitvale districts that contained a predominant Asian and Latino population. Furthermore, she made sure there were live translators available for the first time in BART's history during community and townhall meetings.[citation needed]


Protecting the environment has been a critical component for Ward Allen. Her endeavor to cultivating a more eco-friendly and green environment for BART resulted in the largest BART bicycle station being created in the Fruitvale Village. She has also been a strong advocate for citizens to utilize BART to diminish pollution in Alameda and Oakland inner cities as well as shop with a recyclable shopping bag. The "Bring Your Own Bag" initiative is essentially an effort to eradicating the excessive and careless use of plastic, and other sorts of shopping bags. BART Board Directors including the City of Oakland representatives and Ward Allen, had joined together to promote a safer ecological environment by taking BART and a recyclable shopping bag when shopping. "I want to develop a greener BART system," said Ward Allen.[citation needed]

BART Director Ward Allen served as the Chairperson of the Board’s Police Department Review Committee, Planning, Public Affairs, Access & Legislation and Oakland Airport Connector – Coliseum Station Development Liaison Committees. She also chaired the Fruitvale Policy Committee, Executive Management Committee, Small/Minority/Women-Owned Business & Bonding Committee and was a member of the AC Transit Liaison Committee.[citation needed]