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Ross

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Kevin Ross

Deputy District Attorney

Los Angeles County

Age: 33

Kevin Ross thinks he’ll go into business for himself one day, but making big money won’t necessarily be at the top of his priority list.

Ross, a prosecutor in the L.A. County D.A.’s Office since 1991, sees business more as an opportunity to help fellow African Americans gain a piece of the American dream.

“I see a lot of opportunity for African Americans to take charge of their futures by moving into business and becoming self-sufficient, as opposed to looking to government entities,” he said.

As a member of the D.A.’s Operation Hard Core, Ross files injunctions against gang members terrorizing neighborhoods. But his efforts to improve the community go beyond that.

Ross is co-founder of a non-profit organization of black business figures and elected officials called The New Leaders. Formed in 1995, the organization aims to bring about “economic and community development for the existing and future leadership within the African American community,” according to its mission statement.

“I think he’s going to evolve to become one of the premier leaders not only of the city but of the country,” said Geraldine R. Washington, president of the Los Angeles NAACP, on whose executive committee Ross has served. “He’s got the ability to command the respect and confidence of people regardless of age or anything else.”

Last year, Ross ran for Nate Holden’s 10th District City Council seat and won an endorsement from the Los Angeles Times. But he finished third in the race, which Holden won.

John Bryant, CEO of the non-profit investment bank Operation Hope and a co-founder of The New Leaders, believes that whatever public office Ross holds some day, “he could just as easily and effectively serve a white liberal community or a Spanish Catholic community as an African American community. Kevin is one of a very, very few who that can be said about.”

Ross, who grew up in South Central Los Angeles and Gardena, said his desire to be a leader “is part of what makes me tick.” He was student body president in elementary school, high school, college and law school, and formerly served on the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Commission.

He also hosts a weekly talk show on KTZN-AM 710 discussing current events and issues (“The Kevin Ross Show,” Saturdays at 10 p.m.).

“For me, all of these leadership roles are part of a natural progression, and I get a sense of fulfullment out of that,” he said.

Wade Daniels

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