Leora Hill was born on August 7, 1951, in Lorain, Ohio, to Raymond Edward Fowler Sr. and Priscilla Jane Douthit. She was the fourth of six children, and mirrored her values of love, family and social responsibility in her own two children, Toni and Troy Fowler. Leora began her working life at the Ford Motor plant and discovered the importance of dignity at work and advocating for workers’ rights soon on. She moved to California in 1981 with her daughter, and in 1982, she met the man who would become her best friend and life partner, Wayne Hill. They married on March 29, 1985.

Leora’s most impactful career experience was with the Board of Equalization, where she spent 23 years as a California state employee. Not only was she a dedicated public servant, but her state employment lead her to be a social justice activist and leader of SEIU Local 1000. Of her many accolades as a Local 1000 leader, Leora served as the chair of the Committee on Political Education (COPE) for Southern California, and President of Local l000’s District Labor Council (DLC) 723. The pride she held for her DLC and the members of her immediate community was reflected in her acts of service and the ongoing conversations with her members on matters that were important to them. She was a great leader for state employees of Los Angeles County, and she worked hard to hold elected officials accountable for quality public services.

Local 1000’s African-American Committee is proud to honor such a dedicated activist by holding this essay contest as a tribute to her memory and to her commitment to Labor.


l. All full dues paying members of SEIU Local 1000 and their children or immediate dependents are eligible for the scholarships.

2. All entries must be received by the close of business on June 19, 2024. Applications may be mailed to SEIU Local 1000, 1801 Excise Ave, #101, Ontario, CA 91761, Attention: African-American Committee. Applications may be walked-in to any SEIU Local 1000 field office. Applications may also be emailed toAACmte@seiu l 000.org . No faxes will be accepted.

3. The 2024 awards will be announced to the winners by August 7, 2024, and acknowledged at the final African-American Committee meeting of the year.

4. Proof of enrollment in a learning institution is required at the time of the application and essay submission.

1. High School Awards are for students entering 9th through 12th grade.
2. College awards are for students entering any year of college or trade school.


1. The theme of the contest is ”Making Black History.” Unions give black workers the space to create opportunities for all communities. Describe the impact made by black social justice leaders on modern unions of today. How will you help Local 1000 make black history?

2. Essays must be the original work of the student. If the essay is found to be plagiarized, it will be disqualified.

Submission guidelines: Entries will be accepted and judged as follows:

1. High School: l000 to 1200 words (Citations and bibliography are not included in the word count.)

2. College: l000 to 1200 words (Citations and bibliography are not included in the word count. Essays must have a minimum of five sources & essays must include a bibliography.)


The essays are subject to a blind judging process, and the identity of the writers will not be revealed until after the judging of all essays has been completed. Votes will be tabulated, and the winners will be announced on the African-American Committee page of SEIU Local l000’s website.


1 – $1000 College

1 – $250 High School

Download the application here.