Black History Month


Toks Talks Transportation blog logoThough every day of the year is a good day to fight for racial equity, the significance of a dedicated month―Black History Month―cannot be overstated. Black History Month is an important opportunity for powerful conversation. It’s a time of learning, a time of remembrance and a time of honor.

So, I’d like to take a few moments to recognize three amazing people whose contributions are a fundamental part of CalSTA history. Their accomplishments are striking, and it’s a privilege to share their stories.

Image of Doris Alexis
Doris V. Alexis was the first Black director appointed to the California DMV. She began her career as a clerk at the Hollywood DMV office and worked her way up through various positions within the department. One of her many accomplishments included leading the implementation of the DMV Child Care Center, the first of its kind in the state. Doris served as Director from 1977-1982 and left an extraordinary legacy of public service.
Image of Dan Kirkland
Dan Kirkland was a pioneering bridge engineer.  During his impactful, 42-year career (1953-1995), he designed many of the CA Department of Transportation’s notable structures, including Yolo County’s Meridian Bridge, which at one time was one of only two cable-stayed bridges in the state. Dan’s expertise was recognized and greatly valued by Caltrans and its partner agencies, so he was assigned to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system for seismic design work on the underwater Transbay Tube that connects Oakland’s shoreline to San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Dan passed away in 2020 at the age of 91. His impressive work continues to deliver today.
Image of Rhonda Craft
Rhonda Craft was the first Black female appointed Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). She began her career with the DMV as a program technician and spent more than 30 years with the DMV in several roles, working her way up to Chief of the Driver Safety Branch program. Rhonda served as OTS Director from 2014-2019. She retired in 2021 after being appointed as Caltrans’ Inspector General, whose oversight helped save millions in taxpayer funds. We thank Rhonda for her exceptional career in public service and hope she’s enjoying a well-earned retirement.

Please take some time to recognize the many contributions made throughout history by Black women and men. Our state and nation are better for it, and it’s important we continue to expand awareness of such historic achievements.

Click here for a printable PDF of this blog entry.