Spring 2014 Update

In this issue:

The 2014 Pursuit of Justice Awards
Please join us for the 2014 Pursuit of Justice Awards honoring US Senator Barbara Boxer and UC Berkeley Professor Nancy Lemon.

Updated Mission | New Location
CWLC has updated our mission and moved to a new location.

Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye joins CWLC on June 2nd.

Staff in the Community
Senior Staff Attorney Cacilia Kim participated in the inaugural Women Veterans Summit held at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital.

Click here to download this newsletter as a PDF

Executive Director’s Message

The 2014 Pursuit of Justice Awards are right around the corner and we are proud to recognize two champions for their accomplishments fighting for women in Congress and in the classroom. Both US Senator Barbara Boxer and UC Berkeley School of Law Professor Nancy Lemon have affected lasting progress toward justice for women and girls.

I look forward to seeing you on May 28th and remind you that every ticket or sponsorship purchased directly funds our ongoing advocacy, education and work in the courtroom. We cannot continue to fight for equality without your generous support.

As you have read elsewhere in this issue, thanks to the leadership of our Board President, Lois Thompson, we have updated our mission statement to better reflect our work and what we plan to accomplish. I believe you will find, as I do, that our updated mission statement matches our fearless and multi-faceted approach to creating positive change.

We are also now engaging with Sacramento in earnest as this year’s legislative priorities have become more clear. As we continue the battle for equality in the community and in the courtroom, we are also in the halls of the Capitol fighting for justice. It is our unique and holistic approach to creating change that makes CWLC effective.

Thank you again for your support and I hope to see you at our Pursuit of Justice Awards on May 28th.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Betsy Butler
Interim Executive Director

2014 Pursuit of Justice Awards

2014 Pursuit of Justice Awards: Honoring US Senator Barbara Boxer & UC Berkeley Law Professor Nancy Lemon

The California Women’s Law Center will host the 2014 Pursuit of Justice Awards on Wednesday, May 28th, at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.

This year we are very proud to honor US Senator Barbara Boxer and UC Berkeley School of Law Professor Nancy Lemon. Senator Boxer is being recognized for her work supporting female veterans and their families. Last year, CWLC was honored to host Senator Boxer at our office to highlight the unacceptable existence of sexual assault in the military, call for change regarding the way the military addresses sexual assault and to share her plan to better protect survivors and prevent future abuse.

In 2010, Senator Boxer founded the Senate Military Family Caucus to help address the challenges faced by families of U.S. service members who sacrifice so much for our country. She is a tireless advocate for female veterans and a co-author of the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA).

Professor Nancy Lemon has been a leading authority on domestic violence matters for three decades, pioneered its study in law schools and is the author of Domestic Violence Law, the premiere textbook on the subject. Since 1988, Lemon has been teaching the Domestic Violence Seminar at Boalt, and also directs the Domestic Violence Practicum.

We are proud to honor these brave and effective leaders and hope you will join us at this year’s Pursuit of Justice Awards.


Updated Mission

Late last year and through the beginning of this year, the CWLC Board and staff embarked on a strategic planning process where we reviewed our accomplishments and goals by assessing the needs of the population we serve. The first component to come from our planning process is an updated mission statement to guide the organization. Our new mission statement reads:

“The California Women’s Law Center breaks down barriers and advances the potential of women and girls through transformative litigation, policy advocacy and education.”


New Location

We’ve moved. Please visit our new location in El Segundo:
360 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 2070 | El Segundo, CA 90245

LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey Addresses Alternative Sentencing

On March 19th, O’Melveny & Meyers, LLP, generously hosted an evening with Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. She spoke before an engaged audience and argued for the expansion of alternative sentencing courts in order to help address prison and jail overcrowding in California. Lacey argued that alternative sentencing courts are a more compassionate and effective way to reduce the prison and jail populations while addressing the underlying causes of the criminal activity. These courts also cause a reduction in recidivism rates. A spirited question and answer session followed District Attorney Lacey’s presentation.

This event is the fourth in CWLC’s ongoing Distinguished Guest Speaker Series.


CA Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
Joins us for our Distinguished Speaker Series

CWLC is honored to host California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye for a conversation with our Interim Executive Director, Betsy Butler. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye is the 28th chief justice of the State of California and was sworn into office on January 3, 2011. She is the first Asian-Filipina American and the second woman to serve as the state’s Chief Justice.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye chairs the Judicial Council of California (the administrative policy making body of state courts) and the Commission on Judicial Appointments. She has served for more than 20 years on California appellate and trial courts and has been appointed or elevated to higher office by three governors.

The conversation will focus on how her role impacts women and girls in California.


California Legislative Update
CWLC Advocates: The 2014 Legislative Session

As the legislative session progresses, CWLC is watching and vocally supporting several pieces of legislation that have the potential to impact women and girls throughout California.

So far this session, we have sent letters of support for five bills that will prevent discrimination against pregnant students, strengthen Title IX to mandate gender equity in all school programs, improve access to contraceptive coverage, prohibit sterilization of female inmates and give unpaid interns legal protections against sexual assault and harassment.

These bills are:
Assembly Bill 2350 authored by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla
Assembly Bill 2512 authored by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla
Assembly Bill 1443 authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner
Senate Bill 1053 authored by Senator Holly Mitchell
Senate Bill 1135 authored by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson

Click here to view our legislative advocacy webpage and the current status of each piece of legislation.


Women Veteran’s Summit

CWLC Senior Staff Attorney Cacilia Kim participated in a panel focused on the lack of safe and appropriate housing for homeless female veterans at the inaugural Women Veterans Summit held at the West Los Angeles VA Hospital in March. Cacilia addressed the unique housing needs of returning female veterans especially those who are survivors of sexual assaults and violence during their military service. Many female veterans, often as a result of the trauma they experienced, need appropriate sex-segregated housing accommodations to live in veteran-only housing, which consists mainly of male veterans.

This panel tied into Cacilia’s ongoing work researching the healthcare needs of female veterans so that our state can better serve those who have protected us.


Equal Pay Day and Denim Day

In April, women and their allies across the United States and California marked Equal Pay Day on April 8th and Denim Day on April 23rd. Equal Pay Day serves as a reminder that, on average, women only make 77 cents to a man’s dollar in our country and is observed each year on the day when women’s median earnings catch up to what the average man earned last year.

In the 1990s, Denim Day was organized in Los Angeles by the nonprofit Peace Over Violence following a case in Italy where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that the victim’s jeans were so tight that she must have helped her attacker remove them, implying that the act was consensual. The next day, women in the Italian Parliament began wearing jeans to protest the decision and, soon after, women in Los Angeles and across the country joined in solidarity. Now, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a way for all of us to fight against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault and send the message that there is never an excuse for rape or sexual violence.


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