Spring 2015 Update

We have been working diligently in the pursuit of justice for women and girls at the California Women’s Law Center and we have much to share and many ways for you to get involved.

In this issue:

CWLC Honors Dolores Huerta, Lilly Ledbetter and Peg Yorkin
CWLC’s Pursuit of Justice Awards Luncheon June 18th

CWLC’s Film Screening of The Hunting Ground
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Amy Ziering and film participant Kamilah Willingham discuss campus sexual assault

Columbia Law Students Visit CWLC
Interns offer a week of Title IX research

CWLC Presents at the Women’s Veterans Summit
Sharing information and resources with women veterans

#WeAreStrong Campaign with the Los Angeles Sparks
Join us on August 30, 2015!

Executive Director’s Message

The California Women’s Law Center has had a busy Spring fighting for the rights of pregnant and parenting teens, students who have been sexually assaulted on college campuses, and women veterans suffering from military sexual assault-related disabilities. As part of this work, CWLC staffers have been in the community advocating for domestic violence services, equal pay and greater economic security, reproductive choice and providing veterans with legal assistance.

In April, we were honored to show The Hunting Ground at the Feminist Majority Foundation and be joined by producer Amy Ziering and film participant Kamilah Willingham for a moving and important discussion about the very real epidemic of campus rape and sexual assault in our country.

We are very excited about our annual Pursuit of Justice luncheon taking place on Thursday, June 18, 2015, where we will be recognizing three legends in Dolores Huerta, Lilly Ledbetter and Peg Yorkin. This will be an amazing opportunity to honor their lifelong leadership in the fight for equal pay and social justice, because while we still have work to do to achieve equality in the workplace, each of these women has fought tirelessly to bring us closer to that goal. CWLC is grateful for their tenacity in securing equal opportunities for all and for allowing us to celebrate their lives. Please plan to join us next month in acknowledging these incredible women and helping CWLC continue our advocacy, training and litigation on behalf of women and girls!

CWLC invites you to join our effort in any way you can, whether it’s signing letters of support for legislation to improve the quality of life for women and girls in California or attending our upcoming Pursuit of Justice event. Together, we can work toward equality and fairness for all.

Thank you for your continued support of our mission.

In pursuit of justice,

Betsy Butler
Interim Executive Director


2015 CWLC Pursuit of Justice Awards: Proudly honoring Dolores Huerta, Lilly Ledbetter and Peg Yorkin

Each year CWLC honors individuals who have been extraordinary advocates in the fight for gender equality and civil rights. On June 18th we will be honoring three icons who have fought for equal rights, fair pay and justice their entire lives and continue to lead the march toward full equality.



DOLORES HUERTA is the President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of the United Farm Workers. She has fostered female leaders and influenced legislation that supports equality and defends civil rights across the country. Dolores received the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, from President Barack Obama in 2012, and the Eleanor D. Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Bill Clinton in 1998.

LILLY LEDBETTER is an equal pay activist whose fight against her former employer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., for discrimination prompted President Barack Obama to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, changing the filing requirements for pay disparity lawsuits. In 2012, she released her book “Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond.”

PEG YORKIN is the Chair of the Board and co-founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of women and girls across the country and around the world, fighting to make sure women in America have access to all forms of birth control and supporting the needs of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Please plan to join us and support the work we do by purchasing your ticket today for this year’s luncheon on June 18th at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Thank you for your generous support and commitment to the work the California Women’s Law Center does.

Distinguished Guest Speaker Series;
Film Screening and Discussion of The Hunting Ground

CWLC was honored to show the film The Hunting Ground and host a discussion with producer Amy Ziering and film participant Kamilah Willingham at the Feminist Majority Foundation in April.

Greeted with a standing ovation from a packed house, Kamilah spoke about her sexual assault case against Harvard University where she attended law school stating, “It’s important that schools have a voice in adjudicating these crimes so that students safety can be assured. The criminal justice system can take several years. If these crimes were left only in their hands, repeat offenders could act with impunity for the entirety of their college career. It’s why we are seeing these epidemic rates of assault at our schools.”

We hope everyone will see this film and become part of the movement to end campus sexual assault. For more information about ways to take action and get support if you are a survivor or know a survivor, go to TheHuntingGroundFilm.com.

CA Partnership to End Domestic Violence Policy Day 2015

In March, CWLC Staff Attorney Laura Riley and Development Associate Kylie Reynolds participated in the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence’s annual Policy Day in Sacramento.

During a busy day of meetings with legislators at the State Capitol, CWLC advocated for important domestic violence services and related bills prioritized by the Partnership, including SB 592 (Leyva), which requires schools to provide education on healthy relationships and adolescent relationship abuse, and AB 418 (Chiu), which strengthens early lease termination provisions for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
(From left) CWLC Staff Attorney Laura Riley with Assemblymember Ling Ling Chang and Marci Fukuroda from Rainbow Services.

Order your #NoMore California License Plate

The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence unveiled the California Says NO MORE license plate this week.

The NO MORE license plates will raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence and all funds collected will support awareness-raising and prevention efforts at organizations serving victims of these violences. 7,500 plates need to be ordered to begin production. Please complete an interest form at NOMOREplate.org


CWLC Hosts Columbia Law School Students

Five Columbia Law School students visited CWLC for a week-long pro bono program in March. The students focused on Title IX research and various writing projects. We were delighted to host them and hope they visit again soon.

Columbia Law School interns with Betsy Butler at CWLC

Women’s Veterans Summit

On March 21, Staff Attorney Laura Riley presented on the Legal Panel at the Fourth Annual Women’s Veterans Summit, titled “Strength and Courage.” The Summit, which was held at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles, provided a host of resources and informational forums for women veterans on topics ranging from women in the workforce to service benefits. Laura presented CWLC’s Housing Policy Paper discussing housing accommodations for women veterans with military sexual trauma-related disabilities and providing legal information to women veterans on a variety of issues.

CWLC’s Housing Policy Paper has been presented to many additional organizations including the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative’s Housing/Homelessness and Legal/Re-Entry committees.

Women’s Veterans Summit 2015

CWLC Participates in the West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference

The 9th annual “West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference: Knowledge. Power. Community” took place May 1-3. The mission of the conference is to provide tools, support and inspiration for women to be successful leaders in their private lives, in business and in the community.

During the conference, CWLC staff Kylie Reynolds and Michele Deane gave information to conference attendees about CWLC’s advocacy and services, including an opportunity for conference attendees to sign and email letters to legislators regarding bills CWLC is supporting to promote equality and economic stability for women and girls in California.

Kylie Reynolds and Michele Deane at the West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference

Support State Legislation with CWLC

There are numerous bills this legislative season impacting the well-being of women and girls and promoting equality in California. CWLC is supporting legislation that encourages healthy relationship education in schools, strengthens job protections for working parents, provides lactation accommodations for parenting teens, improves campus sexual assault reporting and much more.

To learn more about these important bills and sign a petition to show your support, visit http://cwlc.org/action/support-legislation.

#WeAreStrong #WeAreWomen #WeAreLA Campaign with the Los Angeles Sparks: Join us August 30th

CWLC is delighted to be participating in the Los Angeles Sparks #WeAre campaign showcasing the powerful and inspiring women in our community.

We urge you to attend the Los Angeles Sparks basketball game on August 30, 2015, and help the team achieve their goal of having the highest attendance at a game played indoors in WBNA history. Join us in breaking barriers and breaking records!

California Commission on Aging adds CWLC Interim Executive Director Betsy Butler

Interim Executive Director Betsy Butler has been appointed to the California Commission on Aging. As a Commissioner, Betsy will serve on the principal advisory body to the Governor, the Legislature and federal, state and local agencies on issues affecting older individuals living in California. She is excited to participate in the dialogue to effectively plan and prepare for a fast growing population of older Californians.

Staff Attorney Laura Riley joins LAAC Board

The Legal Aid Association of California, a statewide organization of legal nonprofits, welcomed CWLC’s Laura Riley to its Board of Directors, effective May 1st. Laura joins a great group of legal professionals from across the state who work to strengthen LAAC’s efforts to provide advocacy, training and support to its membership of more than 100 legal nonprofits.

Laura is honored to bring her expertise and perspective from CWLC to improving the landscape for organizations providing critical legal assistance to low-income Californians and ensuring justice for all.

New members added to CWLC’s Board of Directors

CWLC is excited to announce we have added three new members to our Board of Directors:

Bethany Kristovich focuses on representing television content creators and law firms in complex civil litigation as a Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP partner. She maintains a busy pro bono practice, including assisting the Disability Rights Legal Center in a class action on behalf of deaf and hard of hearing individuals and volunteering for the Orleans Indigent Defender Program in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Bethany graduated from USC Gould School of Law.

Anna Menedjian is a litigation consultant with the Sizemore Law Firm and manages the firm’s personal injury department. A former journalist with over 17 years of litigation experience, her specialties include investigative research, trial preparation and mediation on personal injury, products liability and mass torts pharmaceutical and medical device cases. Anna is a graduate of Pepperdine University and is presently attending law school at the University of London.

Rasha Gerges Shields, a Jones Day partner, is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer who focuses on complex civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and internal corporate investigations. Before joining Jones Day, the UCLA School of Law graduate spent seven years as an assistant United States attorney in Los Angeles where she also served as the Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

CWLC Welcomes Kylie Reynolds and Cassandra Alexander

CWLC is pleased to introduce Kylie Reynolds, who joined us in February as our Development Associate. Kylie has reported on criminal justice and Southern California legal business for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, KPCC and the UCLA Daily Bruin, among other publications. She found her passion for women’s rights advocacy while directing philanthropy efforts for a service and women’s leadership organization in college and is currently an editor for TWIGGHowTo.com, a website that features how-to guides written by women for women on such issues as finance, home improvement and health. Kylie graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies.

CWLC is happy to introduce legal clerk Cassandra Alexander. Cassandra is starting her final semester at Southwestern Law School in the fall. She enjoys the policy and legal work she has done during her time at CWLC, including the opportunity to assist women veterans at this month’s Goodwill Southern California’s 3rd Annual Veteran Stand Down. Cassandra graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cal State Bakersfield University with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice.

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