Summer Update 2015

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.  Join us!

In this issue

September 2nd: CWLC’s Distinguished Guest Speaker Series
Incarcerated Women and Girls – Understanding Their Needs

The 2015 Pursuit of Justice Awards
Thank You to Our Supporters for a Successful Event

Supporting the Needs of Our Women Veterans
CWLC Trainings and One-On-One Legal Support

CWLC Presents at National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles
NCJW Student Interns Ask For Information About Title IX

CWLC Staff Kick-Off the #WeAreWomen Campaign
Join us on August 30, 2015!

We Are Pleased to Welcome Kamilah Willingham and Alejandra Rosales
New Staff Members at CWLC

Executive Director’s Message

The California Women’s Law Center has been very active this summer advocating for the rights of students who have been sexually assaulted on college campuses and women veterans suffering from military sexual assault.  We also continue our work addressing economic and reproductive justice matters as well as a focus on women who are or have been involved in our corrections system.

In June, CWLC drew a full house for our 2015 Pursuit of Justice Awards at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel where we recognized three legendary social justice advocates in Dolores Huerta, Lilly Ledbetter and Peg Yorkin.  Thank you to those of you who supported the event and helped acknowledge our tremendous honorees commitment to creating equal opportunities for all.  Celebrating their amazing work provided a very inspirational and motivating atmosphere and added momentum to CWLC’s ability to continue to advocate, train and litigate on behalf of women and girls.

We invite you to join us on September 2nd for our next Distinguished Guest Speaker Series addressing Incarcerated Women and Girls.  The focus of the forum will be to find ways to work together to ensure California’s corrections system is as fair and responsive as possible.  The event will take place at the Feminist Majority Foundation in Beverly Hills from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Another way you can get involved with CWLC this summer is by attending the Los Angeles Sparks basketball game at the Staples Center on Sunday, August 30th.  The L.A. Sparks are working to sell out their August 30th game and thereby set a record for the highest attended game in WNBA history. Join us and help make history as the #WeAreWomen campaign acknowledges women leaders and advocates in our community.

We hope to see you soon and thank you again for your continued support of CWLC.

In strength,

Betsy Butler, Executive Director

CWLC’s Distinguished Guest Speaker Series: Incarcerated Women and Girls

Throughout the year, CWLC holds a number of Distinguished Guest Speaker Series discussions where community and organization leaders are provided an opportunity to speak about pressing issues.

Please join us on Wednesday, September 2nd, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (light dinner at 5:30 p.m.) at the Feminist Majority Foundation in Beverly Hills for a discussion about the needs of women and girls who have been incarcerated in California. The forum will include panelists Terri McDonald, the Assistant Sherriff of Custody Operations at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; Patricia Soung from the Center of Juvenile Law and Policy at Loyola Law School; and Norma Cumpian an advocate for incarcerated women and girls in California.  The panel will be moderated by Heidi Rummel who is a Clinical Professor at the USC Gould School of Law and the Director of the Post-Conviction Justice Project.  Introductions will by given by Scott Budnick, founder of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, and Stephen Walker of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.  There will be a question and answer section at the end of the program so please plan to join us.

Seating is limited.  Please RSVP here.

The 2015 Pursuit of Justice Awards

On June 18th, CWLC was honored to recognize Dolores Huerta, Lilly Ledbetter and Peg Yorkin at the 2015 Pursuit of Justice Awards luncheon held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

POJ 2015 collage

Dolores Huerta was introduced by her friend, actor and activist Ed Begley Jr., who shared his respect and experiences fighting for justice with Dolores. Los Angeles County Supervisor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis introduced Lilly Ledbetter and spoke of their time in Washington D.C. when President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009. Cathy Unger, the Chair of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, talked about the work she and Peg Yorkin have lead to ensure women’s reproductive rights are truly realized.  Special thanks to Ana Garcia who did a great job again this year as our event emcee.

Thank you again to our guests and sponsors for helping CWLC share their gratitude with our legendary advocates.  Photos from the event can be viewed on CWLC’s Facebook page.

Join Us August 30th: #WeAreWomen #WeAreLA Campaign with the LA Sparks

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


CWLC staff and law clerks attend LA Sparks game on July 22

We urge you to join CWLC at 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. Prior to the game, there will be a festival outside of the Staples Center with musical performances, speakers and vendors highlighting women and the #WeAreWomen #WeAreLA celebration.  Join us in breaking barriers and breaking records!

Legal Events for Women Veterans

Staff Attorney Laura Riley participated in a presentation regarding the legal rights and issues facing women veterans at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall. Assisted by law clerks Cassandra Alexander and Emily Champlin, Laura also led the women veterans in an arts and crafts activity that explored their perspectives of their rights as women and veterans.  A special thank you to Gail’s Frames and Gallery in Manhattan Beach for donating the frames for this project and please stop by Bob Hope Patriotic Hall to see one of the collages which is proudly on display.

In June, our legal clerks also participated in Goodwill Southern California’s 3rd Annual Veteran Stand Down where they provided information to veterans with various legal questions and issues.



End Domestic Violence. 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 in May. All funds collected from the California #NoMorePlate will support awareness and prevention efforts for organizations serving victims of domestic violence.

Production of the plates cannot begin until a minimum of 7,500 have been ordered, so please support efforts to end domestic violence and reserve your plate today. You can complete an interest form at



Oakwood Elementary Students Interview CWLC Staff

In June, CWLC Communications Director Michele Deane spoke to 4th grade students at Oakwood Elementary School about current legislation affecting women and girls in California.

As a result of the meeting, the students collected signatures in support of the equality bills discussed and brought the petitions to legislators in Sacramento during their trip to the State Capitol.


CWLC Presents at National Council of Jewish Women

CWLC staff presented on Title IX and sexual assault issues for teen interns at The National Council of Jewish Women in Los Angeles (NCJW).  The presentation assisted the interns with their project addressing sexual assault on college campuses and the students incorporated the Title IX information they acquired from CWLC’s presentation into a peer-to-peer workshop regarding sexual assault on college campuses.

The workshop was created to explore ways our society normalizes violence and to analyze stereotypes about sexual assault. The students also conducted in-depth discussions about consent, shared general definitions and statistics about sexual assault and knowing your Title IX rights. As the students further develop the program, they hope to eventually present their educational peer-to-peer workshop in Los Angeles high schools.

CWLC was delighted to speak with such passionate and committed young women and appreciates their interest in addressing campus sexual assault.


Cultural Competency in Representing Veterans

CWLC staff attorney Laura Riley and Dwight Stirling of the Veterans Legal Institute gave a presentation to attorneys and veteran advocates regarding “Cultural Competency in Representing Veterans” at the LA Law Library.  The presentation focused on the challenges lawyers may encounter when representing military veterans and discussed approaches to help attorneys connect with military veteran clients by building trust and addressing common civilian biases and assumptions. 


Laura Riley and Dwight Stirling at the LA Law Library

CWLC Welcomes Kamilah Willlingham and Alejandra Rosales

CWLC is thrilled to introduce our new Program and Outreach Director Kamilah Willingham.  A graduate of Harvard Law School and Pomona College, Kamilah is an outspoken advocate and activist dedicated to gender equality, social justice and human rights. She was recently featured in the documentary The Hunting Ground, in which she spoke about her experience reporting sexual assault at Harvard Law School. She has since participated in several public speaking engagements on the issue of campus sexual assault, including BinderCon, TEDWomen, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. Prior to joining the California Women’s Law Center, Kamilah worked at Just Detention International (JDI), an organization dedicated to ending sexual abuse in detention where she provided training and technical assistance to advocates and corrections officials, as well as support and information to incarcerated survivors of sexual abuse.

CWLC is also pleased to introduce Alejandra Rosales who is our new Development Associate.  Alejandra recently graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts with a degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and a concentration in Latina/o Studies.  While at Williams College, she was a Co-Chair of the Feminist Collective, an on-campus forum created to address issues like campus sexual assault, reproductive rights, domestic violence and economic inequality.  As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellow, she participated in various research projects which focused on women and feminist issues. She has presented several research papers including one at the 2015 National Women’s Studies Conference in Puerto Rico.

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