Summer Update 2016


Summer 2016

Dear Supporter,

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…

2016 Annual Pursuit of Justice Awards

Aging, Women and Poverty In California Forum

CWLC and LA Sparks #WeAreWomen Campaign

CWLC Participates in the First United State of Women Summit

CWLC Celebrates Title IX 43rd Anniversary at the Getty House

CWLC Advocacy and Legislative Update

Erika Norman joins CWLC Board

Amy Poyer joins CWLC Staff

Executive Director’s Message

Hello and thank you for supporting the California Women’s Law Center and our work to ensure equality and fairness for women and girls throughout California.

CWLC had a very busy spring and summer has been equally active as we continue to advocate for veterans, older Americans, members of the LGBT community, victims of domestic violence and victims of campus sexual assault. Requests for assistance regarding Title IX parity on the playing field are frequent and we remain committed to the needs of incarcerated women and their families.

We are also focused to ensure that women lead healthy lives and have access to reproductive options so they can be empowered to be productive and independent. Good health is central to a person’s success, which is why this year at our annual Pursuit of Justice Awards lunch we recognized three organizations that are dedicated to ensuring women’s medical needs are addressed through research, funding and access to quality care. We thank the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Downtown Women’s Center and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles for their commitment to providing the care and information necessary for women to make informed choices which will benefit them throughout their lives.

Additionally, CWLC is focused on the needs of older Americans. In June we co-hosted the “Aging, Women and Poverty In California” forum with the California Commission on Aging and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. At this forum, we addressed the challenges families and older women in California face and also initiated a strategy of awareness and action that will be summarized in a White Paper to be distributed later this summer. We are excited to share the Paper so you can participate in the conversation about the needs of our aging population.

And, we remain active in advocating for women and girls through legislation. I have been to Sacramento several times this year to testify or participate in press conferences regarding legislation we are sponsoring to improve Californians’ lives.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our mission of pursuing justice for women and girls. We are a small but mighty group of committed advocates who, with your help, will continue to speak out for the most vulnerable among us. The California Women’s Law Center is proud to be a part of the movement to improve the lives of women and girls and we thank you for your partnership in this effort.

Yours in equality,

Betsy Butler

Executive Director


The 2016 Pursuit of Justice Awards Luncheon honoring the Downtown Women’s Center, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles

The California Women’s Law Center held its annual Abby J. Leibman Pursuit of Justice Awards Ceremony and Lunch on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Robyn Ritter Simon served as our Mistress of Ceremonies.


Brad Sears, Assistant Dean of Programs & Executive Director, The Williams Institute; Sue Dunlap, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles; Betsy Butler, Executive Director, CWLC; Julie Rabinovitz, President & CEO, California Family Health Council; Lois Thompson, CWLC Board President and Partner, Proskauer Rose LLP; Robyn Ritter Simon; Anne Miskey, CEO, Downtown Women’s Center; Alina Salganicoff, Vice President & Director, Women’s Health Policy, Kaiser Family Foundation

The California Women’s Law Center is committed to the fight to ensure all women have access to quality healthcare and accurate health information and this year we recognized three outstanding organizations for their dedication to women’s health. All of our honorees, the Downtown Women’s Center, Kaiser Family Foundation and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, are committed to providing accessible and reliable healthcare to women and families in need.

A special thank you to our sponsors, donors and attendees for supporting CWLC’s mission of fighting for the rights of women and girls. Together, we can make the lives of others safer, healthier and more just.

Click here to see photos from the event!

“Aging, Women and Poverty In California” Forum

On June 3rd, the California Women’s Law Center co-hosted the “Aging, Women and Poverty In California forum at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. CWLC was proud to partner with the California Commission on Aging and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls to discuss the challenges that community and policy leaders should address as our population ages. With 34,000 Californians turning 65 each month, the Golden State needs to prepare for a dramatic change in the priorities of its citizens.

Program Speakers: Alissa Ko, White House Office of Public Engagement; Paul Downey, Serving Seniors and Chair, California Commission on Aging; Sandi Fitzpatrick, California Commission on Aging; Hon. Hilda L. Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor; Hon. Carol Liu, California State Senate; Hon. Kevin de León, California Senate President pro Tempore; Betsy Butler, California Women’s Law Center; Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls

We thank the moderators, panelists and speakers for sharing their experience regarding the dynamics, demographics and realities aging Californians must consider.

We also thank the participants of the forum for discussing the factors contributing to higher rates of poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, abuse, fraud, lack of medication and loneliness for women in particular and families in general. Nationally, one in six Americans age 65 and older is living in poverty. Over the next decades, the older adult population in California will nearly double by more than 4 million people, which will have demonstrative effects on nearly every aspect of our society. To be clear, aging in California is a women’s issue because women represent 40% more of the over-65 population than men. Photo: CWLC Executive Director Betsy Butler with Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

CWLC looks forward to continuing our work with the California Commission on Aging, the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and many other policy and elected leaders who can implement changes to address the challenges families and older women in California face and build a strategy of awareness and action throughout the state. Photo: CWLC Executive Director Betsy Butler with Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.

CWLC remains committed to the ongoing fight for women’s rights and elder justice. If you would like to view documents shared at the Aging, Women and Poverty In California forum, please go here.


Join Us July 10th:

#WeAreWomen Campaign with the LA Sparks

Members of the LA Sparks, Magic Johnson, Community Leaders, CWLC Board Member Christa Demeke (4th from left), and CWLC Executive Director Betsy Butler (2nd from the right) at the 2015 kick off.

How do we impact change?

How do we showcase women in our community?

How do we defeat the odds?

Betsy Butler Christa Demeke CWLC Sparks We Are Women CampaignThe kick-off of the #WeAreWomen campaign at the Staples Center last year on 8.30.15 sold out for the first time in Los Angeles Sparks franchise history, featuring stories of women leaders, and creating a campaign that went beyond the baseline and into the community. CWLC Board Member Christa Demeke and Executive Director Betsy Butler (pictured left) were two of the women honored last year.

On 7.10.16 be a part of the experience as we reach for new heights selling out the Staples Center once again and showing up for the women in our community. New for the 2016 season and in addition to the #WeAreWomen program is the #WeAreGirls Inspirational Essay Contest, which will set the challenge for the young girls in our community to submit an essay about who is the most inspirational woman in their life. Four finalists will be recognized on 7.10.16 and the best essay will be awarded a $3,000 scholarship.

Please join CWLC. You can purchase tickets to the game, the VIP luncheon or become a sponsor by going to the Sparks website.



The White House Summit on The United State of Women

CWLC participated in the first-ever White House Summit on the United State of Women which was held in June in Washington, DC. The United State of Women Summit brought together thousands of people who are working today to change tomorrow. #StateofWomen

The purpose of the summit was to celebrate the progress women have made and turn our collective focus to the future and the work we need to do together to achieve true gender equality.

Photo: Members of Congress and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

NAWBO-LA Community Leader Award

NAWBO Awards 2016 Betsy Butler Anna Menedjian Lois Thompson Amy PoyerSupported by CWLC Board Members Anna Menedjian and Lois Thompson, as well as Senior Staff Attorney Amy Poyer, Executive Director Betsy Butler received the National Association of Women Business Owners Los Angeles Community Leader Award. CWLC thanks NAWBO-LA for their commitment to empowering women and supporting women business owners across Los Angeles County. Photo: Left to right, Anna Menedjian, Betsy Butler, Christine Simmons, Amy Poyer and Lois Thompson.


CWLC Celebrates Title IX 43rd Anniversary at the Getty House

Title IX Getty House Los AngelesCWLC staff and summer interns celebrated the 43rd anniversary of Title IX at the Mayor’s residence, the Getty House. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. CWLC regularly receives complaints about potential Title IX violations and works with school districts to comply with the law.

CWLC Advocacy and Legislative Update

SB 813 CA 2016CWLC is sponsoring and advocating for SB 813, the “Justice for Victims Act,” which seeks to eliminate the statute of limitations for rape in California. Specifically, SB 813 seeks to ensure justice for victims and survivors of felony sexual offenses by allowing the indefinite criminal prosecution of rape and other sex acts.

The measure was introduced by State Senator Connie Leyva and is working through the legislative process and will be heard on the Assembly Floor on August 2nd.

CWLC also continues to advocate for SB 384, also authored by Senator Leyva. The measure seeks to ensure that part of the funds made available through the passage of Proposition 41 are used to provide housing for underserved veterans, including those who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) due to MST (military sexual trauma). The bill has moved through the Senate and will be heard in Assembly Appropriations in August.

Photo: Press conference for SB 813 (from left) Gloria Allred, California State Senator Connie Leyva, Assemblyman Mike Gipson, “Kacey” Alleged Sexual Assault Victim, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and CWLC Executive Director Betsy Butler.

Meet our new Board Member, Erika Norman

Erika Norman CWLC Board MemberErika Norman is an Associate at Arnold & Porter, where her practice focuses on complex civil litigation and environmental matters, including actions under the Clean Water Act, Oil Pollution Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Norman served as a law clerk to the Honorable Charles F. Lettow at the United States Court of Federal Claims. She was a summer associate at Arnold & Porter in 2008. Ms. Norman completed her undergraduate work at Middlebury College, graduated first in her class from the University of Oregon School of Law and was elected the Order of the Coif. Ms. Norman served as an Articles Editor of the Oregon Law Review. We are please to welcome Erika to the CWLC Board.



We Are Pleased to Welcome Amy Poyer

Amy Poyer has joined the California Women’s Law Center as a Senior Staff Attorney. Prior to joining CWLC, Ms. Poyer was a litigation associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Los Angeles, where she represented a wide array of clients in large-scale commerical disputes, and took on several pro bono matters, including representation of domestic violence victims and LGBT clients in petitions for asylum before the immigration court. Before joining Akin Gump, Ms. Poyer spent a year as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Justice Warren E. Jones of the Idaho Supreme Court in Boise, Idaho. She earned her juris doctor magna cum laude from Pepperdine University School of Law and received her Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics, magna cum laude, from UCLA.

CWLC Hosts Columbia Law School Students

CWLC Columbia Law School Students 2016Five Columbia Law School students visited CWLC during their week-long spring break. The students – Daria Cherkov, Antonia Hyman, Lanna Lan, Ashley Lherisson and Cynthia Luo – focused on Title IX and prepared a comprehensive publication about gender discrimination in education. We were delighted to host them and hope they visit again soon.

In order for the California Women’s Law Center to advocate, provide legal services, and conduct educational trainings on behalf of women and girls, we rely on your support. Any donation you can make is greatly appreciated.