On June 15, 2016, California legislature and Governor Jerry Brown repealed one of the state’s most discriminatory laws and practices through the 2016-17 state budget deal.
“The Maximum Family Grant rule stemmed from racist, classist, sexist stereotypes of women of color and affected generations of poor children,” said Laura Jimenez.
“There was a need for local voices,” said Margarita Luna, a program manager with The California Endowment. She funded the creation of the Women’s Policy Institute-County to empower women to advocate for social and economic change in the Eastern Coachella Valley, an unincorporated part of Riverside County where many residents are poor agricultural workers from Latino immigrant families.
The very nature of their work keeps domestic workers hidden from view. It might have stayed that way but for the commitment of organizers like Katie Joaquin. In 2013 domestic workers used public policy and their powerful voices to win a workplace right they had been denied for decades: overtime pay. In 2016, they are advocating again to make that hard-fought right permanent.
California is the seventh largest economy in the world, yet it accounts for 20 percent of the nation’s homeless population—nearly 115,000 people. Women and children are the fastest growing homeless population today. Kim Carter, executive director of Time for Change Foundation, overcame homelessness, prison and addiction to start a visionary organization that supports women as they rebuild and reclaim their lives.
“This whole policy thing is very new to me. I have an organizing background. I know how to talk to people, listen to their stories and make them understand that they’re leaders. I know how to help people see the power that they have within themselves."
From domestic violence survivor to human rights activist, Women's Policy Institute-Riverside fellow Nancy Valenzuela has overcome insurmountable obstacles in order to become the formidable champion for women that she is today.
“Luckily for us, the teachers told us about the looming hazardous waste disaster. We had no idea. My two boys were playing and splashing in the puddles. I cringe when I think about it: They were making foam beards!”