Over the last 12 years, we’ve trained over 300 advocates through our Women’s Policy Institute and they have helped pass 23 statewide laws improving health, safety and economic well-being of women and families.
The women advocates we trained have been making the impossible possible.
They have both influenced important policy wins like the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and built strong coalitions and movements for change. Our reproductive justice graduates are the perfect example: over the years, we’ve trained 36 reproductive justice leaders and many are today’s leading advocates in Sacramento.
Meet our Class of 2015 Women’s Policy Institute fellows:
Criminal Justice Team
Our Criminal Justice team worked on Assembly Bill 396 (Jones-Sawyer), also known as Fair Chance at Housing Act. The five women advocates—Marelene Hurd, Stephanie Medley, Marsha Chien, Heather Warnken and Irona Lofton—advocated to end discrimination against people with prior criminal records when applying for housing. Their bill is important because obtaining stable housing is key to successful reintegration into the community and is vital to reuniting women with their children and families.
Domestic Violence Team
Our Domestic Violence Team worked on Senate Bill 592 (Levya), also known as Healthy Relationships and Safe Schools Act. The six women advocates—Stephanie Nguyen, Crystal Guerrero, Maria Reyes, Jesse Torrey, Marissa Seko and Melodie Kruspodin (not pictured)—advocated to prevent violent relationships in adolescence by involving schools in prevention, detection and intervention. This bill is important because early intervention can greatly decrease the risk of domestic violence in adulthood. Learn more.
Our Health Team is working on AB 1299 (Ridley-Thomas), also known as Specialty Mental Health Service for Foster Children. The five women advocates working on this bill—Graciela Larios, Miki Carpenter, Nancy Mejia, Kim Williams and Anna Siria Urzua—are advocating for foster youth to receive mental health care without interruption, even when their residency changes from one county to another. Unfortunately, that care is often discontinued, with negative effects on the youth. Learn more.
Workforce Development Team
Our Workforce Development Team worked on Senate Bill 521 (Liu), also known as CalFresh Employment and Training Program. The four advocates—Cynthia Guzman, Lisa Marroquin, Nikki Newsome and Sequoia Hall—worked to make the CalFresh Employment & Training program more accessible. Though they have the potential to bring women and their families out of poverty, these lifesaving programs are currently widely underutilized. Learn more.