WPI Victory Lap 2020

As we pass from one season to another, I want to take a moment to celebrate the big victories, small successes, and life-changes across the Women’s Policy Institute Alum Network. I am awed, inspired, and deeply appreciative to this remarkable network of dedicated advocates.

Campaign Updates

  • Mazel Tov to Suely Saro (2013), first Cambodian American to win a seat on the Long Beach City Council.
  • Many congrats to Waunette Cullors (2017) for her Keppel/Antelope Valley School Board of Trustee win.
  • Felicitations to Jocelyn Vargas (2013) and Kimberly Calvin (2021) for their respective seats on the Coachella Valley Unified School District Governing Board and San Bernardino City Council.

KUDOS to the alums who ran great campaigns – we are so proud of you:

  • Maria Cadenas (2020) Santa Cruz City Council
  • Mayra Perez Diaz (2017) Greenfield/Monterey County School Board
  • Danielle Guillen (2018) Redlands Unified School District, Governing Board Area 5
  • Jessie Ryan (2009) Sacramento School Board
  • Miranda Sheffield (2021) Pomona/Los Angeles County City Council

To everyone else reading this – now is the time to RUN for something!

Congratulations to Eunisses Hernandez (2016 + 18), Ivette Alé (2020), Diana Zuniga (2014 + 17) for their hard-won and heart-felt work on Measure J, which will divert more county money to social services and jail diversion programs.

And coming in under the 2020 wire, hearty shout out to Haleema Bharoocha (2020) whose Alliance for Girls #WhenGirlsThrive COVID-19 research and advocacy initiative moved the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to confirm and approve $1M from the county reserves for period product distribution to vulnerable populations.


Guadalupe Rodriguez (2008)is the new Executive Director for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice.

Lauren Babb (2020) is the new Assistant Director of Legislation and Regulations at the California Department of Developmental Services. 

Eunisses Hernandez started La Defensa, whose mission is to decarcerate the largest jail population in the United States by building the power of communities most impacted by the LA County District Attorney, law enforcement, and the LA County jail system, with aid from Ivette Alé, who is working full time with Dignity and Power Now as their Senior Policy Lead and supporting La Defensa part time.

Laura Jimenez (2012), RJ activist extraordinaire, was featured in Colorlines where she talks about the horrors of eugenics and the need for a national reeducation to protect reproductive health.

Therese Hughes (2004) published the photo journal In a Heartbeat which showcases the strength, courage, and humanity of 90 women who have served the U.S. between World War II to the present.

Susan Burton ( 2005) was featured or published opinion pieces in the New York Times,  Newsweek, Thomson Reuters Foundation News, and the November issue of the Oprah Magazine.

Romarilyn Ralston (2018), Program Director for Project Rebound at CSU Fullerton, participated in a number of panels for the California Criminal Justice Funders Group 2020 Funder Education Series.

Jessie Ryan was the recipient of the Center for Urban Education’s 2020 Racial Equity Visionary Award.

Ericka O. Erickson (2017) is the new Program and Policy Officer for Early Care and Education at the Low Income Investment Fund.

Nomsa Khalfani (2013) was appointed to the Los Angeles City Health Commission representing CD 8 and selected to the County of Los Angeles Community Prevention and Population Health Task Force.

Cecilia Zamora (2005) was inducted into the Marin County Women’s Hall of Fame.

Big gratitude to Kalyn Dean (2020), Freddie Francis (2020), Shirley Yee (2020), Ralston, and Ericka O. Erickson for graciously serving on the California Womxn Rising 2020 Advisory Committee.

Last, but not least, deep appreciation to the alums who presented to, shared with, and inspired our State and Local fellows during their trainings and our Alum Network webinars:

  • Nina Alcaraz
  • Lauren Babb
  • Haleema Bharoocha
  • Tiffaney Boyd
  • Maria Cadenas
  • Kim Carter
  • Michaé de la Cuadra
  • Emily Harris
  • Flor Hunt
  • Laura Jimenez
  • Diamond Lee
  • Amika Mota
  • Amber Akemi Piatt
  • Romarilyn Ralston
  • Guadalupe Rodriguez
  • Julia Root
  • Jessie Ryan
  • Desiree Sanchez
  • Suely Saro
  • Karen A. Scott
  • Diane Tober
  • Jacqueline Perez Valencia
  • Diana Zuniga

The generous spirit and profound wisdom of our Alum network continues to provide vision, strength, and solace to the Women’s Foundation California community in 2020 and beyond.

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