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    EQCA Brunch to Honor Accomplishments of Womxn





    By Leslie Katz, Esq.–

    A few months ago, Equality California (EQCA)—the nonprofit I’ve been a part of since the early 2000s—approached me to help chair an event honoring womxn. I jumped at the opportunity, not only because it’s important to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of all women in both public and private sectors, but also because, since its founding in 1998 (as CAPE), EQCA has benefited from the dedicated work of women in the fight for equality.

    EQCA is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We are California’s only LGBTQ civil rights organization working at the local, state and national levels.

    Diane Abbitt and I were co-chairs and board members of Equality California in the early 2000s. We did this at a time when there were few women leading large nonprofits.

    According to GuideStar’s 2015 Nonprofit Compensation Report, only 18 percent of nonprofits with an annual budget of $50 million or more had a female CEO. Although there has been an increase in women-led nonprofits with budgets of $1 million or more since then, women leadership still lags in this sector. EQCA has consistently focused efforts on gender parity—from the boards to the staff to the legislation for which we advocate.

    California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis

    I’ve been proud of EQCA for leading the way in promoting gender parity in our community because, when the persistent public perception of an LGBTQ person is a white gay man, organizational leaders understood the contributions of women and people of color in our community and the need to have us present in all conversations of equality.

    It was women who were helping our friends in San Francisco during the early days of HIV and AIDS. Our trans and lesbian sisters were and continue to be on the frontlines for the battle for equality. Today, women continue to be conversation leaders and facilitators of change—just look to California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, who has shattered glass ceilings as the first female LGBTQ speaker of the California Assembly, the first woman and first LGBTQ person to serve as president pro tem of the California Senate, and one of just four people to serve ever in both positions.

    So, it’s no accident that EQCA has been working hand in hand with LGBTQ leaders like Atkins, Congresswoman Katie Hill, and Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman to ensure that we have not only a voice but also a seat at the table. Over the years, women allies including California State Controller Betty Yee and Laurie Hasencamp, who is the acting director of strategic education and initiatives at UCLA’s Williams Institute, have played integral roles in the organization and on our board.

    We’re setting the table, gearing up for continued action on behalf of the community, and this event, EQCA’s Womxn Brunch – San Francisco, is another way to honor and celebrate the power and strength of all women. Plus, it will include a fun, dynamic group of womxn and allies, great food, a hosted bar and all for a good cause that is needed now more than ever.

    A panel discussion in the event space at Manny’s.

    We’re happy to have California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis as our special guest speaker for the brunch on Saturday, September 7. It will be from 11 am–1 pm at Manny’s, 3092 16th Street in San Francisco. I am proud to co-chair the event with another amazing woman, Valerie Ploumpis, EQCA’s national policy director. We all look forward to having you join us!

    Tickets are $100 and include brunch and a hosted bar. To purchase tickets, go to
    Other EQCA womxn events are planned for Palm Springs in November and in Los Angeles next year.

    Leslie Katz, Esq., is a former San Francisco Supervisor, former President of the Port of San Francisco and a past Chair of the Democratic County Central Committee. She is now a partner at the global firm CKR Law.