Dear AFG Community,

Like you, my heart breaks seeing the tragic events unfold around the world. In the month where we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we draw attention to the current situation in Ukraine and its consequences on the lives of women and girls. Now more than ever, we must band together to amplify the voices of women and girls and ensure their rights are upheld.

Just recently, AFG had the opportunity to speak to the California Legislative Women’s Caucus about the findings from our Uniting Isolated Voices research and their implications for the California state budget. As we are frequently called upon to share information, resources, and data, we are building on our mission to reach more girls and gender-expansive youth. That’s why I am so excited to announce that AFG is furthering its impact by partnering with Los Angeles-based girl-serving organizations to co-create an AFG L.A.

In 2020, AFG commissioned a report, Girl, You Can Do Anything, to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of girls of color within Los Angeles County. The report brought community-based organizations and leaders together to inform community stakeholders about what girls in the L.A. County neighborhoods say they need to thrive. We are thrilled to continue partnering with these impactful thought leaders who now form our AFG L.A. Advisory Team. 

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we look ahead to our next phase, in which girls beyond the borders of our Bay Area counties can benefit from all the resources offered to them. We cannot wait to celebrate the success of all our members and partners at our October conference and imagine together how to create another decade of change! This year for the first time ever, our conference will offer a hybrid experience, in-person and online, which means that this unforgettable gathering will be accessible to so many more girls and their champions across California and beyond.

Meet our AFG L.A. Advisory Team

AFG is privileged to have the support, expertise, and strategic thought partnership of our L.A. Advisory Team made up of inspiring women who will help us strengthen the girl-serving sector in Los Angeles. We are thrilled to have them on board!

Abbe Land, Los Angeles County Women and Girls Initiative

Abbe Land served as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Women and Girls Initiative (WGI), which was created to help improve the lives of women and girls through changes in policy, program development, and strategic partnerships. 

She served as an elected Councilmember of the City of West Hollywood from 1986-1997 and from 2003-2015, serving as Mayor five times. Through her political advocacy, Ms. Land was instrumental in the development of the City’s Women’s and Disability Advisory Boards, domestic violence prevention program for same-sex couples, gender-neutral bathroom ordinance, green building ordinance, and landmark gun control legislation. 

Ms. Land currently serves on the Women Against Gun Violence Advisory Board; the L.A. County Department of Public Health’s Women’s Health Policy Council; Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles Board of Directors; Creative Acts Advisory Board; MAZON’s Public Policy Committee and the AIDS Community Action Foundation Board of Directors.

Amy Ludwig, MOSTe

Amy Ludwig mentored with MOSTe for nearly 10 years and served three years on the Board before becoming Executive Director in October 2018. 

She previously worked as a writer, a teacher, and in theater, TV, and film production. Her award-winning stage adaptation of Sandra Cisneros’ novel The House on Mango Street has had over 30 productions nationwide. 

Throughout her career, Amy has been passionate about education, youth development, and women’s rights. She holds a B.A. in Literature from Yale and an M.A. in Performance Studies from Northwestern and is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to support the young women of MOSTe.

Jill Thompson, Public Counsel

Jill Thompson is the Directing Attorney of the Audrey Irmas Project for Women & Girls’ Rights at Public Counsel (WGR). WGR provides free legal services to cis- and transgender women, girls, and non-binary individuals experiencing discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, wage theft, and other violations of their rights at school or at work. WGR also advocates locally and at the state level for policies to advance gender justice, equity, and opportunity for women, girls, and people of all gender identities. 

A Harvard Law School graduate and native of Los Angeles, Ms. Thompson has more than twenty-five years of experience in the United States and internationally, working to protect human rights and promote gender equality. Her experience includes managing the Women’s Justice and Empowerment Initiative in Southern Africa for USAID and serving as the Advisor on Human Trafficking for the OSCE. 

Kandee Rochelle Lewis, Positive Results Corporation

Kandee Rochelle Lewis is the Executive Director of Positive Results Center; Founder of Black Women Leaders of Los Angeles; a Civil Rights Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles, Civil and Human Rights Commission; and she was recently appointed to serve on Kaiser Permanente’s Bernard J. Tyson, Community Engagement Stakeholder Committee. 

Kandee is also a certified domestic violence, sexual assault, and suicide awareness prevention advocate, addressing trauma from a cultural and age perspective. Through training for youth and parents, facilitated events, and the creation of youth-peer advocacy programs, Lewis provides tools and strategies to form and maintain healthy, productive relationships. Kandee trained with the National Association of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the Women of Color Network. She is a member of the L.A. City Council's Domestic Violence Roundtable and Mayor Eric Garcetti's Human Trafficking Portal.

Lewis's work is well recognized: the L.A. County Board of Supervisors named Kandee its Women of the Year in 2017 and Vanguard recognized her as a Most Influential African American in Los Angeles in 2018. Additional Honors and Awards include the 2022 California Black Women’s Collective Trailblazer Hall of Fame Award, 2021 Phenomenal Women Awards, 2019 Champion of Peace & Non-Violence Award, the Trailblazers Award, and the Community Plus Award, 2014, the Johnnie L. Cochran Award for Youth Violence Prevention and the 2015 Woman of the Year.

Keyonna Keith, EmpowerHer Institute

Keyonna Keith is committed to serving under-served and marginalized youth through mentoring and educational programs. As an undergraduate, Keyonna worked with the UCLA Urban Collaborative P.A.L.S. Program to provide high school students in Watts, California, mentorship, and guidance with college preparation. 

Prior to joining EmpowHer Keyonna has worked in the non-profit sector managing and developing engaging after-school programs that provide tutoring and enrichment activities to students in Inglewood and Compton Unified School Districts. 

Keyonna earned a Bachelor of Arts in African-American Studies and Political Science from Loyola Marymount University and a Juris Doctor from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Sharon Shelton, YWCA of Greater Los Angeles

Sharon Shelton is the Chief Operating Officer for the YWCA Greater Los Angeles. In her current position, she has expanded the organization to 175 staff, interns, and consultants impacting more than 100,000 individuals and groups. Under Sharon’s management, a strong foundation for programs is evident; the Early Care and Education Program expanded its served population by 40%, with a focus on the intellectual development of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. In addition, as a result of her direction, the YWCA GLA now operates the largest Sexual Assault Crisis Services Program in Los Angeles County, managing three rape crisis centers and two university gender violence programs. 

Throughout her involvement in the social empowerment movement, Ms. Shelton is called upon to advocate for social justice issues exemplified by the YWCA mission. Commissioner Shelton served on the Alcohol and Other Drug Commission addressing issues and the negative impact of substance use disorders on the quality of life for individuals and their families in Los Angeles County. She is the former Chair of the Los Angeles Community Action Board which has oversight for the delivery of anti-poverty services to impoverished communities. 

In March 2017 she was appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to the Women and Girls Initiative to better address the disproportionate disadvantages faced by women and girls. Sharon holds a Master of Arts Degree in Behavioral Science and has a Certification in Mediation and Conflict Management issued by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office.

Do you know of any girl-serving organizations in Los Angeles that should be part of the network and our Girls’ Service Directory? Please contact miari@alliance4girls.org.

In community, 

Cynthia Nimmo

Interim Executive Director

*AFG’s future work in Los Angeles would not be possible without generous funding from the California Community Foundation.