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South LA Now: representing women of color

Juliana D. Norwood | 2/20/2013, 5 p.m.

South LA NOW is a young women and women of color chapter dedicated to leveraging the power and history of South Los Angeles to create a more inclusive and rich environment for women and girls. The organization's specific local efforts include: intimate partner violence, access to comprehensive healthcare, environmental justice issues, and developing female advocates in policy.

South LA NOW believes that young women are the change-makers for Los Angeles. The organization had a strong stance on a number of issues affecting women, including but not limited to, ending violence against women, reproductive justice, pay equity for women, and social and environmental justice.

The organization is unique in its approach to the issue of violence against women, emphasizing that there are many interrelated aspects to the issue--domestic violence; sexual assault; sexual harassment; violence at abortion clinics; hate crimes across lines of gender, sexuality and race, "all of which result from society's attitudes toward women and efforts to keep women in their place," says the organization.

South LA NOW affirms that reproductive rights are issues of life and death for women, and supports access to safe and legal abortion, to effective birth control and emergency contraception, to reproductive health services and education for all women. "We oppose attempts to restrict these rights through legislation, regulation or Constitutional amendment," said Juana Rosa Cavero, president of South LA Now.

When it comes to environmental justice, we believe that all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender or income level, deserve to enjoy equally high levels of environmental protection. Too often, families of color and low-income have been excluded from the environmental policy setting or decision-making process, resulting in a disproportionate impact from one or more environmental hazards; and where residents experience disparate implementation of environmental regulations, requirements, practices and activities in their communities. South LA NOW works with environmental justice groups to address the inequities of environmental protection in these communities," said Cavero.

Most recently South LA NOW announced its endorsement of Eric Garcetti for mayor of Los Angeles.

After conducting endorsement interviews with the candidates and researching their records, the chapter is confident in supporting the candidate with the most capacity, commitment and interest in advancing the health and engagement of South Los Angeles' women and girls.

Cavero stated: "Eric Garcetti has demonstrated his uncompromising stance on building political power among women so we can be the leaders and visionaries needed to face the disparities present in our communities."

"Eric Garcetti is the only candidate running for mayor who authored the legislation for local implementation of CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women). He sponsored City Council sessions to educate the public about myths surrounding sexual assault and led the fight to secure the funding necessary to eliminate the backlog of DNA rape kits.

"It is crucial that the next mayor of Los Angeles have a track record of policies and programs that improve the lives of women and families," she said. "Garcetti has proven that he has the courage to take on the difficult issues that bring about real change. As Nourbese Flint, South LA NOW vice president, said, "South Los Angeles needs a mayor that knows that supporting women is about more than just being a woman. It is about creating opportunities for women and girls through policy and action across Los Angeles . . . and today that person is Eric Garcetti."

For more information on South LA NOW, visit the organizations website at www.southlanow.org.