Meet the New Rise Up Leaders in California

California Rise Up Leaders at the Leadership and Advocacy Accelerator in June 2023.

Rise Up Leaders are from and reflect the communities they serve, which means they understand on a deep, personal level the urgent gender equity issues in need of attention and advocacy. Our most recent Leadership and Advocacy Accelerator in California this summer included a group of 23 leaders representing a diverse array of experiences, identities, and career paths.

The one thing all of the new Rise Up Leaders in California had in common? Their unwavering passion and commitment to improving gender equity for the people in their community in areas such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, criminal justice reform, youth engagement, maternal health, economic opportunity, transgender rights, and more.

We asked three new Rise Up Leaders to reflect on their journey so far and what keeps them committed to gender equity.

Sadia Khan, Campaign Coordinator, Family Violence Law Center

How will your experience with Rise Up impact your leadership?

“My experience with Rise Up has already impacted the way I show up in spaces and lean into my leadership. This experience was a reminder not to discount my expertise or make myself smaller for people who are not ready to acknowledge the barriers women and girls face.”

Tonya Lang, Co-Founder, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Lactation Collaborative

Why are you committed to advancing gender equity in your community and as part of the Rise Up global network?

“The needs of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) have traditionally been overlooked, especially in the lactation and reproductive justice fields. Our community knowledge and lived experiences are discounted and ignored. Separately, we may be considered too small to count. But collectively, we constitute a powerful voice.” 

Katie Hasson, Program Director, Center for Genetics and Society

What was one of the most valuable takeaways from the Accelerator?

“I so appreciated the opportunity to connect with and learn from fellow leaders. I am in awe of the vision and amazing work everyone in the cohort is doing to advocate for gender justice in an impressive range of ways.”

Following the Accelerator, Rise Up Leaders in California are eligible to apply for $60,000-$120,000 in grant funding to implement advocacy projects in support of women, girls, and gender-nonconforming people. We will keep you updated as Leaders are selected and embark on these projects to advance gender equity through new laws, policies, and programs in California.

Meet more members of Rise Up’s 2023 California cohort of Leaders here.