Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, November 12, 2002


Page 4


Women’s Law Center Co-Founder Blasts GOP Government as Anti-Family


By ALLISON LOMAS, Staff Writer


Former California Women’s Law Center director Abby J. Leibman scolded an audience gathered Friday for the presentation of an award named in her honor for any part they may have played in the strengthening of a Republican chokehold that she considers hazardous to women and children.

“It stinks!” Liebman said of election results that put Republicans in control of the Senate. “We should all be ashamed.”

Leibman’s harsh remarks preceded the presentation of the Abby J. Leibman Pursuit of Justice Award to honor Patricia Shiu and Beatriz Olvera Stotzer for their accomplishments in breaking barriers for women and girls.

Leibman, an inactive member of the California State Bar, received the Pursuit of Justice Award last year after handing over the title of executive director of the Law Center to Marjorie Sims.

The Board of Directors voted to rename the award after Leibman last year, Sims said, in tribute to the “brutally honest—fierce advocate.”

Standing before an audience of close to 150 people, Leibman expressed her strong disapproval of the mid-term election results which placed Republicans in the majority in both houses of Congress.

Leibman declared that everyone in the audience had “an enormous responsibility to change this” as she called for post-election activism to remove a government that she said “pretends to be pro-family.”

Referring to the Republican-led government as “anti-family, anti-us,” Leibman called conservative judicial appointees who subscribe to a pro-life Republican platform “dangerous.”

Shiu, a San Francisco attorney who focuses her work on equality in the workplace, was honored for her work as the vice president of programs for the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center. She has worked at the LAS-ELC since 1983.

In that capacity, Shiu has litigated several influential cases, and also manages a range of legal projects devoted to racial and gender equality, and civil rights and social justice for women, minorities and families.

During her address, Shiu said that she, like Leibman, was concerned about the direction of the judiciary. The former president of the California Women Lawyers observed that the bench has become “increasingly removed from the working lives of everyday people.”

Stotzer, whose work has generated affordable housing and economic development in Los Angeles, said she was stunned even to be considered for an award by a group that she felt had made such immense contributions to help women and families.

During her acceptance speech, the past Law Center board president said receiving the award was “like being recognized by the angels.”

The Texas native raised in East Los Angeles is a founder and current board president of New Economics for Women, Inc., an organization committed to addressing and decreasing poverty.

She touted the Los Angeles-based not-for-profit agency as the first economic development corporation in the nation created and operated by Latinas that focuses on the needs of single Latina mothers.

Stotzer attributed her passion for helping families escape poverty to memories of her own parents’ struggle to succeed, and “their pain and their suffering.”

Stotzer is also the Latin community representative on the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council. She was appointed to the position by the Board of Supervisors in 1999, she said.

The planning council was established by the Board of Supervisors in 1991 to improve the integration, coordination and accessibility to disadvantaged families of health and human services.

Stotzer is also the chief executive officer of NewCapital, a real estate and development firm. The development firm occasionally undertakes joint projects with NEW, Stotzer said.

USC law school Clinical Associate Professor of Law Carrie L. Hempel, who attended the luncheon, said that events like Friday’s luncheon, are very important. “Through recognizing inspirational women, the Center stokes the fire in the rest of us to continue to fight for a better world. This is a message that we especially need to hear after an election like the one [last] week.”


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company