Featuring Lateefah Simon
Meet Lateefah Simon
Lateefah Simon is the Director of the Rosenberg Foundation’s California’s Future initiative. Her current works seek to build a strategic effort to change the odds for women and children in the state. A longtime advocate for low income young women and girls and for juvenile and criminal justice reform; at the age of 19, Simon was appointed executive director of the Center for Young Women’s Development (CYWD) in San Francisco. In its inception, CYWD was lauded as the nation’s first economic and gender justice organization solely run for and by low-income and formerly incarcerated young women. After very successful eleven year tenure as executive director, Simon trained the younger leadership to take on the reigns. She then led the creation of San Francisco’s first reentry services division under the leadership of District Attorney Kamala D. Harris. As Division Director, Simon led a strategic citywide public/private partnership efforts aimed to provide concrete pathways for young adults charged with low-level felony crack cocaine sales from returning to a life of crime. Replicated in key prosecutors’ offices across the county and recently selected as a national model program by Attorney General Eric Holder, the flagship program, Back on Track has reduced the recidivism rate for the population it serves to less than 10 percent
In 2009, Simon was appointed executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. LCCR works to champion the legal rights of people of color, poor people, immigrants and refugees, with a special commitment to African Americans through litigation, policy advocacy and direct service programs. Under her leadership, the organization revamped and streamlined its 40 year old infrastructure and implemented several successful community based initiatives.
An avid national speaker, Lateefah lectures across the county at top conferences and top universities. She has served on numerous boards of directors and has received awards for her efforts including the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, inclusion in O Magazine’s first ever “Power List”, Ford Foundation’s Leadership for A Changing World, the Remarkable Woman Award from Lifetime Television, the Levi Straus Pioneer Activist Fellowship, and the New Frontier Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.