AJWS Los Angeles: What’s Happening

March 2017

I am so pleased to write to our most generous supporters in the Southern California region to share with you that Emma Nesper Holm has been promoted to Director of AJWS Southern California. Emma and I have just spent two weeks together visiting our incredible partners in Uganda and doing a bit of sightseeing in Rwanda with AJWS supporters from around the country. I am confident she has the knowledge and skills to lead AJWS in Southern California going forward.

As many of you know, Emma has beautifully led the LA office for the past six months after Allison Lee’s departure. Emma joined AJWS as a senior development officer in the summer of 2013, and worked with Allison and many of you to grow AJWS’s presence and support in the region. Prior to joining AJWS, she served as the communications director of a California-based nonprofit that focused on reducing maternal mortality and morbidity globally. Emma was a graduate intern at Tostan, a former AJWS grantee focused on human rights and women’s empowerment in Senegal. She has a master’s degree in African studies from UCLA.

As we just commemorated International Women’s Day around the world, I am pleased our Los Angeles office will be led by a woman who has spent her entire professional career advancing the rights and health of women and vulnerable people in the developing world.

I know that Emma looks forward to working with you to strengthen and galvanize the AJWS community in Southern California as we stand up to injustice, reduce poverty and promote dignity for all. Lila Glick will continue to support her and anchor our office in Los Angeles, and we are currently conducting a search for a development officer.

In these profoundly challenging times, I thank you for all that you do to build a world in which we celebrate our differences, deepen democracy and pursue justice.

I look forward to seeing you when I am next in Los Angeles. In the meantime, I hope you will join us for one of the following exciting opportunities to learn and connect with AJWS.


Robert Bank
President and CEO

One Step Closer to a Just World

On March 19th, cheer on Team AJWS as they run the 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon! We are so proud of their dedication and endurance as they take to the streets for justice, equality and human dignity worldwide. Read more about the journeys of our fantastic runners here and cheer them on at one of the Spectator Zones on the course. We look forward to congratulating the team at the finish line!

Dispatch From Uganda

AJWS board members and supporters from around the country, including six from Los Angeles, just spent an incredible week learning about our work and meeting AJWS’s impressive grantee partners in Uganda. Collectively, they are empowering women and girls to speak up for their rights; farmers and rural communities to respond to climate change and exploitative resource extraction; and LGBT advocates to fight for inclusion, dignity and safety. Check out our trip photo album on Facebook!

Journey to Guatemala

This June, you too can see global justice work with your own eyes! Join AJWS for a six-day study tour to Guatemala. As we travel from the vibrant capital, Guatemala City, to the rural countryside, to the colonial streets of Antigua, you will closely engage with grassroots organizations supported by AJWS who are courageously confronting corruption, violence and discrimination against the country’s poorest and most oppressed people. You’ll meet with rural activists who are defending the land they depend on for survival and Mayan midwives improving health for women and children in remote areas. Only a five-hour flight from LA and in the Central Time Zone, this trip may be just the one you’ve been waiting for! For more information and to sign up, contact Neely at ngrobani@ajws.org or visit our Guatemala Study Tour page.

Take Action for Climate Justice

Save the date! On May 4th, AJWS Los Angeles will be hosting a climate justice event with Nikhil Aziz, AJWS’s Director of Natural Resource Rights. Join us for a discussion about how AJWS is supporting communities to address land and water rights of those most in peril due to climate change, increased vulnerability to natural disasters, and unbridled economic development projects that violate human rights. With the threats to our environment escalated by a climate change-denying U.S. administration, this will also be a space to explore how to take action locally and nationally and to advocate for climate change policies that acknowledge those who are affected first and worst. A formal invitation will follow. For more information, contact Lila Glick at lglick@ajws.org.

Passover Resources

The story of our ancestors’ journey to liberation not only illuminates the core narrative of the Jewish people, but offers resonance with the experiences of vulnerable and oppressed communities around the world. As you gather at the Seder table this year, we invite you to read from Next Year in a More Just World: A Global Justice Haggadah. Watch your inbox and Facebook feed for AJWS’s exciting new video series, “Small Tribe in a Big World,” which offers words of inclusion, hope and inspiration at a time when voices of hate and discrimination are growing louder.

Books Beyond Borders

On May 15th, join us for Books Beyond Borders to discuss The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young by New York Times foreign correspondent Somini Sengupta. The End of Karma explores contemporary India in a time of transition and turmoil as its youth make new demands for equality of opportunity, dignity for girls, and civil liberties. Sengupta weaves together the true stories of young people from throughout the country—including a woman who becomes a Maoist rebel; the son of a rickshaw driver who defies odds for a college education; and a woman who opposes her family and hopes to become a police officer. They provide vibrant examples of a diverse and powerful young generation pushing the country to break free of its past. RSVP at ajws.org/booksbeyondborderslosangeles.

Your Voice Matters

AJWS in the News