SF State News {University Communications}

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News Release


Civil rights leader Lateefah Simon to keynote SF State Commencement


SAN FRANCISCO, April 29, 2010 -- Civil rights advocate Lateefah Simon will be the keynote speaker at San Francisco State University's 109th Commencement on Saturday, May 22, at 1 p.m. (student procession begins at 12:15 p.m.) in Cox Stadium on campus.

Simon has been fighting for social justice since her teenage years and at 26, she was one of the youngest people to be awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, which she received for her work with at-risk young women in San Francisco.

Born and raised in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood, Simon was 15 when she first volunteered at the Center for Young Women's Development, a program that helps homeless, low-income and incarcerated young women build healthier lives. She became a staff member, and at 19, was appointed executive director, becoming one of the nation’s youngest leaders of a social service agency.

Simon later worked for San Francisco district attorney Kamala D. Harris’s office where she helped launch new programs to provide formerly-incarcerated youth with educational and employment opportunities.

Simon is currently the executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, which advances the rights and builds the economic power of communities of color, immigrants and refugees through impact litigation, policy advocacy and direct service.

Simon has received numerous awards, including the Jefferson Award in 2007 for her community and public service. She was named "California Woman of the Year" by the California State Assembly in 2005. In 2009, she was one of 20 women included on O, The Oprah Magazine's "Power List." She has served as a member of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Women's Foundation of California.

SF State is the only master’s-level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The University enrolls more than 30,000 students each year and graduates about 7,000 annually. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communication arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies -- the University’s more than 180,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.

For more information about SF State's 2010 Commencement, visit: http://www.sfsu.edu/commencement/



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