The Downtown Women’s Action Coalition (DWAC) was founded in 2001 when a group of amazing women joined forces to stop the closure of one of the only emergency shelters for women in Skid Row.
Let me share why DWAC matters to me, and to all of us working to end homelessness for women:
Reason #1: DWAC Was Founded by Awesome Women
In 2001, Downtown Women’s Center’s then-Executive Director Lisa Watson and LA CAN’s Co-Executive Director Becky Dennison brought together other agencies and individuals from Skid Row to launch a campaign to protect Skid Row’s vulnerable population of women.
- Organized the biggest Women’s Day in the Park
- Released the 2013 Needs Assessment
- Testified before State Senator Holly J. Mitchell's
Committee Hearing on Women and Inequality
They were mad, they were fierce, and they took action.
They effectively organized Skid Row’s community of women and service providers. They built a visible and strong collective. Thanks to the power of the group, DWAC was able to reverse the shelter’s decision and helped hundreds of women find safe refuge in the shelter again.
Reason #2: DWAC Listens to Skid Row Women
Since its launch, DWAC has performed the critical task of surveying women living in our community to identify their unique needs, and provide recommendations and solutions to these issues.
The Needs Assessment report is published every three years and continues to be one of the few, perhaps the only, major assessments on the needs of extremely low-income women living in Downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row.
Reason #3: Grassroots Leadership
DWAC is rich with leadership and growth opportunities for all members.
We learn how to become better public speakers and advocates together. We find opportunities to insert our voices, from public testimony before elected officials, to hosting our own community town halls to exert our expertise.
We research and explore critical issues affecting our community to increase our knowledge on the affordable housing crisis, gentrification of Downtown LA, violence against women, health and public safety, among others.
Reason #4: We Welcome All Allies
DWAC welcomes all interested women and men allies. We are looking for feminists to help with our work, bring their talents, and join us at the table.
Sound like you?
DWAC meets every second Tuesday of the month at 3:30pm at the LA CAN offices on 6th and Gladys.
Carla María Guerrero
Advocacy and Media Coordinator
Carla serves as Co-Chair of DWAC. She considers it a great privilege to work alongside the wonderful women of Skid Row who are working to improve the conditions for all women living in this community.