Lateefah Simon has been in the business of politics and community organizing for 30 years. The longtime Bay Area advocate announced a run for Congress earlier this year. Today, she has received a major endorsement from EMILYs List— which “is the nation’s largest resource dedicated to electing Democratic pro-choice women to office.”
To date, the Political Action Committee (PAC) has successfully helped 175 women to the U.S. House of Representatives and 26 women to the U.S. Senate. Simon, who is running to represent California’s 12th District congressional seat, is the first non-incumbent House candidate to be endorsed by the PAC.
“Lateefah Simon has spent her life and career fighting for underrepresented Americans to have a voice in government and society, and we know she is committed to continuing to do so as representative for California’s 12th Congressional District,” EMILYs List President Laphonza Butler, shared with ESSENCE.
“Whether as an organizer, an activist, or a community leader, Simon has been a champion for civil rights and for the women, families, and youth of California. EMILYs List is proud to endorse this pro-choice champion for election, and we have full confidence in her ability to stand up to extremism and work to protect our democracy in Washington,” Butler added.
If successful, Simon would replace Rep. Barbara Lee, her former professor at her alma mater, Mills College, who recently announced a run for Senate. “When Barbara announced that she wasn’t going to run that, it was incumbent upon me to launch this campaign. I want the seat to stay progressive, and I think there should be a Black woman in this seat who has good decades of experience. I’m a single mom; I’m a widow. I serve in elected office. I want to follow in her footsteps, and I think I’ll do a great job!”
Simon’s journey to this point began when she was 19 years old in the Bay Area and ran an organization for young Black and brown girls in the juvenile justice system. Ever since, she has been leading organizations, movements and working for elected officials, but she has always wanted in some way to make decisions in the communities that she lived and worked in.
Simon says she couldn’t be more thrilled to receive this endorsement, especially as someone who faced several challenges throughout her life.
“As somebody who faced a lot of obstacles to be given the push of Emily’s List to just say keep going, Lateefah, keep going. You might be a renter and a widow and a single mom, and you’re working in community work, and you’re on a very unsexy elected board that very few people care about, but we want you in the halls of Congress because you tell our stories and you’ll find our fights,” Simon tells ESSENCE.
“It actually means everything to me, and it’s so clear that we need our voices in places of power, but when you put resources behind candidates that few people believe in prior to me, it’s one of the reasons why I feel like I’m going to have a pathway to victory,” she adds.