BART Board Candidate Lateefah Simon to Receive Political Emerging Leader Award

  • Oct 25, 2016
  • Allison Abney

Washington, D.C.—Today, Emerge America, the nation’s leading organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office, announced that Lateefah Simon, a candidate for the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors, President of the Akonadi Foundation and appointee to the California State University Board of Trustees will receive their 2016 Emerging Leader Award. The accolade, which is one of three Emerge America bestows on its alumnae each year, recognizes a woman who may be running her first race or serving her first term, but who everyone knows is just getting started. Simon was one of four women nominated for the honor out of Emerge’s more than 2,000 alumnae. The winners were chosen through an open voting period, in which the public voted for their favorite nominee.

“Lateefah exemplifies everything that Emerge America and our network stand for and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize her accomplishments,” said Andrea Dew Steele, Founder and President of Emerge America. “Our country is seriously lacking in women’s representation at all levels of government, and our decision-making bodies desperately need more of the unique talents and perspectives women like Lateefah bring. We hope that more women will see her hard work and uplifting story and be inspired by it to run for office.”

Simon is a 2009 Emerge California graduate and running for the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors this year to combat displacement and fight for equality of mobility. Simon is the President of the Akonadi Foundation, an organization based in Oakland, CA, that funds and nurtures racial justice movement building to eliminate structural racism and expand opportunity for youth of color. She served as Executive Director of CYWD for 11 years and brought the organization to national acclaim. Her work earned her the distinction of the youngest woman ever to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. She went on to lead the creation of San Francisco’s first reentry services division and later served as Executive Director of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Program Director at the Rosenberg Foundation. She is an appointee by Governor Jerry Brown to the California State University Board of Trustees, representing the largest public university system in the world.

“I’m honored to receive Emerge America’s Emerging Leader Award for making the decision to jump into the political arena and run for office for the first time,” said Simon. “Like many of the women who go through Emerge’s program, I saw an opportunity to continue my lifelong commitment to straightening conditions and opportunities for families and decided to step forward and run. I look forward to continuing my career in politics and hope more women will follow my lead and choose a life of public service.”

The voting and awards will culminate with Emerge America’s annual Ambition to Action Post-Election Conference and Luncheon in San Francisco on Nov. 16. Simon will be a guest of honor at the event and receive their award on stage. More information about it is available here: 



CONTACT:  Allison Abney