I’ll admit, I am probably the worst person to write an article about Women’s History Month. While I truly love celebrating the many barriers we as women have broken, I am saddened by the fact that we have so many yet to accomplish. As a lobbyist and activist, I am literally never in a decision-making room of people that truly reflect the diversity of California and rarely in a room equally balanced with women. I know, whoa is me, but you must understand the power of the decisions made in these rooms.  Decisions that affect our livelihoods, our families and our right to choose.
You see, I was one of those kids that didn’t really care to talk about the problem unless we planned to discuss a solution. As an adult, I still shut down vent sessions in meetings by simply asking, so what are we going to do? Rather than share the many strides we have made as women, I would rather direct you to places to become apart of the solution.  
With that, I have listed my top six California State organizations where you can get involved and get active in politics this election cycle. 
The name says it all! If you think you are ready to get in formation, then join your local BWOPA Chapter. This statewide organization just celebrated their 50th year of supporting women who run. They also have Training Institute for Leadership Enrichment (TILE) for the mid-career activist ready to take it all the way.  I greatly enjoyed my time serving on the Board of the Oakland/Berkeley Chapter and I am sure you will enjoy the sisterhood too.
California Women Lead has a very specific purpose of empowering women to get involved in California State Politics. Their State Commission Appointments training opened my eyes to a world that I didn’t know to exist. To have the State Appointments Secretary (a Filipina first, might I add) tell me in-person to hurry up and apply meant everything to me during the early years of my political career. California Women Lead is great place to start as you are coming on the scene and many appointment slots are still there for the taking.
Full transparency, I am an Emerge California Graduate (c/o 2012, whoop whoop!). Emerge is the premier training program for women interested in running for political office. Period. Some may debate it, some may hate it but it’s the truth. Their receptions are also a great place to meet like-minded politicos and mix and mingle with local elected officials. Check their website for their monthly events coming to your city! 
Last year’s Annual Latina Action Day was truly one of the most empowering political experiences I have had in quite some time. It is not only a great place to network but also a great place to learn more about State politics. The HOPE Leadership Institute is their banner program and is unique because it not only teaches advocacy, but also leadership. This is definitely an embracing space for the novice activist so please consider attending and thus supporting this year’s Latina Action Day.
You may need to exercise the buddy system for your first meeting.  Their members are true ACTIVISTS, which may come as no surprise considering they are the institutional women’s organization. I have served on the Board of the West Contra Costa County Chapter for nearly five years and I must say, Executive Director Michelle Breach has done wonderful job of pushing new initiatives and keeping the excitement of non-partisan politics going.  Definitely check out your local chapter and attend an event solo if you dare. 
Honorable Mention: While they are not statewide, LAAAWPPI-Los Angeles Women’s Public Policy Institute has been holding it down in LA and I would be remiss if I did not mention their enormous contributions towards supporting African American women seeking elected office (I see you boo!).
I truly hope to see you at an upcoming event of one of the organizations listed. If you spot me, please hit me with the Wakanda Forever so I know it’s you.  CLICK HERE for more info on National Women’s History Month celebrated the month March.
Peace and blessings!

photo Julie Waters Julie M. Waters is a California Lobbyist from Oakland, CA. She enjoys ballet, basketball and world travel alike and is convinced her rapper alter ego is Juicy J. 

You can follow Ms. Waters on Social Media @seejulierun

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