Lateefah Simon is a 25-year veteran organizer and nationally recognized advocate for civil rights and social justice.
Lateefah began her career of advocacy at age 16 as an outreach coordinator for the Young Women’s Freedom Center.
At age 18, she gave birth to her eldest daughter, Aminah, and quickly learned as a young single mother that government wasn’t working for people like her. A year later, she became Executive Director of YWFC and spent the next decade earning national acclaim for her advocacy on behalf of marginalized young women. In 2003, at age 26, Lateefah became the youngest woman to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.
Lateefah was later chosen by then-San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris to lead the creation of Back on Track.Back on Track was a highly effective, first-of-its-kind anti-recidivism initiative for young adults charged with low-level offenses.
Lateefah also served as Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she launched successful community-based initiatives such as the Second Chance Legal Services Clinic.
She would go on to become Program Director of the Rosenberg Foundation, where she launched a fund to incubate and accelerate bold ideas from the next generation of progressive leaders in California.
In 2016, galvanized by the death of Oscar Grant, Lateefah ran and was elected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors.
Born legally blind, Lateefah relies solely on public transportation to go about her day and sought to make BART more affordable for working families and transit-dependent people like herself.
Lateefah was also appointed by then-Governor Jerry Brown to serve on the Board of Trustees for the California State University, the nation’s largest public university system, where she offered strategic advice on policy matters related to racial justice in higher education.
Lateefah graduated from Mills College with a B.A. in Public Policy, and was selected as her class commencement speaker. She later earned her MPA from the University of San Francisco. In 2016, Lateefah became president of the Akonadi Foundation, an Oakland-based racial justice organization. In 2020, she was appointed a senior advisor on police reform for California Governor Gavin Newsom. Lateefah also serves on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Foundation, on the Advisory Committee for Human Rights Watch U.S, as an Oxfam Ambassador, and the Board of Directors for Rosenberg Foundation and Tipping Point Foundation.