California State Senator Lena Gonzalez Joins Equality California Institute Board of Directors

January 22, 2020

LONG BEACH, Calif. — California State Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) has been elected to serve on the board of directors of Equality California Institute, the 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit associated with Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. Senator Gonzalez, a longtime advocate for LGBTQ equality, has represented Long Beach and Southeast Los Angeles County in the California State Senate since 2019. Prior to that, Senator Gonzalez served as councilwoman in Long Beach City Council for five years where she pioneered legislation to advance and provide equity to the LGBTQ and other disenfranchised communities.

“Senator Gonzalez has dedicated her career to fight for civil rights and social justice for the LGBTQ community,” said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California and Equality California Institute. “In particular, she has been an effective partner in our efforts to end the HIV epidemic — and stigma against people living with HIV. We are lucky to have such a strong ally advocating for our community in Sacramento and now as a member of our board of directors.”

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia considers Senator Gonzalez an excellent addition to the EQCA Board: “She’s been a strong ally for the LGBTQ+ community in Long Beach for many years, fighting for inclusion, equity, and resources. I know she will continue to do great work statewide advocating for LGBTQ+ residents and business owners,” Garcia added.

“I am deeply humbled to have been chosen to serve on the Equality California Institute board,” said Senator Gonzalez. “We made great progress in Long Beach by becoming the first city to explicitly recognize businesses owned by veterans, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community in its bidding process, and I am committed to continue to advance equality and inclusion statewide.”

Senator Gonzalez has championed numerous LGBTQ community events, including a Transgender Day of Remembrance and annual celebrations at Long Beach’s Harvey Milk Park to honor LGBTQ leaders. Last year, in partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and its local affiliate, she authored a groundbreaking policy to ensure the City of Long Beach purchasing and procurement is more inclusive of LGBTQ-owned businesses, becoming the first city in California to provide this opportunity.

Equality California Institute works to reduce disparities in LGBTQ health and wellbeing, develop a pipeline of LGBTQ leaders, and increase civic participation within the LGBTQ community.

Kate Maeder, a San Francisco-based political strategist who managed Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis’s 2018 campaign and now serves as a partner at Kully Struble, and Sony Pictures Entertainment Vice President of Government Affairs Nick Velasquez of Los Angeles have been elected to serve on Equality California’s board of directors. Equality California works to pass pro-equality legislation, elect pro-equality officials and advance LGBTQ civil rights and social justice in the courtroom. Together, Equality California and Equality California Institute seek to achieve a shared mission of creating a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people.

“Kate and Nick are two of the LGBTQ community’s most talented and effective advocates in California,” continued Zbur. “We’re thrilled to have them join Equality California’s board.”