Recognizing an Emerging Civic Leader


June 2, 2017

By Staff

Our very own Saira Soto, deputy executive director for Children’s Defense Fund–California, was recently recognized by Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and the Empowerment Congress for the exemplary leadership she has provided to her community and the next generation of young professionals.

The Emerging Civic Leaders committee of the Empowerment Congress engages leaders under the age of 40 in opportunities surrounding civic engagement, advocacy and philanthropy, which aims at developing a pipeline of dedicated community advocates throughout Los Angeles County. Saira, along with 39 other individuals, were honored last month.

Saira leads the development, implementation, and expansion of programming for CDF National Initiatives that include CDF Beat the Odds Scholarship® Program and the CDF Freedom Schools® Program. She works collaboratively across CDF-CA to increase inter-program collaboration and support the integration of policy and practice. Saira has a strong background in environmental, labor, and social justice advocacy. She began her career studying clean water access and its impact on the health of migrant farm worker communities. She was compelled to join the labor movement after witnessing the harsh working conditions and constant workers' rights violations suffered by this community. In her current role, Saira is committed to working alongside children and youth in the development of the next generation of leaders, movement builders, and change makers.