Attorney Ken Eulo on Navigating Flawed Systems, Recognizing Bias

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Ken Eulo, a criminal defense lawyer in Central Florida’s Smith & Eulo Law Firm. Eulo has a strong commitment to supporting domestic violence survivors through access to legal services, as well as supporting feminist movements as a male ally.

Ken Eulo is a leading criminal defense attorney in Central Florida. (Image Credit: Smith & Eulo)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had known that my law career would involve advocating for my clients’ rights against the very justice systems sworn to protect them. I consider my first real-life foray into criminal law as having occurred when I went on several “ride-alongs” with Los Angeles’ local police. I was an undergrad studying Criminal Justice and Pre-Law at University of Central Florida at the time, and these experiences with cops in my hometown allowed me to see criminal procedures up close and personal.

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Percentage of Female State Legislators is Highest It Has Ever Been

A new record has been hit for the number of women across the United States that hold leadership roles in state legislatures.

Across the United States, there has been a significant rise in women leadership in state legislatures over the past few years.
Across the United States, there has been a significant rise in women leadership in state legislatures over the past few years.

(Associated Press, 2/24/21) Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman, shown here at the 2016 Democratic convention, has led legislation to passage as the party’s chief majority whip. A record number of women have taken leadership roles in state legislatures, meaning they can not only add to the conversation, but in many cases control which conversation is being had.

Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman, a Democrat and chief majority whip, successfully shepherded legislation in 2020 requiring pharmacists to honor 12-month doctors’ prescriptions for birth control pills, over the objections of some male lawmakers.

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Gender Policy Council Needs its Own Budget to Focus on All Sectors

The newly established Gender Policy Council is anticipated to work across the board on governmental policy related to gender.

It has been roughly a month since the announcement from the Biden-Harris administration of its White House Gender Policy Council. As announced, the council is spearheaded by co-chairs, Jennifer Klein and Julissa Reynoso. During the Obama administration, a similar council called the White House Council on Women and Girls was created. Shortly after taking the presidency in 2016, Donald Trump disbanded that council. Now, Biden has reinstated a new council explicitly dedicated to working toward gender equality.

Jennifer Klein and Julissa Reynoso will head Biden’s Gender Policy Council. (Image Credit: MANA National)

Many in the Democratic leadership heralded the new Council and its leaders as an important breakthrough. “Congratulations to Jen Klein, who’s long been by my side on domestic and global women’s issues, and Julissa Reynoso, a dynamo who served with me in the State Department,” said Hillary Clinton, in a post on Twitter regarding the Gender Policy Council leadership. “Great to have this team on the front lines fighting for women and girls everywhere.”

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Where Are Young Women in Philanthropy?

In the same ways that traditional philanthropy has been historically dominated by white, older, high net worth men, feminist philanthropy has a noticeable population gap in younger age groups. Young women, in particular, in an era of crushing student loans, underemployment, and uncertainty in the face of COVID-19, are noticeably absent from a movement dedicated to their wellbeing.

Young women’s activism is at an all-time high — but why are we missing from feminist philanthropy? (Image Credit: Gayatri Malhotra)

This is not to say that the younger generations aren’t pulling their weight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Young activists like Greta Thunberg and Sarah Goody are leading the way to revolutions in social justice and culture change. LGBT+ and POC youth are standing vanguard against discrimination, homophobia, and rollbacks of minorities’ legal rights.

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My Survival Is Worth Funding: NCRP’s Brandi Collins-Calhoun

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Brandi Collins-Calhoun, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy Senior Movement Engagement Associate.

Brandi Collins-Calhoun, courtesy of Brandi Collins-Calhoun

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession? 

I’m not sure that there was anything I could do to prepare to enter work that would be grounded in philanthropic feminism, especially knowing that the radicalization of mainstream feminism hasn’t happened across all movements and sectors yet. However, I wish I knew the weight of the shift from my life as an organizer fighting for my survival and safety to be centered, to my current role petitioning that my survival and safety is worth funding. I wish I knew how to find the balance and show up for myself through that process. There is often guilt and weight that comes with centering my needs in this work because this fight is so much bigger than just me, but I am reminded that Audre Lorde named that, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” That balance between holding the sector accountable and caring for myself is a radical act that is necessary for me to continue the work.

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(Liveblog) Building Multicultural Leadership with Ready to Lead

On Thursday, January 28th, the Girls Leadership team and representatives from Open Access, TPG, Morgan Stanley, the National Hockey League, and TIME’S UP gathered to discuss the changing face of the American workforce. Based off of the organization’s pivotal Ready to Lead report, the second of Girls Leadership’s three roundtable discussions focused on the implications of the report’s findings on the workforce of the future.

The report details leadership supports and barriers for Black and Latinx girls and exposes the factors that make it difficult for these girls to rise into leadership positions. External challenges like the tendency for school systems and workforce upper management to be dominated by white employers, leaders, and authority figures, represent a major barrier to Black and Latinx girls carrying their own torches of leadership into the future.

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Biden-Harris Comms Team: To End COVID, Tell Americans the Truth

On day two of taking over the White House, the communications team for the Biden-Harris team sat down with Errin Haines, editor-at-large of The 19th. Haines spoke with the four key women leaders who are now shaping the Biden/Harris message for public consumption. And what is the overarching goal of this new group of self-described “qualified, capable, barrier-breaking” women? To tell Americans the truth, with the underlying belief that if more American know the truth, “they can handle anything.”

Jen Psaki, Press Secretary for the Biden Harris Administration, discussing the work of shaping the administration’s message, what their early priorities are, and how having an all-woman comms team might change how the White House works. (Image Credit: The 19th)

Haines held an hour long rap session with White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and Chief Spokesperson for the Vice President, Symone Sanders. 

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Founding Mothers Reflect: America Now Free to Be You and Me Again

It’s a herstoric moment. It’s a historic day. It’s the end of the reign of terror that lasted four years under President Donald Trump. It’s the day that a woman of color ascends to one of the highest roles of leadership for our country.

Ms. Foundation Founding Mothers, from left to right: Gloria Steinem, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Marlo Thomas, Patricia Carbine. (Image credit: Ms. Foundation for Women)

Many women leaders have been inspired to speak today, to tell of how they are experiencing this massive shift in representation for our leadership, which we believe will lead us to becoming a better country. Here are some great responses and reflections from the Founding Mothers of the Ms. Foundation, all incredibly strong and enduring women leaders who capture the monumental nature of this event with their words. They are introduced by Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.

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Firuzeh Mahmoudi: Women More Equipped Than Ever to Lead

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Firuzeh Mahmoudi, founder and executive director, United for Iran, a Bay area nonprofit that works to promote civil liberties and civil society in Iran.

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, courtesy of Firuzeh Mahmoudi

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

One thing I’ve learned, that continues to ring true year after year, is that progress rarely occurs along a straight line. So many of us who have been inspired to enter the activist community started out with the hope that we’d experience and affect real change in our chosen issue areas quickly. However, as I recently discussed in a piece written on the 11 year anniversary of Iran’s Green Movement, the work toward progress often starts when the buzz stops, when the media loses interest and moves to the next catchy soundbite. Those of us who’ve remained in the movement and are still active today know that if we want to be truly effective, the work has to become part of our daily lives. 

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Olivia Wells: Quality Support for Women Survivors in Conflict Zones

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Olivia Wells, Director of Programs and Communications for Nadia’s Initiative, a nonprofit founded by Nadia Murad that supports “community-driven and survivor-centric sustainable development programs.” 

Olivia Wells, courtesy of Olivia Wells

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession? 

Bureaucracy; you learn about it in school, and you begin to see it when you enter the workforce but you don’t realize how many bureaucratic impediments there are to humanitarian work until you’re in the thick of it. You naively think that at the end of the day, we all want the same thing – to help those most vulnerable – so we should streamline processes to get those in need the help they deserve as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. The humanitarian sector is still saturated with top-down approaches to development. Many government and private funders insist on funding large organizations like the various UN entities, rather than investing in local NGOs. Local NGOs have a direct line to the communities they serve and are often able to implement projects more efficiently and for less money. These are the organizations we should be investing in.

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