IVETTE ALÉ-FERLITO, one of the co-founders of La Defensa, has officially stepped into the role of Executive Director of the organization, as our other co-founder, EUNISSES HERNANDEZ, has now officially been sworn in and had her FIRST DAY as Los Angeles City Council Member of the First District. (And remains on our Board!) :) Ivette transitioned in October to be La Defensa’s Executive Director, from their prior role as Policy Director at our movement partner, Dignity and Power Now.
We’re so lucky to have Ivette’s vision and leadership to guide our organization – they are a transformational abolitionist feminist leader bringing principles of radical kindness, transformative justice, and equity to La Defensa and many Coalitions. They’ve spearheaded the Justice LA Coalition, and supported the creation of statewide and local coalitions such as the Care First Coalition, A Budget to Save Lives Coalition, the ReimagineLA Coalition, and SNAC – the Survivors Network Against Criminalization.
Eunisses and Ivette are longtime comrades in organizing. Spanning multiple years, coalitions, and organizations, their advocacy has helped shape the abolitionist movement in LA County and beyond. They founded La Defensa after their years of organizing together, passing legislation at the CA state level, and growing the Justice LA Coalition in partnership with other grassroots organizers.
Together, they saw the need for abolitionist electoral organizing, as well as an organization that held a vision for judicial accountability and #pretrialjustice. Knowing it was important to center the how of organizing, rather than just the what, their vision for La Defensa also centers femme leadership development, sustainable work cultures, and radical gender justice values being woven into all levels of organizing.
Ivette’s sharp policy analysis and innovative leadership will continue to propel La Defensa forward. In addition to their policy chops, they’re a cultural organizer whose work has spanned queer art curation and global music event production from NY to Mexico City. Their body of work uplifts the creativity of queer and TGI BIPOC artists.
Ivette has already shared their brilliant thought leadership as La Defensa’s Executive Director through their powerful presence on the Fruta Fresca and In the Thick Podcasts, and KPFK’s Feminist Magazine radio interview show. They’ve also shared their insights and analysis in The Appeal, Bolts Magazine, KPCC/LAist, and on Telemundo. They continue to redefine what is possible, setting the curve in our politics and in our collective political imagination.
We are so excited to collectively continue building the momentum of La Defensa’s work in partnership with Ivette. We are so proud of Eunisses for her powerful victory in CD1, and are excited for Eunisses and Ivette to remain in thought partnership and co-struggle together in their various new roles.