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Home | A New Season of Leadership


Through the lens of economic and racial justice, Western Center on Law & Poverty fights in courts, cities, counties, and in the Capitol to secure housing, health care and a strong safety net for low-income Californians.

Many systems keep people in poverty – from institutionalized racism to unjust and unequal economic structures. We address those factors in every aspect of our work, and call out the ways they oppress people experiencing poverty.


Founded over 50 years ago in the wake of the Watts rebellion, Western Center has been led by twelve committed individuals. These former Executive Directors worked diligently to improve the lives of Californians impacted by poverty.

Today we celebrate a new season of leadership and welcome Western Center’s thirteenth Executive Director Crystal D. Crawford. Crystal brings stellar operational and strategic expertise along with a deep commitment to valuing community voices and racial equity. As the first Black woman or woman of color to lead our storied organization, her arrival was a bright spot in 2020 for Western Center.

During this pandemic year, our legislative agenda had to be re-focused to address immediate needs and our litigation was impacted by court closures. Despite a challenging year for the legal community, Western Center preserved and strengthened economic security, health, housing and basic needs for low-income Californians.

Join Western Center in this new season of our work as we deepen our resolve to advance human rights, economic dignity and racial equity for those we serve.

We need your support. Please give generously.




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