Confronting Racism: A Pandemic Within a Pandemic
With Leaders from the Urban League, HOPE and CAUSE

Michael Lawson

President and CEO, Los Angeles Urban League

Helen Torres

President & CEO, HOPE

Charlie Woo

Board Chair, CAUSE

Dan Schnur

Politics Professor - USC, Pepperdine, Berkeley

June 17, 2020 11:00 AM    Webinar

Add to Calendar 06/17/2020 11:00 AM 06/17/2020 1:00 PM America/Los_Angeles Webinar: Confronting Racism: A Pandemic Within a Pandemic see details at: : , , Los Angeles World Affairs Council false MM/DD/YYYY


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In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, the current moment in the United States has been described as, ‘A Pandemic Within a Pandemic.’ To speak to the recent tragic events and future solutions, the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall will host a panel discussion with Michael Lawson, President & CEO of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Urban League, Helen Torres, President & CEO of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) and Charlie Woo, Co-Founder and CEO of Center for Asians United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE). 

The panel will address the current national conversation on racism, police brutality, and criminal justice reform — and how these topics relate to the communities served by the National Urban League, HOPE, and CAUSE. The conversation will also speak to the medical, economic and cultural impact of the COVID-19 crisis — as the pandemic and subsequent shutdown have exposed and reinforced issues of racial and ethnic inequality, discrimination and barriers to healthcare and economic success. This program seeks to uplift the changes each respective community is advocating for, as well as the changes they hope to see within the wider Los Angeles community and US to move the nation forward.


** A note to our LAWACTH Members: Please submit your questions in advance via email to to ensure your questions are answered by our speakers.

Michael Lawson is the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL), one of the oldest and most respected civil rights organizations in the United States dedicated to providing economic empowerment, educational opportunities, and the guarantee of civil rights for underserved communities in the Los Angeles area. Mr. Lawson retired as a partner after 31 years with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. During his tenure with the firm, he was appointed to the Los Angeles Airport Commission, and served as its President. In addition, Mr. Lawson has been a board member of several charitable organizations, Loyola Marymount University and Morehouse College. He served as a U.S. Ambassador in the Obama administration prior to joining the Los Angeles Urban League as its President and CEO in February, 2018. He is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and Harvard Law School.

Helen Torres is the President and CEO of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). Ms. Torres works with community, corporate, and political leaders to create and promote opportunities that advance Latinas by establishing “Latina Smart” policy recommendations. She also has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the HOPE Leadership Institute (HLI) – a program that prepares adult Latinas for their next level of civic participation.  HLI has resulted in over 130 Latinas being appointed to state and local commissions, and over 200 Latinas serving on nonprofit boards improving local communities. Helen is currently serving as an advisory board member for LA Opinion, the nation’s largest Spanish language newspaper, and serves on the board of Alliance for a Better Community whose mission is to bring together an alliance of leaders to serve as the “Latino Voice” on the critical issues facing the Greater Los Angeles region.

Charlie Woo is a co-founder and chair of Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE), a non-profit organization that promotes leadership development and civic engagement. He is also is the co-founder and CEO of Megatoys, an international toy manufacturer headquartered in Los Angeles, and is  is regarded as the founder of the Toy District in DTLA. He currently chairs the Workforce Development Board for the City of Los Angeles, a city commission that oversees the nation’s second largest workforce development system. He currently serves on the boards of the Committee of 100, an international organization of prominent Chinese Americans, Southern California Public Radio, the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at CSULA, and the UCLA Alumni Scholarship Steering Committee. Charlie is an immigrant from Hong Kong. He received his BS and MS degrees in Physics from UCLA.

Dan Schnur (Moderator) is a Professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications, the University of California – Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies and Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, where he teaches courses in politics, communications and leadership. Dan was the director of the Sacramento Bee’s “California Influencers” series, in which he led a weekly online conversation among 100 of the state’s most respected experts in politics, government and public policy around the 2018 election. He is also a board member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall.

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