The Los Angeles Sparks #WeAreWomen campaign began in 2015 in an effort to honor stand-out women and young girls in the Los Angeles community who share our goals of empowering the Los Angeles community and females of all ages. This year, we are honoring five women in 2020 who exemplify the following categories: Health & Wellness, Women & Girls Empowerment, Social Justice, Youth Sports, and Military/Veteran Affairs.

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Meet Our 2021 #WeAreWomen Winner

2021 Woman of the Year

 CHARISSE BREMOND WEAVER: CEO, BROTHERHOOD CRUSADE

Charisse is a passionate, dedicated leader in the not-for-profit sector.  Her focus and desire are to serve her community and make it a better environment for those she touches and those they touch. Charisse is leading the Brotherhood Crusade that was founded by her late father Walter Bremond in 1968. She’s been the President and CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade for more than 15 years.

Her team directly serves approximately 3,000 low-income youth and young adults between the ages of 10 to 24 daily through various trauma-informed youth development programs and impacts more than 20k youth, young adults and families annually.


Meet Our 2021 #WeAreWomen Finalists

DR. NANAEFU AFOH-MANIN: FOUNDER, SHARED HARVEST FUND INC.

Dr. NanaEfua B. Afoh-Manin is an emergency doctor, public health practitioner, entrepreneur, and a champion for health equity. After earning her bachelor’s degree at UCLA, she obtained her medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Nana went on to complete her residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she reached the position of Research Chief. Dr. Nana held a fellowship at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health where she additionally received a master’s degree in Global Public

Health. After gaining the knowledge and experience to go where she was needed, Dr. Nana has dedicated her career to raising awareness about the social determinants of health in refugee, urban, and disaster settings. As a co-founder of Shared Harvest Fund and the founder of SHF’s myCovidMDTM initiative, Dr. Nana has renewed her commitment to serving the underserved and underrepresented.

TANISHA SAUNDERS: RESIDENT COORDINATOR, SAFE PLACE FOR YOUTH

Tanisha Saunders has been recognized as a community leader for using her skills to empower others while advocating locally, state-wide and nationally around issues that are close to her past. She has worked as a community organizer with the National Foster Youth Institute and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, a servant leader with the Children’s Defense Fund, and recently served as one of the Foster Youth Voice Representatives for the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Tanisha has also completed fellowships in the office of LA City Councilwoman Nury Martinez and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority focusing on ending homelessness through community capacity building. Her advocacy efforts have been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Teen Vogue, Spectrum News: In Focus, Dominguez Hills Today Magazine, and other media outlets. She currently works for Safe Place for Youth supporting youth experiencing homelessness and serves as the chair for the organization’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee.

LAUREN TROSCLAIR DUNCAN: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HEALING CALIFORNIA

Lauren N. Trosclair Duncan is the Director of World Relief-Southern California and prior to her position at World Relief, she was the Red Cross Director of their Service to the Armed Forces and Veterans (SAFV) and International Services covering all of Los Angeles County. Lauren hales from a several generation Military Family, with her father being a decorated Korean War Veteran, spouse to a 22 year recently retired Army Veteran, and sister to a Navy Veteran.

Her commitment and passion to support service members and their families is evident through her work with the military communities. Lauren also spends her time serving as is Co-Chair of the University of Southern California (USC) Center for Innovation-Women Veteran Working Group and Chairs the Spouses and Family Members Working Group

EBONE SMITH: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WE ARE R.I.S.E.

Ebone Smith is an elementary school teacher, and founder of WE ARE R.I.S.E. Inc. Girls’ Mentorship Program in South Los Angeles. Through her nonprofit, Ebone organizes and facilitates culturally informed workshops for young girls of color that focus on strengthening social-emotional development, positive self-esteem, academic wellness, and life skills.

 


Meet Our 2021 Male Ally of the Year

DENNIS TUCKER: DIRECTOR OF HR, METRO

Dennis Tucker has tirelessly advocated for his sisters in service and veteran sisters by being the embodiment of strong ally. In uniform, he provided guidance to his command to advocate of the behalf of female service members and their specific needs. After his 22+ year of service in the US Army, he is continued his advocacy efforts to create a pipeline to hire them at LA County Metro. In his position as Director of HR at Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority he has also created a Women Veteran Advisory group to keep him informed of their needs and to aid in the civilian transition and their professional development. He has been quoted many times saying “We are brothers and sisters in arms and service, I would not only fight to the death to protect my sister, but I will also advocate for her.”