Mona Tawatao joined EJS as Legal Director of the Equal Justice Society in 2019. Mona directs EJS’s litigation and advocacy on behalf of and in partnership with community-based organizations and families to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and to fight race discrimination and promote equity in K-12 and higher education, the justice system, and other institutions.
Mona was previously Senior Litigator at the Western Center on Law & Poverty where she pursued health, housing, land use, and civil rights litigation and advocacy throughout California. She also worked for 22 years on housing and land use advocacy as a legal services attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County and then Legal Services of Northern California where she co-founded its Race Equity Project.
Mona’s honors include EJS’s 2008 Racial Equity Award as a co-honoree with Bill Kennedy and the 2007 Heber-Smith Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association for her housing and race equity advocacy. Mona served on the EJS board of directors from July 2010 to January 2019, and was board chair from 2015 to 2017. She currently serves on the National Center for Youth Law board of directors as Vice President and co-leads APIs Rise Fund (Sacramento), a giving circle that supports community engagement and empowerment.
She received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 1986 and later served as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Updated March 2023