About Lateefah

Lateefah Simon was elected to serve District 7 on the BART Board of Directors on November 8, 2016.

Born legally blind, Lateefah has never driven a car and depends on BART everyday to get to work and take her daughter to school. Her priorities for BART are affordability, accessibility, and accountability for transit-dependent people and working families.

A nationally recognized advocate for civil rights and racial justice, Lateefah has over 20 years of executive experience advancing opportunities for communities of color and low-income communities in the Bay Area. Raised in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, Lateefah began organizing at age 15 for the Center for Young Women’s Development. At 19-years-old she was appointed Executive Director of CYWD, where she served 11 years and brought the organization to national acclaim. At 26, her work earned her the distinction of the youngest woman ever to receive a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. She went on to lead the creation of San Francisco’s first reentry services division under the leadership of then District Attorney Kamala D. Harris. Lateefah later served as Executive Director of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Program Director at the Rosenberg Foundation.

Currently, Lateefah is President of the Akonadi Foundation, an organization based in Oakland, that funds and nurtures racial justice movement building to eliminate structural racism and expand opportunity for youth of color. She is also a California State University Trustee, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016 to serve the largest public university system in the world.

Lateefah has received numerous awards for her work including Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World, the Remarkable Woman Award from Lifetime Television, the Levi Strauss Pioneer Activist Fellowship, the New Frontier Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, “Woman of the Year” by the California State Assembly, and inclusion in Oprah Magazine’s first ever “Power List”, the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 40 Under 40, and the Root 100. An avid speaker, Lateefah lectures across the country at top conferences and universities on community leadership and social change.

Lateefah studied public policy at Mills College and social entrepreneurship at Stanford University. She lives in West Oakland and is a mother to two daughters.