What's it like to be a woman of color with institutional power?

Special celebration for the newest cohort of ChangeLawyers Scholars.

This is a fireside chat between two women of color lawyers working inside--and bringing change to--institutions of power in both government and philanthropy.

This conversation is timely because we're also celebrating the newest cohort of ChangeLawyers scholars.

Thank you to all of the scholars, donors, and community members who work every day toward the common goal of equity in the legal system.


Check out the 25 BIPOC scholars >


Meet Your Activists


Margie Estrada, Chief Counsel at the California State Senate Judiciary Committee, has had immeasurable impact on the protection and advancement of immigrants’ rights in California.

The legislation that Margie was instrumental in crafting expanded the universe of unaccompanied minors who can receive immigration relief, enables unaccompanied minors to have state paid legal representation, requires law enforcement to issue crime victims certifications critical to their U-Visa applications, is shutting down for-profit immigrant detention facilities in California, and more.

Margie’s work is inspired by her family. Her mother, María de Jesús, lived in fear of immigration agents as an undocumented immigrant. Her father, Jesús Estrada, a World War II veteran, recounted stories of the denial of his civil rights during a time when it was common in Texas to see signs that read, “no dogs or Mexicans allowed.” Margie helped give California a running start in resisting Trump’s war on California values and was an essential operative in California’s resistance to the assault from Washington.



Cecilia Chen is the Chief Strategy Officer at Akonadi Foundation, where she supports strategy development across Akonadi’s program areas and implementation of Akonadi’s five-year initiative, All in For Oakland.

Before joining Akonadi, Cecilia was the Public Policy Director at Northern California Grantmakers. She built the association’s policy advocacy infrastructure and led advocacy to protect immigrant rights, ensure an accurate census, and fight for equitable tax reform. Cecilia also served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Attorney General’s Office, advancing the Attorney General’s policy priorities around criminal justice reform and childhood trauma. Cecilia was previously the Associate Director of Policy at the Center for Youth Wellness, where she led statewide efforts to prevent and address childhood adversity and the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on children’s health. She was also the 2011-2013 Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Cecilia graduated from Tufts University and received her J.D. from Boston College Law School.

A Bay Area native, Cecilia lives in San Francisco with her husband, daughter and fur baby Sherlock. In addition to being an unabashed dessert lover (especially ice cream), Cecilia enjoys exploring the Bay Area and trekking internationally.