California ChangeLawyers

California ChangeLawyers (formerly California Bar Foundation) is a statewide foundation that empowers the next generation of lawyers, judges, & activists.

Rocío Alejandra Ávila

Policy Director at National Domestic Worker Alliance

📣 ChangeLawyers Award Recipient

Rocío Alejandra Ávila was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District, where she has worked as a community activist for over 20 years. Her experiences as the child of Mexican immigrants, her parents’ struggles as low-wage workers, along with the legacy of activism and resistance of her community, are what shaped her into becoming a workers’ and immigrant rights activist attorney.

Rocío is the National Domestic Worker Alliance’s (NDWA’s) Policy Director and Senior Attorney. She develops and advances NDWA’s federal, state and municipal employment and labor law policy agenda. Her focus is on raising industry standards for domestic workers (nannies, home care workers and house cleaners), through innovative legal, policy, and community based strategies. Rocio has played an important role in shaping and advancing the enactment and implementation of NDWA’s Domestic Worker Bills of Rights (DWBOR’s) in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, Seattle, Washington, including the 2019 National DWBOR’s introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Senator Kamala Harris.

Prior to NDWA, Rocío spent ten years representing low-income people on employment, housing and senior law matters in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rocío was a Senior Fellow at the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic of Golden Gate School of law (WERC), where she was trained as a law student. She later returned to litigate domestic workers cases and served as counsel to the California Domestic Worker Coalition, which successfully led a statewide campaign to pass CA’s DWBOR’s in 2013 and 2016.  Prior to WERC, Rocío Co-Directed the Workers’ Rights Program at La Raza Centro Legal (LRCL), Inc. in San Francisco.  At LRCL, Rocío represented predominately Spanish-speaking immigrant workers on wage and hour law, employment discrimination, immigration related retaliation, including defending against immigration worksite enforcement. She engaged in impact litigation and administrative advocacy on behalf of domestic workers and day labors.  Her advocacy integrated organizing campaigns with legal efforts to redress abuses of low-wage workers by unscrupulous employers.  She was also part of LRCL’s Housing and Senior Law units, where she focused on eviction defense, wills and estate, and consumer law advocacy on behalf of Mission District residents. 
 
As a movement attorney, Rocío has committed her life to combining her legal training and advocacy skills to build grassroots power and alliances towards creating a movement for a just society.

Rocío is a graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law and the University of California at Santa Cruz.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Dolores Street Community Services and previously on the boards of Young Workers United and Mission Learning Center in San Francisco.
 

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