To help mark the 10th anniversary of Cal State Northridge's Commission on the State of Women, state Sen. Hilda Solis (D-El Monte) will speak Thursday about the effects of California's welfare reform on women and children.
The university commission monitors and offers recommendations on issues affecting women on campus.
As the first Latina elected to the California Senate, Solis has been active in the debate over state assistance, which serves a disproportionate number of Latino residents. She co-chaired the Legislature's subcommittee on job creation for welfare.
After lengthy partisan wrangling, the Legislature last summer passed a reform package that takes effect Jan. 1. Part of the package is a bill co-authored by Solis that allows women who are abused or involved in domestic-violence cases to receive waivers that will enable them to continue receiving assistance after the usual cutoff point.
"It should not be a little checkoff, like, 'Well, you're a victim, but you still have to get to work,' " Solis said in an interview Friday. "It's more of an effort to say, 'Why is this going on? What is happening with this particular family?' "
CSUN officials cited Solis' involvement in the legislative debate when inviting her to speak, the senator said. She added that her district, which includes East Los Angeles, Baldwin Park, La Puente and most of the San Gabriel Valley, is "one of the ones most affected" by welfare reform.
With the New Year changes approaching, the importance of assessing their practical impact is increasing, Solis said.
"We don't have a lot of time," she said. "People are going to need to get out there and start working. And we need to make sure the business owners are aware of what's happening, so they can hire them."
Solis' speech is scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. in the University Student Union, on the east side of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. Those attending are urged to bring canned or packaged food in observance of World Hunger Day.