Advocacy in Action at the Ending Child Marriage Summit


August 5, 2020

Global Hope 365 and the California Coalition to End Child Marriage hosted part two of the two-part Virtual Child Marriage Summit on Aug 5, 2020. The 90 minute summit included a panel discussion focused on the current law in California regarding Child Marriage and strategies for advocacy followed by a 40-minute working session on advocacy actions.


Rima Nashashibi, President and Founder, Global Hope 365
Sen. Joseph Dunn (ret.), Special Advisor to the Dean, UCI School of Law
Dr. Eleanor Kennelly Gaetan, Director of Public Policy at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation
Jeanne Smoot, Senior Counsel for Policy and Strategy, Tahirih Justice Center

The speakers participated in a moderated panel discussion on advocacy. The experts were asked, “What are the most important things for people to know about Child Marriage law in California?” The panelists noted that California has no age floor and California has weak protections compared to the reforms made in other states. The law is causing “harm” that creates negative implications for the lives of victims including the many negative impacts on their lives such as higher domestic violence rates, higher infant mortality rates, and social isolation and interruption of education.

The participants then participated in breakout sessions led by Advocacy Leaders. The Advocacy Leaders provided the participants with instructions for completing actions in an “Advocacy Toolkit” with step-by step instructions for completing a digital letter-writing campaign, identifying and calling their state legislators, and utilizing social media to spread awareness on Child Marriage. Each of the Advocacy Leaders has experience as elected officials, the legal profession, or in human rights advocacy.

Participants were able to transform their emotional connection to the victim stories into focused action in ending Child Marriage. Participants had the following to say about the Advocacy portion of the summit “Excellent Way to get things done”, “You are doing awesome work”, and “Such a great Summit & was so happy with you work that we were able to accomplish!”

Advocacy Leaders:

Ray Cordova, Chair, South County Labor
Melissa Fox, Councilmember, City of Irvine
Peggy Huang, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California and Councilmember, City of Yorba Linda
Farrah Khan, Councilmember, City of Irvine
Dave Min, UC Irvine Law Professor and Candidate for California State Senate District 37
Jose Moreno, Councilmember, City of Anaheim
Stephanie Oddo, Candidate, Laguna Niguel City Council
Cole Patterson, State Data Director (CA), Republican National Committee
Barry Simon, President, United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA), Southern California Division and Regional Representative to the UNA-USA National Council
Isabel Treidl, President, United Nations Association Orange County
Mellissa Withers, PhD, MHS, Associate Professor (clinical), USC Keck School of Medicine, USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, Director, APRU Global Health Program

Action items:

  1. A replay of the plenary session. Click Here.
  2. Contact your legislators to state your support for ending Child Marriage by completing the Digital Letter-writing campaign Click Here.
  3. Contact the California Coalition to End Child Marriage to pass a resolution in your city Click Here.
  4. Donate to support Global Hope 365 and our campaign to End Child Marriage. Click Here.