March 16, 2023

The UCLA Labor Center hosted a homecoming celebration on Friday in honor of Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Los Angeles) for her recent election to the California State Senate.

Before winning her election in November, Senator Smallwood-Cuevas spent 15 years working for the UCLA Labor Center, where she directed the Center for the Advancement of Racial Equity (CARE) at Work and co-founded the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, the nation’s first Black Worker Center.

Senator Smallwood-Cuevas is the only Black woman in the California State Senate and a champion for all working families.


“I am honored and humbled to be celebrated by such a groundbreaking institution as the UCLA Labor Center, where I spent most of my organizing years advocating for the rights of Black workers and workers of other marginalized communities,” said Senator Smallwood-Cuevas.


“The UCLA Labor Center will always be a part of my family. As a State Senator, I will continue to fight alongside them to help make a more equitable California for all working families.”


During the homecoming celebration that featured a cultural performance, Senator Smallwood-Cuevas addressed her former UCLA Labor Center colleagues at a special luncheon held in her honor.

She also received commendatory remarks from Kent Wong, Director of the UCLA Labor Center.

 “Senator Smallwood-Cuevas is a trailblazer who should be celebrated.

She is an educator, labor organizer and community advocate who has dedicated her life to economic and racial justice,” said Wong.


“Over the course of her career, she has advanced research, education and community empowerment – and now as the only Black woman in the California State Senate, she is leaving a legacy for future generations to look up to.”

Following the luncheon, a larger public event was held for students, faculty and community members to join the celebration.

During the public event, Senator Smallwood-Cuevas participated in an insightful sit-down interview facilitated by UCLA Professor Robin D. G. Kelley, a Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History. 

Nearly 100 people attended the afternoon celebration event, which was held at the UCLA James West Alumni Center. 

Senator Lola Smallwood Cuevas represents the 28th Senate District, which includes the communities of South Los Angeles, Culver City, West Los Angeles, Century City and Downtown Los Angeles.

Senator Smallwood-Cuevas spent more than two decades serving as a labor organizer, civil rights activist and community advocate before winning her first political race as a State Senator. She resides in the View Park community of Los Angeles with her family.

Category: News