President's Message

Mary McKelvey

WLALA President 2021-2022

In the wake of Memorial Day, the dawn of Juneteenth, and the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, it seems the common theme is the tremendous courage of individuals who willingly risk everything for both personal liberty and collective freedom.

Mary McKelvey, WLALA President Tweet

Freedom

President’s Message, June 2022

I am intrigued by people who live their lives in service of an ideal greater than themselves, and by how important this quality has been in our country’s evolution and how vital it is to our future.  In the wake of Memorial Day, the dawn of Juneteenth, and the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, it seems the common theme is the tremendous courage of individuals who willingly risk everything for both personal liberty and collective freedom. 

As many of our fundamental freedoms hang in the balance, I find myself compelled to examine the characteristics and motivations of those who voluntarily sacrifice everything to open doors and secure freedom for others.  The passion and selflessness of these brave souls embodies the necessary and potent elements required if we are to continue working toward a more perfect union.  

June is Pride Month and that immediately brings Harvey Milk to mind. His visionary courage moved the needle for the LGBTQIA+ community at a time of unprecedented hatred and hostility.  His bold and unapologetic proclamation of his identity as a gay man and his subsequent election to public office brought fresh hope and inspiration. Milk spoke passionately of the American ideal of equality, proclaiming, “Gay people, we will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets.… We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out.”  He was passionate, persistent, and proud and he inspired others to do the same.  

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Inner City Law Center

Inner City Law Center (ICLC) fights for housing and justice for low-income tenants, working-poor families, immigrants, people who are disabled or living with HIV/AIDS, and homeless veterans.  As the only full-time legal-services provider located on Skid Row, ICLC advocates for equitable housing policies and provides legal services to prevent and end homelessness.

The Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA) has not only served as a dedicated pro bono partner on ICLC’s housing work, but the WLALA Foundation has also sponsored WLALA fellows to work with ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project on issues affecting women veterans, including those who have been victims of military sexual trauma, as well as with ICLC’s Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project, where they address a variety of legal issues that create barriers to stable housing.

These exceptional WLALA fellows have passionately worked alongside ICLC attorneys to reduce barriers to income and housing stability for Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable residents. 

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Fiammetta Piazza’s path to being a transactional associate at Polsinelli LLP is as circuitous as it is interesting. A dual citizen of Italy and the U.S., Fiammetta was born and raised in Italy while spending extensive time in the U.S. After graduating high school, she decided not to continue on her path as a professional ballet dancer and moved to Milan where she attended Bocconi University School of Law. Upon graduating, she and her family moved to Los Angeles permanently and Fiammetta earned an LLM from UCLA and a JD from Loyola Law School. 
 
Fiammetta, whose name means “little flame,” has put her three law degrees to good use by bringing her unique perspective to bear for her clients.