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Celebrating Women’s History Month with DSC’s Women Leaders!


Join us in celebration of Women’s History Month, as we recognize the women leaders of the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) who are at the forefront of the fight to end school pushout and combat discriminatory practices against youth of color & disadvantaged students. 

For nearly two decades, Ruth S. Idakula has dedicated her life energy to organizing, education and advocacy for social, racial, and economic justice and equity. Born and raised in Nigeria, Ruth has been a resident of New Orleans for over 23 years. As a proud mother of three sons, she was called into public education organizing, advocacy and policy development by the takeover and privatization of public schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Ruth’s leadership is grounded in sustaining movement building and collective liberation in New Orleans and beyond.

Prior to joining DSC NY, Andrea Ortiz served as the Senior Manager of Education Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, advocating for immigrant youth in public schools, and also led an alternative to suspension and restorative justice program in Austin, Texas. With over twelve years of experience, she has organized BIPOC and undocumented families in New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Andrea is dedicated to ending the criminalization of communities of color and building power for educational justice. She holds an M.A. in education policy from Columbia University’s Teachers College and a B.A. in philosophy and gender studies from New College of Florida.

Noemi G. Soto has been with DSC CA for six years and has over 20 years of experience in organizing in Watts and South Los Angeles, where she was raised. Recruited by Community Against Police Abuse in her teens, Soto supported organizing efforts of a gang truce in 1992. She also worked with undocumented youth at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and co-founded the Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD). At CRCD, she launched CURE, an alternative sentencing program with the LA City Attorney and Public Defender for young adults aged 18-25. Throughout her career, Soto has been a dedicated advocate for youth and community building.

Ursula DeWitt’s journey from a parent tokenized by school districts to an education justice organizer, drove her to advocate for families and students facing inequitable discipline and special education practices. She serves on the Black Parallel School Board and played a key role in a settlement against Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) for neglecting Black and disabled students. Ursula successfully removed police from SCUSD, implementing a restorative justice-based safety plan. Additionally, she co-crafted DSC CA’s Parent Racial Justice Demands during COVID-19.

Through their leadership and resilience, these women inspire change, empower communities, and pave the way for an equitable education landscape for all. We are deeply grateful for their unwavering commitment to a safer and more just future for youth across the nation.