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Patricia Sturdevant Steps Up For Justice
Land Park volunteer shows others how to act their conscience
By Jessica Laskey
When Patricia Sturdevant sees a problem in her community, she doesn’t just notice—she acts. When the Land Park resident saw excess citrus on the trees that line Sacramento streets—fruit that could go to hungry mouths—she did something about it.
Sturdevant has been on the pages of Inside Sacramento before for her work with the Land Park Community Association’s partnership with Harvest Sacramento, a collaborative project that gathers surplus citrus—fruit that would otherwise go to waste—to feed the underserved.
But the retired consumer-protection and health-care lawyer isn’t just concerned about citrus. Patricia Sturdevant volunteers her time for many organizations working to make the world a better place, including California Women Lawyers, Women Lawyers of Sacramento, Consumer Action (a San Francisco-based consumer-advocacy group for which Sturdevant serves as president) and National Council of Jewish Women.
“It’s my fourth year as recording secretary for NCJW,” Sturdevant says. “You don’t have to be Jewish or a woman to be involved. I became familiar with the group when I was the president of California Women Lawyers. We were working with NCJW on human trafficking issues and, after the work concluded, I decided to join. I like the people, the issues they address and their successes.”
Sturdevant is part of a committee organizing a speaker series this month on the migrant crisis. NCJW founded the speaker series, “Find out What You Can Do. Act Your Conscience,” to gather experts, nonprofit leaders and community members to discuss important humanitarian issues. The first event last November featured a retired pediatrician reporting firsthand on the appalling conditions of detention centers on the Tijuana side of the border. A panel on March 1 will tackle gun violence.
“We wanted to make a real difference in the community by addressing issues that are of real concern,” Sturdevant explains. “Immigration and gun violence were at the top of our list.”
This month’s speaker series, “Humanitarian Crisis for Migrants Continues,” will feature a panel of speakers from Sacramento Area Congregations Together, Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden, NorCal Resist, and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). Each advocacy organization will highlight the work they do to support asylum seekers, immigrants, and the children and families in detention centers. Anna Molander, a lawyer with the California Department of Health Care Services and active member of RAICES, will be the keynote speaker.
“NCJW is very drawn to the issue of immigration,” Sturdevant says. “There’s a focus in the Jewish tradition on the just treatment of immigrants emanating from the Jewish history of displacement and migration. Their struggles as immigrants remind them to welcome the stranger.”
Sturdevant says the purpose of these panels is to open the eyes and hearts of the community, as well as to show regular citizens how they can get involved in the fight against injustice.
“These community forums are intended to let people know what’s happening, what local organizations are doing to address the issues and how they can volunteer to help,” Sturdevant says.
“Humanitarian Crisis for Migrants Continues” will be held Sunday, Jan. 5, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Congregation B’nai Israel, 3600 Riverside Blvd. For more information, visit ncjw.org.
Jessica Laskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.