Nadia Davis' memoir, Home is Within You, details her courageous journey to wholeness and health in a powerful homage to finding one's truth and worth. Nadia captures heritage, justice, and personal recovery into a tour de force utilizing prose, poetry, and letters to her sons. It is also a defense of privacy and motherhood, as well as a call to action against shaming of women and ineffective, often damaging policies toward struggling families. She suggests more compassionate methods of treatment and restorative justice enabling those in recovery from trauma and addiction to ultimately find their personal truth and strength within.
Nadia has a lifetime record of passionate work and dedication improving the lives of others. Born the youngest of seven children to ethnically mixed parents of Native American, Mexican, and German descent, her spiritual inspiration since his death in 1994 has always been her father.
She received her Bachelors Degree in Sociology with a specialization in Juvenile Justice from U.C.L.A. in 1993. Thereafter, she earned a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School in 1996 and has been a member of California State Bar since 1997.
At U.C.L.A. Ms. Davis led numerous efforts to empower and inspire inner-city youth, including providing mentorship through Project Motivation, an internship with FOX Television Show “In Living Color” studying ethnic stereotypes, and assisting re-entry efforts of paroled youth at the David Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center. At Loyola Law School, she chaired the Public Interest Law Foundation and led its pro-bono efforts, studied Human Rights and Environmental Law in Central America, and transcribed law books for a blind student.
Following law school, she authored a legal handbook and conducted seminars throughout the state for challenged immigrant youth seeking a higher education. She was a member of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez’s legal team, protecting the rights of new citizens against unfounded accusations. She ran Senator Lou Correa’s fundraising efforts in his first bid for elected office to Assembly in OC and then spearheaded bi-partisan political efforts to increase voter registration in low-income communities through the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.
As the youngest Latina and Native American in local office, Nadia was elected to the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Trustees in November of 1998.
A passionate advocate for youth justice, Nadia worked for some of the largest pro-bono law firms in the nation, including Public Counsel, The Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law, and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund. Most notable, however, is her leadership in obtaining the freedom of Orange County’s son, Arthur Carmona, a wrongfully convicted 16 year-old. After nearly 3 years of legal filings, lobbying, petitions, press coverage, raising funds, and securing top investigators and legal representation, Arthur was eventually freed.
After marrying then State Attorney General Bill Lockyer, becoming a mother, and moving to Northern California, Nadia continued her legal work by focusing on victims of interpersonal violence. She was the Executive Director of the Alameda County Family Justice Center, helping children and families throughout the County cut through red tape to get the help and support they needed. She led collaboration of multiple public, non-profit, and government agencies in efforts to provide more easily accessible, coordinated, efficient and effective services to victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual exploitation, elder and child abuse. Under her leadership, the Family Justice Center was recognized by the California State Association of Counties as a national model of best practices in public-private partnerships.
Continuing her leadership as an public official, Nadia was elected as a County Supervisor in 2010 and represented over 350,000 constituents in 5 localities in the East Bay of California. She chaired the SSI Advocacy Committee addressing mental health and homelessness in the County as well as led complex policy and service delivery change in the areas of family safety, transportation, criminal justice, and youth violence.
She is a survivor of childhood sexual trauma and racial bullying. This fed her unwavering commitment to civil rights and victims of interpersonal violence. As an adult, she abruptly lost her father, best friend, and a child in utero. Shortly thereafter, PTSD, depression, and chronic pain heightened to unbearable levels she tried to manage on her own through self medicating. Vulnerable, she was thereafter blackmailed, exploited, and violently assaulted by a man she met while seeking help. The press and public attention on her troubles was relentless and shame filled.
Nadia remained steadfast and committed to her recovery. Over the course of a grueling seven year journey, she eventually achieved a healthy and safe life for her family. Most of all, she returned to her true self and spiritual home within where her father’s inspiration shines on.
Nadia is the recipient of many awards, including the State Democratic Party’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Public Service Award, The Orange County Human Relations Commission Public Service Award, the OC Women’s Suffrage Day Award, the State LULAC Hispanic Woman of the Year Award, the State LULAC 2009 Champion Against Domestic Violence Award, the Alameda County Family Justice Center’s Diamond Leadership Award, and the 2011 Bay Area NWPC History Maker’s Award.
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