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Article by Marissa Martinez
Photos by Meredith Curry
4 MIN READ
Thank you once again for your generous support of my GoFundMe: Support Santa Clara County Women and API Leaders. As a reminder, we raised $1,101.00 to purchase two tables at two different fundraiser events that support women and Asian & Pacific Islander (API) communities throughout Santa Clara County.
As promised, here is a special AdvancED newsletter issue to share with you all the good feels, festivities, and fierceness of these events. We also want you to meet the wonderful community leaders who were able to attend these events, thanks to your awesome generosity and vision!
Women’s Equality Day Luncheon
August 23, 2019 11:30am-1:00pm
Mexican Heritage Plaza, San Jose
“Spectacular at Every Stage” was the theme of this year’s Women’s Equality Day Luncheon and it truly was a spectacular gathering of community leaders and inspiring womxn. “To be around such powerful womxn inspires and motivates me!” said Liliana Gomez.
As the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) honored the work being done by the community to support and uplift womxn and girls, “I am thankful for attending this event, that provided the space to celebrate womxn! I am leaving incredibly inspired! La lucha sigue!" said, Elizabeth Fernandez (Santa Clara University Graduate Student).
This year, the CSW awarded a total of $12,000 to nine organizations that serve womxn and girls. The grant recipients included 100 Black Women, Learning and Loving Education Center, and Voices of Women for Change.
At the luncheon, we heard from a couple of the grant recipients and community leaders like Ava Alonzo, a Community Advocate, and Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, the Senior Director of Social Justice at YWCA. We were also joined by Congresswoman Eshoo who has always been an advocate for families, consumer protection, and clean energy.
Aside from sharing the stage with so many outstanding womxn leaders, attendees benefited by hearing directly from community organizations who are working tirelessly in our cities and neighborhoods. Abigail Palomares (Commissioner for the CSW) commented, “It felt like a huge privilege to be sharing a space with powerful womxn. I felt so inspired and honored to be here.”
In the bustle of our everyday lives, it can be difficult to wrap our heads around equality and justice, but the luncheon helped us to see how far we’ve come and the work we plan to continue doing.
When you get involved with the Office of Women’s Policy and the Commission on the Status of Women it means you are standing up for womxn and girls in our county! Trustee of the Berryessa Union School District Thelma Boac declared, “More than ever we, womxn, must be empowered to ensure that equality in all aspects of life is a human right!”
About The Organizations:
August 29, 2019 5:00pm-8:00pm
Quinlan Community Center, Cupertino
Gathering over 150 public officials, educators, alumni, and friends, the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APALI) Benefit Gala and Alumni Reunion sought to bring to life the resounding anthem “Making Our Voices Count in 2020.” Every year, alumni like Alerie Flandez (San Jose State University), Roderick Bersamina (Google), and Angela Nguyen (Office of Zoe Lofgren) attend the gala and as Alerie put it, “APALI always does a wonderful job of creating an intimate space that is always loving and never intimidating.”
In addition to hearing inspiring words from rising leaders, attendees benefited by reconnecting with the far-reaching APALI network. Whether you’ve gone through the APALI program or not, you probably bumped into someone who you’ve worked with before or you want to work with in the future. For Roderick, “the APALI Gala means connections. APALI shows me that our connections will remain strong and that we can always come back home.”
As a frequent volunteer of APALI, Angela said giving back to APALI is the least she can do since APALI gave so much to her. No matter what stage in your personal development you are in, APALI will support you with career guidance, leadership programming, and someone to grab lunch with!
In 2019, APALI honored four powerful womxn who have shown great leadership: Honorable Betty Yee, California State Controller; Dr. Judy Miner, Chancellor, Foothill-De Anza Colleges; Dora Wong, Director of Public Affairs, Coca-Cola; and Honorable Wendy Ho, San Jose-Evergreen Colleges.
Throughout the night, we heard from students who shared their experience in finding self-confidence and a home in APALI. Attendee and first time APALI-goer Justin Ilumin (MESA) said, “It’s great to hear student experiences and see all the diversity that APALI embraces.”
“Hearing the stories of personal and professional growth from both mentor and mentees,” Anthony Mayo (VISA) remarked, “has reenergized my passion and need to give back to the community.” From education and business to government and nonprofit, the APALI network can give you resources to better serve your community.
After a night brimming with the energy of long-time friends, touching student testimonials, corny emcee jokes, and excitement for the coming months, Dora Wong’s words echoed throughout the room: “If I’m named a leader, it’s because someone led the way for me.”
About The Organization: