Female activists to share the secrets of making a difference

By Staff
Northwest Asian Weekly

Women of Color Empowered is an event organized by a planning committee to recognize women who have made a significant contribution to their field. It strives to dispel certain stereotypes. To be held on Friday, May 15, at Ocean City Restaurant, the theme for the upcoming event is “Civic Activism: Making a Difference.”

Held as a luncheon for hundreds of people, Women of Color Empowered will first give recognition to the honorees for their great accomplishments. Afterwards, there will be a question and answer session with a panel of experts. Female activists will talk about the secrets to making a difference, their challenges, and their triumphs. Attendees will learn what motivates these women, strategies for making one’s community more inclusive, and other invaluable life lessons.

HONOREES

Nancy Amidei
Project Director of Civic Engagement Project

In addition to her position with the Civic Engagement Project, Nancy Amidei is also a senior lecturer at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. She has served as deputy assistant secretary for legislation in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, staff director of the U.S. Senate Selection Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, and executive director of the Food Research and Action Center.

She translated her policy expertise into a range of activities to meet the needs of vulnerable populations in Washington state, including the U District-University Partnership for Youth, an initiative for homeless youth.

Someireh Amirfaiz
Executive Director of the Refugee Women’s Alliance

Someireh Amirfaiz has been a leader in nonprofits for the past 20 years, advocating for refugee and immigrant families and children who are impacted by poverty and racial and social disparities.

She envisioned and implemented a mobilization effort resulting in the immigrant and refugee communities speaking up and being heard at the first Refugee and Immigrant Legislative Day on February 20, 2007, in Olympia.

She has a master’s degree in psychology from Seattle University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington.

Amy Bates
Environmental Ethicist & Human Rights Advocate

Amy Bates has dedicated her time in finding sustainable solutions for social and environmental challenges. In addition to chairing the Black Policy Foundation, she serves as a human rights commissioner for the City of Tacoma, chairs Solutions for Humanity, Community, and the Environment, and is a member of the Health Coalition for Communities of Color.

Bates earned her master’s degree in public action from the University of Washington.

Kay Bullitt
Civic Activist

In leading many organizations, Kay Bullitt has promoted quality integrated public education, civil rights, the history preservations of ships and buildings, and international understanding. She founded a women’s bank at a time when women had difficulty getting credit. She served on the first Pioneer Square Historic District Board (later known as the Pioneer Square Preservation District Board), was a long-time member of Historic Seattle’s Council and recently served on the Historic Seattle Foundation. As a Trustee of The Bullitt Foundation, she promotes environmental protection in the Pacific Northwest.

Stella Chao
Director of City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Stella Chao has been a low-income housing activist for many years. When she was in her mid-thirties, she left a comfortable job and moved to Kenya. There, she devoted her energies to a maternal and child health program, developing projects with elders and street kids. Currently working for the city, she strives to boost civic involvement across Seattle and reaches out to immigrant and refugee communities. She was executive director of the International District Housing Alliance, a nonprofit that serves low-income and immigrant communities.

Ticiang Diangson
Director of the Environmental Justice & Service Equity Division at Seattle Public Utilities

Ticiang Diangson is a former social worker who found a passion for environmental justice when she worked for Seattle City Light doing home energy checks. In 1992, she helped start the Community Coalition for Environmental Justice in Seattle which operates in south Seattle. She has been working in the Environmental Justice & Service Equity Division of Seattle Public Utilities since it was created in 2005. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin.

Rosalinda Guillen
Executive Director of Community to Community Development

Rosalinda Guillen worked at Skagit State Bank for 16 years, but quit only four years before she was eligible to retire in order to organize farm labor for the United Farm Workers. She has served as the executive director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero, a nonprofit organization. Currently, she serves as the Affirmative Action Chair of the Whatcom County Democrats and is the cofounder and executive director of Community to Community Development, a grassroots organization committed to creating alliances in order to strengthen local and global movements towards social, economic, and environmental justice in Bellingham.

Jean Hernandez
Vice President for Instruction of South Seattle Community College

Jean Hernandez is a higher education veteran with more than 25 years experience as a teacher, counselor, director, and administrator. She has held the position of executive vice president for Student Learning at Cascadia Community College. Prior to that, she held several positions at Shoreline Community College including acting vice president for Academic Affairs, dean of the Health Occupations division, and faculty member in multicultural studies.

She is a member of the Seattle King County Workforce Development Council’s Youth Council and chair of the Girl Scout’s Latina Initiatives Committee.

Thelma A. Jackson
Owner of Foresight Consultants

Thelma A. Jackson has about 30 years of experience in policy making, education change initiatives, cultural competency, and community mobilization. She has served on task forces and advisory councils for four former governors of Washington state. She has also served as president of the Washington State School Directors’ Association. For 20 years, she was a member and president of the North Thurston School Board.

She received a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Southern University in Baton Rouge, and a doctorate in educational leadership and change from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Pramila Jayapal
Founder and Executive Director of OneAmerica

Pramila Jayapal is the founder and executive director of One-America (formerly Hate Free Zone), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the fundamental principles of democracy and justice through building power in immigrant communities in collaboration with key allies.

She has served as the director of the Fund for Technology Transfer at the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health working across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Jayapal was also recognized in 2007 by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of 20 Women of Influence. In 2005, The Seattle Times Editorial Board named her as one of 12 Puget Sound Regional Leaders.

Jacquie Jones-Walsh
Supervisor of Support Services and President of the Seattle Chapter of Blacks in Government

Jacquie Jones-Walsh’s commitment to support services is strong. Among her many accomplishments, she was president of the local 843 union, Washington Federation of State Employees. She is a member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. In 1991, she was part of the National Governor’s Conference Delegate and continued her work in 1992 and 1994 as part of former president Bill Clinton’s Steering Committee. She was also first vice chair of the King County Democrats.

Kristina Logsdon
Racial Justice Campaign Coordinator of Progressive Majority

Kristina Logsdon developed her organizing skills working with the environmental health nonprofit Washington Toxics Coalition as a field organizer for five years. While working to pass state legislation, she became aware of the inequities between communities and the officials elected to represent them.

In her current position, she recruits and trains progressive candidates of color running for public office. In her tenure at Progressive Majority, she has helped to elect Washington state’s first Latina mayor of a city, Samoan American elected official, Black sheriff, and Korean American on the Tacoma City Council.

Bettie Luke
Director of the Organization of Chinese Americans of Greater Seattle

Bettie Luke has been a multi-cultural trainer for schools and businesses for over 30 years. For 11 years, she worked for the Eugene School District. In addition to her current work for OCA-Seattle, Luke volunteers for a number of multi-racial community events, which include several APA fundraisers, Native American Seafair Pow Wow, and the Wing Luke Asian Museum.

Amalia Maestas
In-House Counsel of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Amalia Maestas was a clerk for the Judge Mary Yu out of law school. She then went to work for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. She has served on the board of the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington and Washington Women Lawyers Foundation. She is a technical board member of the Minority Justice Commission and president of the Friends of the Library Foundation (Muckleshoot Branch). She earned her undergraduate degree from Seattle University and graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law.

Dawn Mason
Community Volunteer

Dawn Mason is a retired state representative.

She is the founder and president of Parents for Student Success and a past president of First Place, an agency serving the education and needs of homeless children. She retired early from her career at Seattle Public Utilities to work uncompensated for some of the world’s devastated children. She spent a month in Kenya with women caring for as many as 10 children in small rooms without sanitation facilities.

She currently sits on the board of visitors for Antioch University, and is the coordinator for Missions and Services women’s ministry at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, both in Seattle.

Lua Pritchard
Executive Director if the Korean Women’s Association

Lua Prichard has been with the Korean Women’s Association since early 1990. She hailed from American Samoa where she previously worked as program administrator and secondary English teacher for the American Samoa Department of Education for 12 years. She has extensive training in various areas of social service and nonprofit management. Since 1996, she has chaired a growing 47 member Pierce County Asian Pacific Island Coalition. She is a governor-appointed Commissioner of the Washington State Commission of Asian Pacific American Affairs.

A. Linda Taylor
Housing Director of Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle

A. Linda Taylor joined the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle in 1998 as a housing counselor. She teaches reverse mortgage courses within the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. She is a founding member of the Seattle King County Collation for Responsible Lending.

She served as a member of Seattle’s First African Methodist Episcopal Church Child Development Center Headstart Board, where she volunteered for over 15 years in various roles including five years as board president.

Velma Veloria
Senior Policy Adviser and Outreach Coordinator of HomeSight

Velma Veloria is an accomplished, visionary leader and a six-term Washington state representative. She has extensive experience in union organizing and as a political strategist. Notably, during her career as a state representative, Veloria successfully placed Washington state as the first in the nation to make human trafficking a crime. In 2002, she earned the Institutional Change Award from the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, just one of her many accolades.

Veloria was educated at the University of Washington and San Francisco State College.

Harriett Walden
Political and Social Justice Advocate

Harriett Walden is known for being the first Black woman to co-own a photography business, Salisbury Photography, in the 80s. She is the founding member of an organization now called Mothers for Police Accountability. In that role, she garnered national attention for her crusade in working collaboratively with the Seattle Police Department. In this effort, she has advocated for the use of less lethal means of arresting citizens — while providing them the services and resources they need.

MASTER OF CEREMONY

Marlee Ginter
KOMO-TV reporter

Marlee Ginter joined KOMO-TV as a reporter in August 2007.

She came to the Northwest from WISH-TV in Indianapolis. She was the first reporter in Indianapolis who was sent to the Gulf Coast to cover the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, spending more than a week in the area reporting first hand on the damage and cleanup efforts. Her work in Indiana won a Society of Professional Journalists award for best coverage of the environment. ♦

Northwest Asian Weekly’s Women of Color Empowered event will be held on Friday, May 15 at 11:30 a.m. at Ocean City Restaurant. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Northwest Asian Weekly at 206-223-5559.

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