The themes of self empowerment, tribulation, and social service were the items discussed by key speakers during the 2017 Women of Distinction Leadership Awards Banquet on Nov. 4.
Organized by the League of United Latin American Citizens of the Inland Empire and the Chicano Latino Caucus of the Inland Empire, the awards ceremony honored 28 community-serving women at the Colton First Assembly of God Church in Colton.
Community organizer Sol Marquez and registered nurse Charmaine Morales spoke about the importance of staying strong to overcome adversity and achieve success.
“In my life I’ve broken some chains,” expressed Morales. “I am a wife, a mother, sister, daughter, and cousin. I am a part of this community and I have a duty to make a difference or impact on someone else.”
Morales, a victim of sexual abuse whose father has spent the majority of his life in prison, is currently serving as the Executive Vice President of the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Healthcare Professionals, and used her platform as a featured speaker to speak out against sexual abuse and violence.
“I realize I had so much to say, and I wasn’t going to stay quiet any longer,” Morales said. “It’s time to no longer be silent. We need to encourage [victims] to speak up and tell their stories.”
Marquez, a self-described “proud Chicana” from Boyle Heights, was inspired by her once undocumented parents to stand up for working class families that she claims are constantly being abused by law enforcement.
“Many of you I’m sure know the words transparency and accountability,” Marquez told the crowd. “These words do in fact resonate with any person who is a leader, any person that holds a protector role in our communities.”
Other women honored by the Latino community organizations were TODEC’s Luz Gallegos, San Bernardino City Unified School District Board Member Dr. Barbara Flores, retired dentist and philanthropist Dr. Manuela Sosa, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice Executive Director Penny Newman, San Bernardino Community College Board of Trustees Vice President and IECN’s own Gloria Macias Harrison, and immigration attorney Hadley Bajramovic to name a few.
Honorees: Irma Pastrana Aguilar, Teresa Alba, Anel Arreola, Hadley Bajramovic, Rose Calderon, Jacqueline Casillas, Yolanda Esquivel, Barbara Flores, Ph. D, Luz Gallegos, Sara Garcia, Jessie Gomez, Ana Gonzalez, Iris Yvette Gutierrez, Gloria Macias Harrison, Mariaelena Huizar, Flora Martinez, Linda Miranda, Viola Munoz, Dianey Murillo, Penny Newman, Maribel Nunez, Rosemary Soto Rodriguez, Sandra Rodriguez, Mary G. Ruiz, Angelicca Sanchez, Manuela Sosa, DDS, Elsa Valdez, Ph. D, Rosa Marta Zarate
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