Thursday, September 10, 2015

Real Women Recognized

I'm back.  It's been a while so please bear with me.  I'm afraid there may be grammatical and syntactical goblins lurking. Ignore them; they'll go away soon enough.

So many ways one could read the title. 

My response was influenced by the play, "Real Women Have Curves".  The current production is directed by Seema Sueko and the plays run is from September 8th to October 4th.
Playwright Josefina Lopez wrote the play that became a movie covers a lot of themes.  Some of them are unique to the Latina experience, but most are the universal themes that women deal with as they define their identity.

Ideas like body image and a sense of a woman's place in their families.  What and how they define a successful life.  For those that have interest in work place issues - fair wages and working conditions, small business ownership.  And there is healthy discourse on immigration and immigration status.  

On Tuesday, September 15th, I'll be part of a panel that will be discussing these issues, and more, I bet.  I'll be joining Josefina Lopez  and Dr. Cynthia Olivo, Pasadena City College in a post-performance panel to discuss "How an East LA Story Relates to Pasadena, Southern California, and the World Today".  The panel will be facilitated by Director Sueko.  

The real women here have received special recognition over the years but I thought I'd share something about their most recent acknowledgments.

I first met Stella Murga close to 20 years ago.  Greg Apodaca, founder of Leadership Pasadena, invited me and other Latino community members to her house to have a conversation about Latinos in Pasadena.  During the last couple of decades she founded the Pasadena Youth Center, went to school to complete her M.A. and then focused on what is now known as the Adelante Youth Center.  During the years I became involved with Adelante Mujer Latina and have been thrilled to see it grow - especially since Stella and AYA became the leading team.  I'm sorry that I haven't been able to be as involved with the event in the past few years - I used to be on the production end of the event.  I miss seeing the energy that 1,000 young women and their mentors experience on a day that is filled with career workshops.  

A couple of years ago the AYA began a program that brought students from Marshall High school to work with students at Madison Elementary.  This program has continued to flourish and now has students from PCC as part of the program.  

On October 12th, 2015 the YWCA will be recognizing Stella as the recipient of the 2015 Racial Justice Award from the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley.  
Stella R. Murga, Founder and Executive Director, Adelante Youth Alliance
I'm constantly reminded at how closely connected many things are in this community.  When we first came to town we were a young family without more hope than money.  James was our primary bread winner and he was soooooo young.  When it came time for health related issues we needed to use Chap for the sorts of inoculations that children need.  At the time $5-$10 visits made the difference between our healthcare and hoping that illnesses wouldn't cause deep damage if we didn't get the shots needed.

Who knew that years later I'd meet Ms. Martinez - no relative - who has been focused on providing healthcare for the most vulnerable in Southern California for over 35 years.  In 994 she was named Executive Director of Clinica Romero.  In 1999 she was select to lead ChapCare.  For over 15 years she has overseen a transition from a clinic to an independent nonprofit health center.  She is continually developing strategies to have service deliver evolve through its unique municipal partnership model.  

Here's a quote from the press release announcing the award 
"The Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Program recognizes that effective institutions are driven by creative people who need time off to reflect if they are to keep their organizations ahead of the curve. In an effort to replenish the stores of energy and inspiration for our community’s most gifted leaders, the biannual Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Program offers up to six individuals stipends and expenses to travel, reflect or otherwise renew themselves in whatever manner they propose".  

Margaret B. Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, ChapCare

No comments:

Post a Comment