Assemblymember Bonta Honors Outstanding Women Leaders In The 18th Assembly District

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

(OAKLAND, CA)-  In honor of Women’s History Month, California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta is proud to honor five women whose unyielding service to our community deserves to be publicly recognized in his first Annual “Women of the Year” Celebration.  On Thursday, July 25, 2013, five women, Teresita Bautista, Deborah Cox, Gray Harris, Dee Johnson, and Cynthia Wasko will be honored for their dedication to improving the community as well as the state of California. 

Assemblymember Bonta stated, “The strength and dedication to community service displayed by so many women throughout this district is inspiring.  I am proud to represent a district that has a long history of outstanding women leaders.  I am honored to personally know these amazing leaders.”  He continued, “They all have set a very high bar in Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro for all to follow as individuals who tirelessly dedicate their lives toward creating a better future for the entire region.”

One of the women who will be honored during the Women of the Year Celebration is Teresita Bautista.  Teresita was chosen for founding and working in community-based organizations providing services in immigration, bilingual employment and training, language access to healthcare, youth leadership development, and affordable housing for seniors.  In her most recent appointment as Programs Manager for the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, she oversees multi-Asian classes ranging from martial arts to traditional and contemporary folk dancing, exhibits, and community collaborations with non-profits.

Another honoree, Deborah Cox, is co-Founder and President of the San Leandro Education Foundation.  She served as the President of the Estudillo Homeowner’s Association for four years and is currently on the board of California Conservatory Theater, Leadership San Leandro, and PACE.  In addition, she has been a member of the San Leandro Human Services Commission for the past five years actively supporting many of the local non-profit agencies in San Leandro. 

Assemblymember Rob Bonta will also be honoring Gray Harris for her service to the Alameda Education Association.  Ms. Harris currently serves as the Alameda Education Association President and has shown a strong commitment to working people.  In the past year, she led her members through two very difficult contract negotiations, organized rallies, ran a campaign that was successful in getting elected two school board members, and helped protect the rights of her members.

Dee Johnson will be honored for her work for the Lend a Hand Foundation in Oakland (LAHF).  With the guidance of Ms. Johnson, LAHF has provided over 33,000 youth with school supplies through its annual back- to-school giveaway program and through its holiday celebration.  She has helped the LAHF touch the lives of over 4,000 youth and their families. 

The fifth individual to be honored as Woman of the Year is Cynthia Wasko.  For 15 years, Cynthia Wasko has devoted herself to leading volunteer organizations working to improve the lives of vulnerable members of the community.  As President of the City of Alameda Social Services Human Relations Board, she has coordinated Family Festivals, Civil Rights efforts, and funding for essential programs.  In 2012, she led a Community Needs Survey and authored an application that resulted in Alameda being named one of the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People. 

Constituents throughout the 18th Assembly District, including Alameda, Oakland, and San Leandro, are invited to join Assemblymember Rob Bonta at his first Annual “Women of the Year” Celebration.  The event will take place on Thursday, July 25, 2013 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the Alameda Library at 1550 Oak Street, Alameda, CA. Assemblymember Bonta is pleased to celebrate the community growth and success that has resulted from the efforts of our five outstanding Women of the Year.  

Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro. He is the Chair of the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee and the Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay. He is a member of the Assembly Health, Transportation, Banking & Finance, and Elections & Redistricting Committees.

For more information or to RSVP for this event, please email katelynn.thorpe@asm.ca.gov or call (510) 286-1670.