The Lompoc-Vandenberg Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will host its first-ever ChangeMakers celebration from 7 to 8 p.m. March 18, featuring iconic women leaders dedicated to making change.
The purpose of the virtual event, hosted in collaboration with Hancock College's Associated Student Body Government, is to acknowledge women leaders, especially women of color, who have made a positive impact on their communities, state and nation — despite receiving little recognition. The program will be offered in both English and Spanish.
Featured keynote speakers Dolores Huerta, American labor leader and civil rights activist, and state Sen. Monique Limón will share their stories of making change, then answer moderated questions from the audience.
“AAUW believes it is important to recognize the significance that women leaders, especially women of color, have had in making positive change in our nation, state and communities," said local AAUW President Pam Buchanan. "We wanted to celebrate and highlight women leaders as ChangeMakers, hence the name of the celebration. Our branch believes it was vital to bring these ChangeMakers to our communities in order to hear their stories and to inspire us all to be ChangeMakers in our own way."
Huerta is the founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Group. Her many awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
Huerta will be joined by newly elected state Sen. Monique Limón, who represents California's 19th Senate District.
Limón, who was born and raised in the 19th District, which includes Santa Barbara County and about half of Ventura County, has served as an educator, leader and an advocate for causes advancing the quality of life in her community, an AAUW spokeswoman said.
The ChangeMakers celebration also will include a live performance from singer-songwriters and students Azyiah, Amia and Maliah Simmons. The Simmons Sisters, all of whom attended Lompoc High School in the 2019-20 school year, were the winners of the Hamilton Education contest and were featured on "Good Morning America." They also were nominated for the 2021 Lompoc Peace Prize for their work.
Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record.
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