Will you “speak up! speak out! and be the change?” This is what the Social Change Program posed to guests attending the Community Celebration on Tuesday, June 26th. Three women were honored at this 3rd annual event which celebrates Clark County’s diverse and active community. City of Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt welcomed over 80 attendees to the event, who enjoyed a variety of cultural presentations, a live DJ, and some great networking. Michelle Hurdle-Bradford, social change program manager, works hard to be inclusive to all members of the community and was happy to see so much diversity at the event, “I was pleased to look around the room to see community members of all ages, colors and life styles.”
Named for Val Joshua’s life-long commitment to eliminating racism, the awards were presented this year to three women who have demonstrated leadership working to eliminate racism and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people. The Val Joshua Racial Justice Award was presented to Kellie Henderson for her involvement in gang prevention and intervention in Clark County as well as her volunteer efforts in the community. Elizabeth Ruiz, an advocate for civil rights and immigration reform, received honorable mention. The Val Joshua Youth Social Justice Award recognizes high school students whose work has made a positive impact in Clark County and was presented to Maribel Sanchez from Mountain View High School for empowering Latino youth in the community at both the institutional and peer levels. Sanchez received a $500 scholarship from the Donna Roberge Scholarship Fund.
The Social Change Program is dedicated to preventing racism and other forms of oppression in our community through education and support. The Community Celebration increases civic engagement and rewards leadership in social change efforts. In addition, the Social Change Program hosts a number of workshops and activities throughout the year, such as Conversations in the Community, a brown bag forum for discussion which occurs every first Monday from 11:30-1:00 pm in ywca’s community room. Contact Michelle Hurdle-Bradford at 360 906 9129 for more information on how you can be the change you want to see in your world.