by Rene Villaroman/Asianjournal.com
GLENDALE – “I believe that women leadership is blossoming all over this country and we are living the promise carved out by a generation of women long before mine,” declared the Mayor Marsha Ramos (Burbank) on the Fourth Annual “Jewels of Glendale” Awards held at the Oakmont Country Club. The annual awards luncheon is a project of the City of Glendale Commission on the Status of Women.
“Today women are an essential and powerful part of our community experience. And it is certainly evident today as we recognize the courageous leadership demonstrated by the three honorees this afternoon,” Mayor Ramos said.
The “Woman of Courage” honorees were Seda Khojayan of the Armenian Relief Society; Linda Patrick, founder of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life committee; and late Rabbi Carole Meyers, the first woman rabbi in Southern California to have her own congregation.
“They are force multipliers who have steadfastly envisioned a community that was stronger, healthier and inclusive,” said Mayor Ramos. “They are respected leaders because they have pursued their vision with integrity. They are courageous leaders that were willing to take personal risks in pursuit of their dream, and their passion for the work has genuinely enhanced our communities.”
“We have had a fantastic year,” declared Karla Kerlin, chair of the Commission on the Status of Women. “We continued our work in the area of sexual assault with ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’ and the annual ‘Take Back the Night March’ and ‘Clothesline Project’ in partnership with the Glendale YWCA.”
“But by far, our biggest accomplishment this year was that we were able to bring a long-time dream of ours to fruition. With generous grants from the Soroptimists International of Glendale, and the California Women’s Foundation, we were able to produce our “Camp Rosie,” Kerlin said. Camp Rosie is a no-cost three-week camp that teaches high school girls the importance of saving and becoming financially literate.
Kerlin also acknowledged the other commissioners, including Paula Devine, Grace Walker, Ruth Sowby, Elizabeth Manasserian, Angele Ketefian, and Marie LeMelle; and student commissioners Elaine Panlaqui and Susie Keyvanian.
Rabbi Meyers, who died of bone cancer at age 50 in late 2007, was accorded a 20-minute audio-visual montage that celebrated her life and work, and included a video clip of the prayer that she delivered on November 8, 2001 before the United States Congress in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Her award was received by her husband, Ralph Zerefsky.
“This afternoon we celebrate the courageous leadership of both the past and the present, but let’s take a moment to reflect on our own dreams, and aspire to be the change we wish to see in the world,” Mayor Ramos said. “Pursue your dreams with courage, strength and imagination. Build and nurture your relationships and others will help you in your pursuit. We can create the future we desire, and like all of the women leaders I have mentioned today, we can do it with joyful zeal and compassion.”