Thank you to everyone who attended Girls Inc. of Alameda County’s sold-out 29th Annual Strong, Smart & Bold Luncheon this afternoon. Today we honored three accomplished high school students from Oakland and San Leandro—Daniela Garcia, Donna Wong, and Serenity Williams—and heard from girls in our Advocating Change Together program. In the face of inequity and threats to their rights, these girls continue to demonstrate a resilience, intelligence, and determination that will carry us forward into our collective future.
Alongside them, we celebrated three women who are leading and redefining our current political and corporate climate. Geisha Williams, the highest ranking Latina in Corporate America and the newly appointed CEO of PG&E Corporation, spoke with us about a defining moment that helped her recognize her potential—when a mentor asked her simply, “Someone needs to run this company; why not you?” Nancy O’Malley, Alameda County District Attorney, shared the importance of perseverance against the odds, even in a male-dominated field, stating, “If other people try to convince you you can’t, guess again.” Finally, Monique Morris, Co-Founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute, reminded us to continue to work for justice and community, and that “To be bold is to stand in your truth, to be bold is to lead with love.”
We also honored Betty Reid Soskin, a Park Ranger with the Rosie the Riveter World War II Homefront Memorial in Richmond, with Girls Inc.’s Trailblazer Award. Betty, who just celebrated her 95th birthday, spoke from her personal experience of the contributions of African Americans to the World War II effort, even in the face of deep-rooted segregation. Inspired by Betty’s description of our Bay Area community as “the seat of social change,” we’re even more excited to launch our #GirlsHaveTheRight campaign. Stay tuned to learn more, and get involved!
In total, the Luncheon raised $265,000 to empower and inspire girls. We are so grateful for this outpouring of support and the generous investments that will provide access, resources, and opportunities for girls in Alameda County, so that they can move forward into their strong, smart, and bold futures. View a preview of today’s photos on Girls Inc.’s Facebook page. Special thanks to our emcee Pam Moore, KRON 4 Anchor, and our lead sponsors—Lois De Domenico, Kaiser Permanente, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, The Saul Zaentz Company, and Sharon Simpson—for making this event possible!