The Contra Costa Commission for Women will pay tribute to a dozen advocates for their roles in promoting sisterhood.

Set for March 24, the 13th Women's Hall of Fame will honor in the category of Women Creating Community: Donna Kerger, San Ramon Planning Commission chair; Lill Pierce, Knightsen superintendent's secretary; Mary Rocha, Antioch city councilwoman; Qwivander Smith, Heavenly Hair stylist (Antioch); and Synitha Walker, Parents Connected executive director (Antioch).

For Women Improving Health, it's Lucinda Bazile, LifeLong Medical Care regional director (Hercules); and Dr. Barbara Bunn McCullough, Brighter Beginnings executive director (Richmond). For Women Demonstrating Leadership, Menbere Aklilu, Salute e Vita Ristorante owner (Richmond); Elena Sfreddo Bicker, ARF executive director (Walnut Creek); and Joan Buchanan, former assemblywoman.

In Women Improving the Environment category, it's Diane Burgis, Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed executive director (Oakley); and for Women Contributing to the Arts, Diane Gilfether, Blackhawk Caucus founder/director, will be awarded.

Lori Ogorchock, Antioch's mayor pro tem, nominated Rocha for the award.

"As a community we should acknowledge and thank the women who act unselfishly," she said. "Mary is obviously one of these women. Look at her accomplishments while being not only a wife, mother and politician. Mary shows by her actions by how much she loves Antioch and all of us who live here."


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According to its website, the CCCW was formed to "educate the community and advise the Board of Supervisors and other entities ... on issues relating to the changing social and economic conditions of women in the county, with particular emphasis on the economically disadvantaged."

During the year, the commission makes itself a focal point for women and girls in the area, advises the Board of Supervisors on public issues such as social and economic conditions; offers resources and referrals; advocates on behalf of all females; and organizes and co-sponsors conferences and forums.

Commissioner Phyllis Gordon has been with the group since 1994 and is very "enthusiastic" about the work being done.

The Pittsburg resident is particularly happy about this year's winners.

"The honorees are amazing! They are a varied group of women, many of them started out as, what I call, grass root advocates for change.

"(They saw) things where they could make a difference ... They got up off their sofas and moved forward."

Held every other year, Gordon is passionate about this program.

"By acknowledging these women we give an example of what everyday people/women can do to make a difference to effect positive change. You don't have to be rich or a genius - just motivated."

The awards event will be at 6 p.m. March 24 at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Drive in Concord. Tickets are $75. For more information, visit http://womenscommission.com/projects/purchase.html

Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net

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