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PR- 066-04
March 24, 2004


Honoring Eleven Women Exemplifying this Year's Theme: 'Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility'

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Commission on Women's Issues, in partnership with Lifetime Television and the National Women's History Project, today hosted a reception at Gracie Mansion to celebrate Women's History Month.  This year's event is dedicated to honoring "Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility," a project of Lifetime Television and the National Women's History Project.  The Mayor acknowledged eight national honorees selected by the National Women's History Project and three New York City honorees, selected by the Commission.

"I am pleased to welcome the National Women's History Project to Gracie Mansion and congratulate tonight's honorees," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "This is the first year that the Project has come to New York City and there's no better place than New York, a City that has always been known for its hope and possibility for women and men of all races, ethnicities and beliefs."

"We are proud to be here with the Mayor, with the National Women's History Project and with Lifetime Television in recognizing the contributions of extraordinary women both from across the Country as well as from New York City," said Chair of the Commission on Women's Issues Anne Sutherland Fuchs. "Each of tonight's honorees exemplifies this years' Women's History Month theme."

The Commission also announced the launch of its website and a public service campaign.  The site, which can be accessed through, provides a wonderful resource of information and support for women of New York City.  The public service campaign, developed for the Commission by Estee Lauder, contains the theme of  "New York Loves Women" and will be used to further emphasize the services available for women in New York City.

The National Women's History Project is an educational nonprofit organization.  Their mission is to recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing information and educational materials and programs. Every year, the National Women's History Project chooses women to honor who best represent the theme of that year and honor them at a ceremony. 

The Commission on Women's Issues was established by Mayoral Executive Order in 1975 as an advisory body to the Mayor on matters impacting the lives of women in New York City.

The Women's Liaisons Committee serves as a source of resources and substantive knowledge to the Commission's four Committees: Health, Childcare, Economic Development and Research and ensures that City agencies provide special attention to meeting the goals of the Commission within City government.  The Committee consists of a senior staff representative from each of the city's agencies appointed by the Agency-Head to a two-year term.

This is year's honorees include:

Lilliam Barrios-Paoli who is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer for Agency Services of the United Way of New York City, a nonprofit fundraising organization that distributes over $88 million annually to New York City nonprofit agencies.  She formally served as the Executive Director of Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center and is devoted to helping New Yorkers who are less fortunate.  She served New York City as Commissioner of several City agencies in both the Koch and Giuliani Administrations.  Ms. Barrios-Paoli has a strong commitment to education and has taught at the City University, Bank Street College of Education, Rutgers University and Montclair State College. 

Amalia Betanzos is the founder and President of Wildcat Service Corporation and since 1972 has dedicated her life to helping others. She helps the chronically unemployed, ex-offenders, public assistance recipients, former alcohol and substance abusers, high school dropouts, youth involved with the criminal justice system and persons with limited English language proficiency break into the workforce.  Previously she served as the chair of the Commission on the Status of Women in the Giuliani administration and in a variety of positions in the Lindsay, Beame and Koch Administrations.  She continues to be a member of various non-profit boards. 

Sarah Buel, a domestic violence activist and attorney, and educator, escaped the brutality of domestic violence in her own life. For almost three decades she has been an impassioned advocate for the legal rights of battered women, abused children. Believing that becoming an attorney would give her the best vehicle to advocate for battered women and their children, she graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and now runs a legal clinic for battered women. She is also co-founder and co-director of the National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Edna Campbell is a breast cancer survivor and professional basketball player with the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs. She travels throughout the country as a spokesperson for breast cancer awareness, encouraging all women to do regular breast exams and inspiring those with cancer to have hope and courage in challenging the disease. She uses these opportunities to recognize other survivors and to raise money for breast cancer research.

Jill Ker Conway is an educator, writer, and historian.  As the first female president of Smith College, Conway's unrelenting belief in a set of values that have the power to take root in people and institutions have inspired new possibilities for generations of women. Her study of her own life, public role, and intellectual development give voice and form to the leadership, scholarship, and success of a woman's education.

Marian Wright Edelman is a children rights advocate and civil rights activist. As a lawyer, civil rights activist, and founder of the Children's Defense Fund, she provides a strong voice for those who have been denied the power to speak for themselves. Her work sustains the hope that comes with access to quality health care, immunizations, nutritious food, and educational opportunities.

Joanne Jaffe is the highest-ranking female officer in NYPD History.  Chief Jaffe began her career on patrol in various precincts and rose through the ranks of the NYPD during 25 years of an outstanding public service career.  She demonstrated incredible courage by working in the Narcotics Division and the Street Crime unit. Chief Jaffe earned a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College.  She is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy. 

Maxine Hong Kingston is an acclaimed writer and poet who uses the rich cultural images and traditions of her Chinese ancestry in her melodious and poetic story telling.  She often combines autobiography and fiction and uses dreams and memory, myth and desire to investigate and discover the fullness of one's power. She feels the process of storytelling can both heal and expand the human spirit.

Susan Love is a founder of the breast cancer advocacy movement. She co-founded the National Breast Cancer Coalition bringing more than 200 organizations and thousands of individual members devoted to obtaining input from breast cancer advocates as well as federal funding for research. As a surgeon and author, she has inspired generations of physicians to listen to their patents and to use the least intrusive procedures.

Leslie Marmon Silko is an acclaimed storyteller, poet, and writer. She credits her Laguna heritage with everything that makes her a writer.  Her love for storytelling began as a child when she would listen to the stories of her great-grandmother. For her, storytelling is more than oral history, storytelling is a ceremony that links the mythical deities and the people themselves creating hope, purpose, and survival.

Vilma Martinez is a civil rights attorney and community activist.  Knowing the importance of the securing and protecting the rights of all people, Vilma Martinez, served nine years as President and General Council of the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDF). Her work in education, community development, and employment litigation demonstrates that hope can create unimagined possibilities.


Ed Skyler/Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

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