Working For Peace, Justice, and A Sustainable Environment

Special Womens' History Month Section: March, 1999

A Modesto Peace/Life Center Publication



Outstanding Women named in Stanislaus County
Women in nonviolent social change: A sampling
Nine Stanislaus County women honored as human rights activists
Women's History Month at Cal State, Stanislaus

Going beyond Connections--Links to other sites

National Women's History Project
Women's History in the National Archives
National Women's Hall of Fame

from San Joaquin Connections:
     Is feminism dead?
     San Joaquin County Commission on the Status of Women
     Appreciate women's rights

Music--A selection for Women's History Month:
     The Womansong Collection by Gerri Gribi

(Click Here to Return to Main March Web Page for Connections)

Outstanding Women named in Stanislaus County

Celebrating its twentieth year, the Stanislaus County Commission for Women again plans a full slate of honorees for Outstanding Women.

At its annual banquet, contemporary women are honored, as well as women of history and outstanding young women (from 16 to 23 years of age.)

This year's celebration will emphasize the history of the Commission. In light of the fact that other County funded commissions for women have perished, the survival of this independent organization is a tribute to the persistence of local women.

As part of this history, articles and pictures of past Outstanding Women will be displayed at the banquet before being given to the McHenry Museum.

The Commission will present the honorees to the community in March during Women's History Month. A dinner will be held at the SOS club on Saturday, March 20, 6 pm. Tickets must be bought in advance (call 524-3987.)

1999's Outstanding Women are:

Women of History

Nina Ribak-Rosenthal As Professor of Education and Coordinator for the Department of Advanced Studies, California State University, Stanislaus, Nina Ribak-Rosenthal pioneered micro-computer and software courses for the education department. After her death she was named a professor emeritus by the university in recognition of her 22 years of service. Dr. Rosenthal helped form the Stanislaus County Havurrah and establish the Orh Tikvah, a reformed synagogue. A woman of "strong convictions," in private life "housekeeping and cooking were low on her priorities," report family members.

Gertie Zehrung Gertie Zehrung of Hughson pioneered agricultural awareness, statewide. She served on the California State Fair Board, helped establish California Women for Agriculture, and served on their state board. She co-chaired the innovative annual Farmers Fair in San Francisco. She served her own community by co-founding Hughson's Annual Fruit and Nut Festival. Zehrung influenced her county by developing Ag in the Classroom activities and by serving on the steering committee for the new county Ag Center and the planned Ag pavilion. "A powerhouse of a woman," Gertie Zehrung also gave countless hours to her children's public schools and the Hughson United Methodist Church.

Outstanding Young Women

•Liliana Alvarez A quiet encourager to other students by example, Ceres High School's Liliana Alvarez can eloquently and with humor express arguments and opinions bilingually on controversial topics. Her recent appearance before the Ceres Unified School District Board of Education on behalf of easing crowded student conditions exemplifies her priorities; as does her classroom presentations on the Constitution and the evolution of women's and minority rights. Her Ceres High School club affiliations include the Hispanic Youth Leadership Council, MECHA (Movimiento Estudiatil Chicano de Aztlan), California Scholarship Federation and National Honor society. Liliana also visits residents of Colony Care Park Facility and is a leader in St. Jude's Catholic Church weekly Youth Group meetings.

Nancy Calder˜n A recent immigrant from Mexico, Nancy Calder˜n is "totally committed to education" at Turlock High School. She has learned English well enough to pass the Advanced Placement exam in United States History. Nancy works in the student store, competes in cross-country, is treasurer for the Hispanic Youth Leadership Council and belongs to eight other Turlock High service and interest clubs. Her community activities include an American Red Cross fund raiser to buy jackets for poor children, distributing Thanksgiving baskets and helping at Julien School Halloween Carnival. Nancy plans a university education.

• Elizabette Guéçamburu Co-founder of the Patterson High School Environmental Awareness Program, Elizabette GuŽamburu is also a math and history tutor, the student member on Patterson High School's accreditation committee, Patterson Leadership Society president, Associated Student Body secretary, and Patterson Girls' Athletics Club Vice President. Elizabette has been guest speaker at Patterson Soroptimist and American Legion meetings and served at the Senior Citizen's Breakfast and the Delta Blood Bank Drive. She represented Patterson High School at Girls State and was one of 60 disabled students attending the Governor's Committee Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities. Additionally, classmates have named her the "Friendliest Girl" in the senior class.

• Katy Lynn Peretti Patterson High School's Katy Lynn Peretti is respected as "an advocate for clean and sober teen living" and for her upbeat personality. A strong communicator with both peers and adults, Katy is a regular visitor to a local rest home where she initiated activities in which the members of the Patterson High School Youth Board participate. She serves as president of the Hutton House board. Additionally, Katy has worked on homeless feeding programs, fund raisers for cancer patients and as a volunteer child care provider. She speaks to teens about drug and alcohol challenges and is a representative for the Western States Youth Services Network. She is a "committed, hardworking young woman" who will "continue to empower young women in her community."

1999 Outstanding Women

• Loretta Murphy Begen The first woman appointed to the Stanislaus County bench, Loretta Begen is a role model. A volunteer for Stanislaus County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, she has served as its vice-president and on numerous sub-committees. Since appointment she has won election to her office and is the first woman Presiding Judge of the Municipal Court. As deputy district attorney Loretta Begen spent many additional hours with domestic violence and sexual assault victims to help them understand procedures and become familiar with safety plans and resources.

Judge Begen worked full-time as a legal secretary while completing her law school education at night. Her service has been recognized by the Modesto 500 Lions Club and the California Legislature.

• Kathliene McClain Decker Kathi Decker is "a living example of giving and sharing" as a Girl Scout Council employee. Her outstanding organizational abilities help her "get the job done in the most efficient manner." She has been an innovator in programs involving all ages and income levels of potential Girl Scout members, a presenter at a national Girl Scout conference, an extraordinary fund raiser for Girl Scout activities, and an ambassador to other community groups on behalf of Girl Scouts. All this, despite Kathi's rheumatoid arthritis. She has received the Soroptimists' Member of the Year award and the Camp Fire Girls Heart award.

• Marjorie E. Fovinci is a past president of the Modesto Branch, American Association of University Women, the Yosemite-Modesto Exchange-ettes and the Modesto Community Concert Association. She was an early supporter for the Equal Rights Amendment. Marjorie is an active member in Modesto League of Women Voters and served as their representative on the Stanislaus County Hazardous Waste Management Committee. She is a past Modesto City School Board member and has participated in local Girl Scout activities. She is also a member of the Sierra Club, the Stanislaus County Commission for Women and Planned Parenthood.

• Lucille Hammer is a role model for young women. Starting as a volunteer bookkeeper for MOCSE in 1959, she worked her way up to CEO/President of a Credit Union that manages investments of $89 million. She has led the way into organizations where historically women have not had a strong role, including Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. She has been active in many community groups that support women, including Soroptimists. Lucille served on the Muir Trail Girl Scout Council Board of Directors, and is past-treasurer. Lucille now serves as Chairwoman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.

• Dr. Marvalene Hughes is the first African-American woman to be President of California State University, Stanislaus. She is a positive model for women's leadership roles which she encourages both personally and professionally. Dr. Hughes is Chair Emeritus for the United Way of Stanislaus County, Chair elect to the Women Presidents of American Assoc. of Colleges and Universities, and Director of Education of the Job Corps Center for Women. She is a member of the Modesto Symphony Board, Habitat for Humanity, The Women's Museum and the Leadership California Board. She was named the National Alumna of the Year of Tuskegee University.

• Kate Lucas Nyegaard is a Modesto City School Board Member and has served as President of the Board. She's an active advocate for Women's Health Services, including serving as Chairwoman for the Stanislaus County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Advisory Committee and a member of the Stanislaus Medical Alliance. She is a member of the Muir Trail Girl Scout Council, Modesto Chamber of Commerce and the Steering Committee for the Downtown Arts Project. Kate never gives up on what she believes in. "Where there is an important need, you'll find Kate Nyegaard."

• Nancy L. Oliva is dedicated to quality health care for all individuals, especially women and children. For the past nine years she has planned and developed rural health clinics in Stanislaus County and throughout northern California. Rural health clinics are needed by the underserved population of which 80% are women and children. Nancy currently works for the Sutter Health Systems as an independent health care consultant. She has been a member of numerous health advisory boards. Nancy has received the Soroptimist International of Oakdale Woman of Distinction Health award and the County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council Community Heroes award.

• Louise Sanders is an intervention advocate for rape and domestic violence victims at the Emergency Dept. of Oak Valley Hospital. She is on call 24 hours a day to be with patients for support and protection. She pioneered the Patient Ombudsman program at Oak Valley Hospital. She has received the Soroptimist International of Oakdale Women Helping Women Award.

• Judith Thorkelson organized the Drug Free Schools effort in Patterson. She was a state preschool teacher for 22 years and currently coordinates the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Grant and the Westside Community Alliance. Judy is Public Policy Chair for the Stanislaus Assoc. for the Education of Young Children and CEO of the Sammy Foundation for violence prevention activities. Judy has served on the Stanislaus County Mental Health Board; also its Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Commission. She is past Chairwoman of Patterson Unified School District's School Site Council. Judy has received the Stanislaus County Bell award, Soroptimist Club Women Helping Women award, the County Points of Light award, and the Sammy Foundation Outstanding Prevention Activities awards.

• Velma Tinkler has always been concerned with the basic human needs of women and children. She is the first woman to chair the InterFaith Ministries Board. Under her leadership the agency has thrived; their food distribution program is stronger than ever. Velma has done professional social work with gangs on the streets of Central and East Los Angeles. She has also served with the Job Corps and the Lanterman Regional Center. She is an active member of the College Avenue Congregational Church where she sings in the choir. Velma has received the Academy of Certified Social Workers award, Soroptimist Woman of the Year Award, and the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award from the Wildlife Care Center.

Women in nonviolent social change: A sampling

Excerpted from Engaging the Powers Nonviolently by Walter Wink.

1350 B.C.(?) The Hebrew midwives commit the first recorded act of civil disobedience by refusing to carry out Pharaoh's order to kill Hebrew babies.

406 B.C.Antigone, by Sophocles, portrays Antigone burying her brother in defiance of the king's command.

388 B.C. Lysistrata, by Aristophanes, depicts women on both sides stopping a war by withholding sex from their husband-soldiers.

47 B.C.In protest of Herod's murder of Erekias and many of his fellow conspirators without due process of law" every day in the temple the mothers of the men who had been murdered begged the king and the people to have Herod brought to judgement" - a tactic employed in our time in Argentina (by the "Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo"), El Salvador, and the Soviet Union,

1818 Hospital laundresses in Valencia, Venezuela, strike in demand for back pay.

1871 Women in Paris block cannon and stand between Prussian and Parisian troops.

1878 Kusunose Kita in Shikoku, Japan, protests having to pay taxes while being denied the vote as a woman.

1892 Ida B. Wells-Barnett leads first a mass boycott and then a mass exodus from Memphis to northern cities to protest lynching and discrimination against blacks. Whole congregations leave the city -- over two thousand people in two months.

Nine Stanislaus County women honored as human rights activists


Lynne Harris, California State University, Stanislaus event and development planning consultant, will speak on "A Solid Foundation: Knowing Oneself First" at the Women's tea honoring nine Stanislaus County women of inspiration Saturday, March 13, 1 - 2:30 p.m. in the King Kennedy Memorial Center, 601 N. Martin Luther King Dr., Modesto.

Honorees selected for their involvement in fostering esteem and respect in others and their commitment to community building include:

• Zena Chin - Chairperson of the Modesto Teachers Association Human Rights Committee.
• Vangie Garza - First local NAACP volunteer human rights attorney and recent law school graduate.
• Senaida Gomez - A founder of Mujeres Latinas de Stanislaus, activist and youth mentor.
• Velma Hicks - NAACP activist dating from the 1960's Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi to the present.
• Maggie Mejia - Hispanic community activist and staff member with Congressman Gary Condit's office.
• Jewel Reed - Retired Beyer High School English teacher known for youth leadership and BHS Black Student Union director.
• Ora Scruggs - Founder, Minority Women's Network; political activist.
• Ruby Walton-Kennedy - Known as "Mother Walton" for her work as obstetrics nurse at Memorial North Hospital in Modesto.
• Helen White - housing authority worker and member of the ZARB Committee.

Keynote speaker Harris, an inspiration in her own right, has published Finally Me, her autobiographical account of how she lost and then regained her identity while being married to former San Francisco 49er William "Bubba" Paris. She also is the mother of six and does events and development planning for the Calvary Temple Christian School high school program.

ACTION: The tea, sponsored by the local NAACP, the King Kennedy Women's Auxiliary and the City of Modesto, is open to the public. An advance $6 donation can be made at the Aztlan Bookstore, 907 10th St., Gottschalk's in Century Center, Orangeburg and Oakdale or by calling the NAACP at 549-1991. No donations will be taken at the door.

Women's History Month at CSUS

All of the following events will be held on the California State Univeristy , Stanislaus Turlock campus , 801 W. Monte Vista Avenue, unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, March 1

"Domestic Violence"
Speakers: The Haven Women's Shelter
Brown Bag Lunch
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
South Dining Room

Wednesday, March 3

"Female Sexuality"
Speakers: Dr. Lin Myers, CSUS
Stanislaus County Aids Project
Brown Bag Lunch
11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
South Dining Room

Wednesday, March 10

Wild Woman Week
Music, Poetry
Come dressed as your favorite wild woman
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 11

Reopening of Women's Center
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Student Union


Magdalin HSU-Li
Musical Performance
7:30 p.m.
Professional Buidling 167

Saturday, March 13

"Women and Whole (Physical, Mental, Spiritual) Health" Panel: 3 Journeys to Whole Health"
Heather Evelyn Mayne, Ph.D. Assistant Provost, UOP
Alexine C. Jackson, M.A., National President, YWCA of USA.
Audrey Forbes Manley, M.D., M.P.H., President Spelman College and Former Acting Surgeon General of the US
9:00 a.m.
Multi-Campus Regional Center (MCRC), Stockton


Mujeres Latinas Conference
8:00 a.m.
Classroom Building


Dr. Vicki Ruiz, Arizona State University
Professional Building

For information contact Nancy Taniguichi X3238

Tuesday, March 16

"Holistic-Alternative Medicine"
Speaker: Dr. Teresa Chin
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
South Dining Room
Refreshments Provided

Wednesday, March 17 (tentative)

Tai Chi Demonstration
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

March 24 to 26 (tentative)

Profiles of Women
Phi Lambda Rho

Friday, April 2

Cherrie Moraga, Stanford
Poet, Lecturer, Activist
Book Signing
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 pm
Event Center

ACTION: For more information, call Linda Apodeca at 667-3238.

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