On Thursday August 20th, ACSS leaders were invited to attend a public hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Girls & Women of Color, chaired by Nora Campos (AD27) and Cheryl Brown (AD47) in San Jose. The hearing was held to discuss what issues impact the lives of women and girls of color and their families and what factors promote or limit their success.
ACSS President Frank Ruffino and Deborah Smith, Secretary/Treasurer of Chapter 505 (Office Chief of the Division of External Affairs of CA), were invited to provide input and testimony on the subject. In her public comment, Deborah Smith discussed her upbringing among strong, supportive women in her family and how they taught her self-worth, hard work ethics, and to strive for success. In discussing the value of a strong support system, Smith said, “When girls see someone like them achieve greatness, they become believers that they too can become great. Cultivating the ability to believe in oneself is the first step to success.”
Frank Ruffino also shared his thoughts on the subject by saying, “Opportunities like this public hearing allow for diverse groups to come together benefit from each other’s progress and success stories. Diversity makes us stronger. Women and girls of color have made tremendous progress, however, gender parity is still a challenge, particularly in the areas of economic opportunity and leadership.”
Ruffino also shared with the committee examples of ACSS’ leadership and compassion in diversity, women’s issues, poverty, domestic violence and other issues affecting women and girls. With more than half of ACSS’ leadership positions being held by women, President Ruffino emphasized the fact that ACSS is an organization that continues to take the lead on issues affecting women such as diversity and opportunity. Ruffino concluded his comments by saying, “Work still needs to be done so that all members of society have equal access to opportunities and resources.”
ACSS continues to support women’s issues and continue to exemplify diversity and leadership within the state workforce. ACSS looks forward to working with the legislature and the public in addressing important issues such as this.