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The Commission on the Status of Women is proud to announce that two honorees and two “Young Women of Excellence” will be inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame on March 7 immediately following RISE 2020, the Women’s Leadership Conference.  

A federal court judge, a professor and immigrant advocate, a long-time youth commissioner and a teen advocate/volunteer will be inducted into the 2020 San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame, the County's premier showcase for women who make a difference every day in our community. Biographical information of each winner is attached to this release.

"It is an honor and privilege of the Commission on the Status of Women to recognize the contributions and achievements of these exceptional women and youth,” said Commission President Nirmala Bandrapalli. “The Women's Hall of Fame is a reminder of the extraordinary value and depth of talent and generosity women bring to our county communities every day of the year.”

The award ceremony will be held at 4:15 p.m. March 7 at Skyline College, 3300 College Drive in San Bruno.

This year’s event is proud to recognize its sponsors – Gilead Sciences, Peninsula Health Care District, Skyline College, Accenture and Kaiser Permanente. Please email cswinfo@smcgov.org for more information about sponsorship or program advertising.

For information about the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, please email the Commission on the Status of Women at cswinfo@smcgov.org. Information about RISE 2020, Women’s Leadership Conference is at smcwomenlead.org. A list of past inductees is also available on the website csw.smcgov.org/honorees. Tickets may be purchased at www.eventbrite.com/e/rise-2020-womens-leadership-conference-womens-hall-of-fame-registration-74746437607

About the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame

In 1984, the Commission on the Status of Women established a permanent Women’s Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding women for their contributions to the well-being of San Mateo County. Impartial judges selected from outside the county read the numerous nominations with names redacted to ensure a fair and unbiased process, before selecting the finalists. The women are honored for their outstanding contributions to their profession, their generous work as volunteers, or both.

In 1992, a second category, “Young Women of Excellence,” was added to the Women’s Hall of Fame. Nominees must be high school juniors or seniors or the equivalent. The award aims to give visibility to young women’s accomplishments in community service, academic achievement and acts of courage in their daily lives.

About the 2020 Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees

The information below briefly summarizes highlights of their achievements; additional information about their many contributions and photos are readily available.

Dr. Belinda Hernandez Arriaga is an assistant professor at the University of San Francisco (USF) and she is founder/executive director of Ayudando Latinos A Soñar (ALAS), a Latino cultural arts, education, mental health and social justice program dedicated to working with rural youth and families living on the coastside. Belinda is a graduate from USF with a doctorate in education and master’s in social work. Belinda has done extensive work with farmworker families and their children, her mental health practice is focused on immigration trauma, u-visas, asylum and her current research prioritizes understanding the emotional, psychological and traumatic experiences that impact undocumented and mixed status Latino youth. A significant part of her work is dedicated to the cultural arts as part of cultural connections for healing. Belinda is committed to social justice advocacy, equity and human rights. She and her husband have three young daughters and live in Half Moon Bay.

Judge Beth Labson Freeman is a judge on the Federal Court in the Northern District of California, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2014. Judge Freeman sits in the San Jose Division, hearing a broad array of cases including antitrust, civil rights, consumer class actions, commercial litigation and technology cases including patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret cases. She serves on the Northern District’s patent local rules and jury instruction committees. Beth previously was a superior court judge in San Mateo County, CA from 2001-2014. She served as presiding judge and assistant presiding judge of the San Mateo Court. Prior to her appointment to the bench in 2001, Beth was a deputy county counsel in San Mateo County and an associate attorney at Lasky, Haas and Cohler in San Francisco and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and University of California, Berkeley.

Celine (Huijia) Wen, a Junior at Aragon High School, immigrated from China in 2016 and lives in San Mateo. In 2017 she founded Women of the World Club in her school because of her interest and passion to help women, especially homeless women in the Bay Area. The club collects donations through bake sales, farmer’s markets, and collaborations with organizations like Happy Period and Saint Bartholomew’s Church. Funds collected during every three-month period are used to purchase hygiene products for homeless women. Outside of school, Celine volunteers at Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN), teaching autistic children arts and crafts every other week for the last three years and was awarded Best Volunteer of the Year in 2018. Celine is a varsity tennis and badminton player at Aragon. While working hard in school, she continuously encourages herself to give back to society and help the underprivileged.

Sarah Pistorino joined the San Mateo County Youth Commission in 2016 as a freshman at Sacred Heart Preparatory High School and currently serves as chair. She is a founding member of the SafeSpace Youth Advisory Board, an organization that provides resources to youth around mental health, referral to services, on-site counseling and communities where youth can connect and share their stories. With her work on the Youth Commission she has shown leadership with her fellow commission members and has worked closely with County Supervisor Carole Groom on projects such as the development of the County’s Social Host Ordinance and cannabis health education campaign, Decoded. Sarah lives in Menlo Park and is looking forward to continuing her development in higher education this coming fall.

About the Commission on the Status of Women

The Commission on the Status of Women is a non-partisan advisory body to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors that seeks to improve the quality of life for women of all ages in San Mateo County. Through strategic partnerships and collaboration, the commission identifies women's needs, advises the board of supervisors, and educates the community on matters concerning women. More information is available at csw.smcgov.org.