San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame to induct four honorees

San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame to induct four honorees

in Community/Featured/Headline

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, according to the Commission on the Status of Women.

The honorees, who will be inducted March 7 following RISE 2020, the Women’s Leadership Conference at Skyline College in San Bruno, include (as described by the County):

Dr. Belinda Hernandez Arriaga (above photo on left), an assistant professor at the University of San Francisco (USF) and  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 (above photo on right), 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 (left) and Sarah Pistorino

Celine (Huijia) Wen, a junior at Aragon High School who 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, who 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.

“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 San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame was established by the Commission on the Status of Women in 1984 to recognize outstanding women for their contributions to the well-being of San Mateo County.  In 1992, a second category, “Young Women of Excellence,” was added to the Women’s Hall of Fame to honor accomplished high school juniors or seniors or the equivalent.

For more information on the accomplishments of the honorees, go here.