For the past 25 years, the City Council, along with the Commission on Status of Women, has recognized women that are changing our City. Today, I was proud to welcome the Commission on Status of Women back to Council Chambers as we recognized Los Angeles’ Pioneer Women who are pioneers in their fields and are impacting their communities.
To begin the event, the Commission on Status of Women’s President Araceli Campos recognized two incredible women I’ve had the privilege to work with: Kay Buck of Cast LA and Kim Kinny of Mt. St. Mary’s University. Kay can often be found reaching out to women and girls that are the victims of human and sex trafficking. Her work at CAST-LA has even brought her to our District for our Night for Light event in North Hills. Similarly, as a leader at one of the finest all women universities in Los Angeles, Kim Kinny is making change for women in our City. Her work is creating the next generation of women scientists and leaders. I am confident both women will continue to be seen in the years to come.
I was proud to recognize my friend and honoree Luz Rivas who runs the nonprofit, DIY Girls. Luz was raised in Pacoima, graduated from San Fernando High School, and was one of the few to make it to M.I.T. where she received a degree in Electrical Engineering. She continued her studies and earned her Masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Technology in Education.
After years of working in technology, she transitioned to STEM education and has worked for Caltech, Center for Children and Technology and Iridescent to design programs to attract more women and underrepresented minorities to STEM fields.
In 2011 she founded DIY Girls to increase girls’ interest and success in technology and engineering and create innovative educational experiences and mentor relationships. Since 2012, DIY Girls has served nearly 400 girls through programs and workshops; 103 5th grade girls have participated in the afterschool programs. Her work brought her to Liggett Elementary in my District.
What I find most appealing about Luz’s program is that she takes young girls, many of whom come from immigrant backgrounds, at a crucial age and exposes them to their own talent in technological fields. It is my hope that thanks to this program, we will see many more young women from not only my District but from other underserved neighborhoods that develop the confidence to embark on careers in science and technology.
With Pioneer women from each District as well as two exceptional women chosen by the Commission on Status of Women for their contributions to their respective fields, it was an exciting opportunity for the next generation to learn about women leading their communities.