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Women's Museum of California

Preserving the Past, Inspiring the Future


What is the event about?

The Annual San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception honors women who have positively impacted San Diego County and the people who live here.  Nominated by the community, six women will be recognized for their achievements and inducted into the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame on Sunday, March 5th at 2:30 P.M. at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center Celebration Room located at 404 Euclid Ave, San Diego, CA 92114  


The honorees chosen represent and reflect the full depth of the diversity of San Diego
County. "The inductees selflessly dedicated themselves to improving the lives of
women, children, and families and created a powerful impact within San Diego
communities," says Event Chair Moriah Gonzalez-Meeks.

Awards are granted on the basis of values, empowerment, activism, trailblazing,
cultural competency, and historical preservation. The six selected for induction this
year are:

TRAILBLAZER Hon. Irma Gonzalez was the first Mexican American woman to be a
federal judge. She was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern
District of California in 1992 and served as Chief Judge from 2005 to 2012. Prior to
her appointment to the federal bench, Judge Gonzalez also worked as an assistant
U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Prosecution division for the District of Arizona and in Los
Angeles, as well as an attorney in private practice. She later served as a U.S.
Magistrate judge and a San Diego County Superior Court judge. She retired in 2013
after an almost 30-year judicial career.

ACTIVIST Lilia Velasquez is an attorney who assists immigrants, refugees, asylees,
and in particular, undocumented women struggling with domestic violence, sexual
abuse, and prostitution. As an attorney, she has been a tireless activist for the most
vulnerable in our society. Velasquez moved to the United States at age nineteen, and
received her degree in Social Work from San Diego State University. As a social
worker, she witnessed the power of the law in helping people. Velasquez went back
to school and received her law degree from California Western School of Law.
Velasquez frequently makes appearances as an immigration expert on NPR, KPBS,
and other media sources.

EMPOWERER Joyce Nower (1932-2010) was a founding member of the Ad Hoc
Committee for Women's Studies at San Diego State University and thus co-founder
of the first Women's Studies program in the United States. Nower was also a cofounder
of the community-based Center for Women's Studies and Services, which
was the first Women's Center in Southern California. Today, The Center is the largest
provider of prevention and intervention services in San Diego County for survivors of
domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Nower earned her B.A. from
Middlebury College, her M.A. from Harvard University, and her Ph.D. from The Union
Institute and University, Cincinnati.

EMPOWERER Carol Rowell Council, at age 21, co-founded the Ad Hoc Committee
for Women's Studies at San Diego State University (1969) which then became the
first Women's Studies program in the United States. Her interest in feminism grew
from her participation in antiwar and student rights movements. In 1972 she helped
found the Center for Women's Studies and Services (now the Center for Community
Solutions), where she was the director for 20 years. Carol Rowell Council has a B.A.
in Public Administration from San Diego State University, and an M.F.A. in Art History
from Rosary College VIlla Schifanoia in Florence, Italy.

BRIDGE BUILDER Dilkhwaz Ahmed is an immigrant women's rights activist from
the Kurdistan region of Iraq. She served as the Executive Director of the Nawa
Center, a shelter for abused women in Sulaimanya, Iraq where she provided
counseling and support to victims of domestic violence. She coordinated a program
in the women's jail, helping women transition to a life in prison and to gain the skills
necessary to survive. In 2002, Ahmed was granted asylum in the United States, and
settled in San Diego. Since 2003, Ahmed worked at License to Freedom, where she
has helped more than 3,000 adult survivors and child victims of domestic violence.

HISTORIAN Darlene Davies has been involved in recording the history of San Diego
for many decades. She volunteers her time and skills as the Official Historian of the
Old Globe in Balboa Park, volunteers and supports the San Diego History Center,
and has written the history on the San Diego County Commission on the Status of
Women. For Davies, researching and recording history is a responsibility and
service she takes on with the utmost care. Davies earned her Master's Degree in
Speech-Language Pathology and worked professionally as therapist and professor.