Garamendi honors 3 Antioch residents at 11th Annual Women of the Year Awards

Tamisha Torres-Walker, Velma Wilson and Anjali Rimi were honored by Rep. Garamendi during the annual ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. Photos courtesy of Office of Rep. John Garamendi.

Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker, community leader Velma Wilson and transgender immigrant Anjali Rimi among 20 from Contra Costa County, including District Attorney Diana Becton, and 33 from Solano County honored

BENICIA, CA – Today, Thursday, October 12, 2023, at his 11th annual Women of the Year event, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) honored 53 women from the 8th Congressional District of California who are leaders and visionaries in their communities. These honorees have all made significant contributions to society through public service, business, education, and local economy.

“Every year I have the honor of recognizing the achievements and service of distinguished women in my district,” Garamendi said.“These leaders come from a variety of backgrounds, but every one of them has made a real difference to their communities and the people around them. It’s a privilege to be able to honor them.”

“The service and dedication each honoree has shown their community is deserving of recognition, and by receiving this award, their work will be commemorated and chronicled at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC,” Garamendi said.

As previously reported, Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker was honored, along with community leader Velma Wilson and transgender resident Anjali Rimi. Contra Costa DA Diana Becton was also among the 20 women from Contra Costa County and 33 from Solano County honored during today’s ceremony.

The list of 2023 Women of the Year Honorees included:

Contra Costa County:

Anjali Rimi (Antioch)

Anjali is a dedicated leader, activist, and community member. As a transgender immigrant from South Asia, Anjali has overcome many challenges while continuing to give back to her communities.

As one of the co-founders of Parivar Bay Area, Anjali has transformed the services for transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex immigrants from the Global South.

Parivar Bay Area emerged from earlier grassroots organizing, including a project that redistributed almost one million dollars’ worth of food, housing funds, and livelihood grants for transgender South Asians to open their own businesses.

In addition to her work globally, Anjali is deeply involved in LGBTQ+ activism in the Bay Area, through fundraisers, arts and cultural showcases, and social support group meetings. She was the first South Asian transgender person to be recognized for her LGBTQ+ activism in the California Legislature and has also received recognition from former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Anjali has accomplished all of this while remaining a kind and patient person and serving as an inspiration to others for her dedication to serving her community and improving the status of marginalized groups. (Note: She was not included in the video and may not have attended the event).

Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker (Antioch – District 1)

Torres-Walker with Garamendi at the ceremony. Video screenshot.

Tamisha is a dedicated and passionate leader who has touched the lives of countless members in her community.

Tamisha proudly represents her home as Mayor Pro Tempore of Antioch while simultaneously working as Executive Director of the Safe Return Project. Since joining the Antioch City Council in 2020, Tamisha has played an instrumental role in creating city programs to reduce gun violence, reduce oil and gas projects in her city, and implement a rent stabilization program to benefit those who are currently unhoused.

Tamisha has also demonstrated a commitment to protecting formerly incarcerated individuals by helping found the Safe Return Project. Throughout her time with the organization, Tamisha has helped thousands of residents of Contra Costa County effectively transition out of the prison system and into meaningful and successful lives.

Tamisha’s unwavering devotion to her community is clearly shown through her outstanding leadership on the Antioch City Council and her unyielding dedication to protecting those impacted by the criminal justice system.

Rep. Garamendi with Velma Wilson following the ceremony. Photo courtesy of Velma Wilson.

Velma Wilson (Antioch)

Velma is a dedicated parent and passionate community member who finds every opportunity to help others.

Velma Wilson is honored by Congressman Garamendi on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. Video screenshot.

Velma currently serves as Executive Vice President of the District Parent Teacher Association for Contra Costa, engaging with parents, teachers, and community members to promote the wellbeing of schoolchildren. For her efforts, Velma was awarded the prestigious National President Award.

Velma also serves as Parent Liaison for Antioch Unified School District, ensuring parents are informed and involved in their children’s education. Velma is also Director of the Delta Veterans Group and holds executive positions at the Celebrate Antioch Foundation and Antioch Schools Education Foundation.

Her variety of volunteer pursuits demonstrate her dedication to providing resources to all parts of our community. Velma gives generously of her knowledge, expertise, and time to helping others.

She was nominated by Antioch School Board President and Area 3Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis.

Diana Becton. Source: Office of Rep. Garamendi

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton (Martinez)

Diana Becton has been Contra Costa County’s District Attorney since 2017. Diana is the first woman, African American, and woman of color to serve in the role since its creation in 1850.

For 22 years Diana, served as a judge in Contra Costa County where she was elected and became resident of the National Association of Women Judges.

She is known not only for upholding the law and holding people accountable, but also for striving to improve Contra Costa County’s judicial system by focusing on disrupting the school to prison pipeline, creating safe

CCDA Diana Becton receives her plaque from Rep. Garamendi. Video screenshot.

alternatives for low-level non-violent offenders and addressing the mental health needs of our community. he created the Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force to create alternatives to juvenile hall for young offenders and has made efforts to curb racial bias in her department by partnering with the non-profit Vera Institute of Justice to evaluate her office’s decision making.

Diana’s accomplishments in the judiciary are too enumerable and impressive to list briefly as she is truly a pillar of her community and a true exemplary of the excellence found in our district. Diana, far from doing business as usual, has aimed to fundamentally change many aspects of our often harsh criminal justice system to decrease bias and fulfill its duty to serve justice.

Other Honorees from Contra Costa County:

Alissa Stolz (El Cerrito)                              

Audrey Cormier (Richmond)

Betty Reid Soskin (Richmond)

West County Wastewater District Board President Cheryl Sudduth (Richmond)

City Councilwoman Claudia Jimenez (Richmond – District 6)

Municipal Advisory Committee Chair Debra Mason (Bay Point)

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton (Martinez)

Eleanor Thompson (Richmond)

Janet Scoll Johnson (Richmond)

Contra Costa College President Kimberly Rogers (San Pablo)

Marinda Elaine Keith (Richmond)

Rose Akoro (Bay Point)

Ruthie Dineen (Richmond)

Sylvia Serrano (Hercules)

Katrinka Ruk (Richmond)

State Senator Nancy Skinner (Oakland – who represents portions of Western Contra Costa County in the 9th District)

Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (Oakland – who represents portions of Western Contra Costa County in the 14th District)

You can view photos and biographies of all of this year’s honorees here.

A video of the event can be found here.

A legislative update that was shared at the event is available here.

Garamendi serves California’s 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives which includes portions of Solano and Contra Costa counties, including the northern area of Antioch.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

the attachments to this post:

DBecton & Garemendi 10-11-23

Velma Wilson & Garamendi 10-12-23

Tamisha Torres-Walker & Garamendi 10-12-23

Diana Becton

Garamendi & Velma Wilson 10-12-23

Tamisha Torres-Walker, Velma Wilson & Anjali Rimi

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