In honor of Pride Month, Assemblymember Alex Lee is recognizing and honoring 5 local leaders and activists and highlight the work they've done in our community:
Anjali is a woman of Transgender, Kinnar Southasian, Immigrant, and Hinduism experiences. Known for her unapologetic Trans advocacy, Anjali holds an MBA and is actively striving for many social justice causes. Anjali Rimi is the co-founder of ParivarBayArea, America’s only Transgender-led, Transgender-centering South Asian organization.
She also serves on the boards of:
- Lyon Martin Health Services
- LGBT Asylum Project
- San Francisco Pride
- Transgender Advisory Committee with the Office of Transgender Initiatives, San Francisco Mayor’s office.
She also serves as an advisor to GLBTQ+ Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA) & San Francisco Queer Film Festival & Sewa International for Transgender visibility and co-chairs the QTAPI Coalition of America. A performer and artist, she upholds her passion for arts by creating many spaces.
Anna Woods (she/her)
Anna Woods has spent 28 years as a high school teacher, beginning with teaching English and then after 16 years, moving to the position of Drama teacher and theatre director for the last 12 years.
Anna chose to teach high school because she wanted to inspire teens to see the power that words can have while pushing all students to discover the best inside themselves. During the pandemic, Anna continued to reach out to students and organized bingo and movie nights so students could stay in touch with their peers and not fall into isolation. As a member of the LGBTQ+ Community, she created space in her classroom for students to openly express themselves and offers a helpful hand and consistent presence for young people who may not have been accepted for who they are.
Maureen Heath (she/her)
After retiring from the practice of law after 31 years, Maureen shifted to advocate on behalf of seniors and the most vulnerable on the county and state levels. She was appointed to the Advisory Council for Sourcewise in 2016 (Area Agency on Aging) and will assume the position of Chair in August. She is on the Santa Clara County Senior Care Commission and is ending her term this month as the Vice Chair. On the state level, she is advocating for bills that help improve the lives of seniors as a Senior Senator with the California Senior Legislature.
In San Jose, Maureen has been on the Board of Directors of BAYMEC for almost 5 years, where she lobbies and fights for LGBTQ+ civil rights. Maureen was also on the Advisory Board for Queer Silicon Valley for the planning of the History San Jose exhibit where she contributed insight on the history of the LGBTQ+ community in San Jose.
Justher Gutierrez (she/her)
Justher Gutierrez is the local coordinator for Malaya Movement South Bay, a grassroots organization dedicated to fighting for human rights, sovereignty, and democracy in the Philippines. First launched in 2018, Malaya Movement has hosted speaking tours, workshops, and rallies to help raise awareness of the current human rights issues facing the Philippines, from the drug war to increased militarization of indigenous communities to the targeting of journalists, lawyers, and human rights defenders. Malaya Movement is currently engaged in a legislative campaign to stop US funding of human rights violations in the Philippines through the passage of the Philippine Human Rights Act in US Congress.
Dr. Rachel Cheng (they/them)
Rachel K. Cheng, Ph.D. (they/them) is a historian and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, they are passionate about the rights, safety, and equality of all folx. They strongly believe every story should have a platform to be shared with the world. They are the Vice Chair of the GLBTQ+ Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA), an organization that has been a vanguard for the queer API community in the Bay Area for three decades.
Re-watch the ceremony: https://www.facebook.com/100034850336212/videos/568712171521907