On Monday afternoon, Supervisor Kuehl honored the Woman of the Year for the Third District, Doreena Wong
For 40 years, Doreena has fought for equality for the Asian Pacific Islander communities, especial for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in those groups. She has championed women’s rights and civil rights, and was out of the closet at a time when there were few role models for lesbians of color and in particular for Asian American lesbians.
In the 1980’s, she was a volunteer and served on the Board of Directors of the Lyon-Martin Clinic in SF,o the first community clinic in the US to serve lesbians.
She went on to co-found API Equality, California’s pre-eminent API LGBT organization which worked tirelessly for equality and especially to win support for marriage equality for same-sex couples within API communities in California. API Equality’s brilliant work against the anti-marriage measure, Prop 8, in 2008, succeeded in the securing the communities’ strong opposition at the polls – a little-told but remarkable story.
Doreena served on the Board of Directors of Asians and Pacific Islanders for Reproductive Health (APIRH), the starting point for a remarkable organization called “Khmer Girls in Action” (KGA), a Cambodian young women’s reproductive health and empowerment project.
She was also one of many co-founding sisters of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum in Beijing in 1995 and helped plan its first national conference in Los Angeles in September 1996.
As an attorney, she has worked on behalf of women’s and civil rights at several public interest organizations, including the Asian Law Caucus, the ACLU of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, the National Women’s Law Center in D.C., and an L.A. civil rights firm specializing in the enforcement of consent decrees in race discrimination cases.
Today she serves as the Project Director for Advancing Justice – LA’s Health Access Project using outreach, education, and advocacy to increase health access and reduce health disparities. She is happily (and legally) married for many years to another national social justice treasure, Lambda Legal lawyer Jenny Pizer.
Despite decades of award-deserving work, it took some coaxing to get the famously humble Wong to agree to accept the award, and her friends and family traveled from San Francisco and Texas to join co-workers and friends (with signs!) to be on hand when she finally did.
She is the most humble, super-accomplished woman I’ve ever known… I had to talk her into letting me honor her today,” Kuehl said. “Join me in recognizing the remarkable accomplishments of the ever-modest, nonstop activist for over 40 years of advancing women’s, LGBT and human rights, Doreena P. Wong.”