Mosqueda among UW honorees for work on gender equity


(March 9, 2015) — On the eve of International Women’s Day, my daughter Danica and I attended the 2015 Women of Courage/Daring to Lead Gala put on by the University of Washington’s Women’s Center. One of this year’s honorees was Teresa Mosqueda, Government Affairs Director of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

The mission of the UW’s Women’s Center is “to promote and advocate for gender equity and social justice on campus and in the larger community through educational programs and services that allow all individuals to nurture an equitable, inclusive, and compassionate society. Women’s rights are human rights. We envision a society where women and men work together to transform social norms.”

Sutapa Basu, Executive Director of the Women’s Center, has put together an amazing program, creating a safe place for students from all walks of life to receive educational services, mentoring, leadership training and the skills to advocate against domestic violence and human trafficking.

The center also does work in our high schools through their Making Connections program, which is focused on increasing college enrollment and career interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for high school girls from low-income, first-generation college families. One hundred percent of 2014’s graduating class went on to attend college. Over the past five years the demographics for the Making Connections participants were: 96% students of color; 77% eligible for free and reduced lunches; 75% first-generation college students; and 83% fluent in two or more languages. Truly an exceptional program, no matter how you measure it.

Last Saturday’s event honored nine Women of Courage and one Man of Integrity who have a made a difference in making a world a better place in which to live through their work and through their character. One of these leaders was Teresa Mosqueda.

Those of you who know Teresa know that she brings a passion for social and economic justice to everything that she does. She is an articulate and fierce advocate for health care for all and, as a member of Washington State’s Health Care Exchange Board, she continuously forces a somewhat reticent and timid Exchange management to live up to the commitment of the Affordable Care Act to make sure that low income families get the best health care coverage available to them.

For those of you who don’t know Teresa, here is what was printed in the event brochure:

Teresa Mosqueda has dedicated her life’s work to eradicating poverty, addressing health disparities and ending inequity. Born in Olympia, Teresa is the Government Affairs Director for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO and serves as the Chair of the Healthy Washington Coalition, the state’s largest health care advocacy group. Teresa is also a Governor appointee to the Washington Heath Benefit Exchange Board, representing workers and (consumers) in Washington State and the Healthy Washington Coalition.

Teresa represents the Labor Council on the Washington State Unemployment Insurance Advisory Committee, the UW Women’s Center Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, and works with affiliates and community partners on the Stop Wage Theft Coalition and the Farm Worker Coalition…

Teresa’s work began by advancing health and social justice policies with the Sea Mar Health Care Centers where she served as Latino Senior program manager and has continued through today … lobbying to advance policies to protect children’s health, access to education and food, and against the consequences of poverty and (policies to advance the cause of broadly shared prosperity), and so much more.

Congratulations to Teresa Mosqueda and the other nominees for the Women of Courage/Dare to Lead 2015 Award Ceremony. And importantly let’s all think about ways that we can individually and organizationally work towards gender equity and social justice.

Jeff Johnson is President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization in the Evergreen State, representing the interests of more than 500 local unions and 400,000 rank-and-file union members.

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