Monday morning was my third 6:30 am start for an event beginning at 7am and it was the BEST event for me. The morning started with a catch up on the world. You get so caught up with the conference that you forget to tune into the world. I read the complimentary New York Times that was outside my door and had a cup of coffee while I waited for the SWPA Breakfast set up.
Once we were in the room the chaos started, but it was good work. The screen was up and Caneka McNeil, ASPA’s Communications Specialist assisted with running the powerpoint presentation I put together to honor our members who have passed on this year. Then we had breakfast, gave out our awards and listened to our keynote speaker, Madison Nguyen, Councilwoman for the City of San Jose, District 7.
In September 2005 at the age of 33, she received 63% of the votes to become the first Vietnamese American and youngest woman to serve on the San Jose Council. Her story of immigration as a refugee with her entire family and her trials as a farm worker, student activist and tribulations as a successful professor and now political leader were inspirational. She is AMAZING and her story is just what we needed to hear during this most difficult time in our history. Life goes on and through it all our faith will get us through. The breakfast ended with the induction of the new officers. I was able to give a few words as the incoming Chair of the SWPA Board. It was an honor to stand before this distinctive group of women and thank them for the opportunity to serve as the first African American Chair of the section. There were many people to thank and I hope I did well by honoring them. Now onto the hard work – the actual work as a Chair. Follow us on Facebook and our website.
The day was quiet. My uncle, my mom’s brother was able to join me here at the hotel. He came for the SWPA breakfast and then joined me for a few hours. Later, I attended some sessions on Health Care, City Management and Social Equity. They were all very informative and I look forward to using some of the material in my work as an Advocate back in D.C.
This year’s Awards Ceremony was another good event. My uncle returned to watch me receive my second President Citation Award this year from Paul Posner. The award was for the work that SIG # 3, “Build the Future,” conducted with obtaining a Student Member on the National Council. It has been a pleasure working with Paul and learning about public service from such a great mentor. His leadership will last a long time through the work he has done.
The evening was full of receptions – a few included RU ‘s International Reception and a reception sponsored by USC for Chet Newland. Paul honored Chet at the awards ceremony, not only did Chet receive an award, but he was honored with having the President Citation award named after him – it will now be known as the Chet Newland award. He has long been a voice that made sure ASPA honored its leaders, scholars and members as they should be rewarded for their great work. Chet is a dear friend and I am honored to know him.
Until my next entry….Dara