Women’s History Month: Oregon Edition

Mari's Memo

March 2022 – Happy Women’s History Month. The month of March is a time to reflect and celebrate the contributions women have made throughout history in the United States. Unfortunately, history has oftentimes overlooked and undervalued women who have made great strides in culture, society, and across various industries. Women’s History Month allows everyone the opportunity to give these women, especially women of color, the recognition that they rightfully deserve. Not only do we learn more about women in history, but we inspire the youth of today to continue building on the work of those who came before us. It is also equally important to honor the women who are currently making history.

All of us know women who we look up to in our personal and professional lives and it’s important to give them their real and metaphorical flowers while they are still alive. In Oregon and southwest Washington, there are numerous women who are making history while inspiring others to do the same. Here are a few women within the last year who came to mind:

  • Dr. Robin Holmes-Williams, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students at Lewis & Clark College, accomplished two firsts recently by becoming the first Black and LGBTQ person to lead the institution.
  • Tiquette Bramlet, President of Vidon Vineyard, made national news last year by becoming the first Black woman to head a major winery in the United States.
  • Partners in Diversity member Pat Welch, co-founder and CEO of the women-owned business Boly:Welch, will be recognized this month as a Joann Austin Lifetime Award Honoree for Portland Business Alliance’s Women of Influence.
  • Nadia Hasan, City Councilor, became the first Muslim on the Beaverton City Council.
  • Annessa Hartman, City Councilor, became the first Native American person on the Gladstone City Council.
  • Doris Gonzalez Gomez and Angeles Godinez, City Councilors, are the first majority-Latino City Councilors in Cornelius, Oregon.
  • Denyse McGriff, City Commissioner, is the first person of color to serve on Oregon City Commission.
  • Judge Chanpone P. Sinlapasai, Multnomah County Circuit Court, was the first judge in Oregon who came to the United States as a refugee.
  • Nafisa Fai, County Commissioner, was the first Black and first Muslim person to be elected to the Washington County Commission.

We couldn’t be more proud of these women, and the numerous women who are publicly unrecognized but continue to make history each day.

Countless women have dedicated their lives to pushing the needle forward. During this month, and every month, we can push our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to ensure that women from different backgrounds and walks of life are supported. Because history has shown us that when women and other marginalized groups win, we all win.

Do you know another woman of color in Oregon who recently broke a barrier? Email us at