By Post Staff
Chicana writer, activist and feminist Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez and the Asian Women’s Shelter were among the winners this week of the San Francisco Foundation’s prestigious Community Leadership Awards.
Martinez, a resident of the Mission District, was honored for over 50 years of commitment to improving human relations, and the Asian Women’s Shelter, 3543 18th Street in San Francisco, received the award for its support of victims of domestic violence.
Founded in 1988, the Asian Women’s Shelter provides services in 31 languages and is dedicated to assisting Asian women and children escape family violence.
Other winners were Van Jones, Co-founder and Board Member of the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; and Malcolm Margolin, Writer, Publisher, and Founder of Heyday Books in Berkeley.
The San Francisco Foundation’s awards are presented annually to individuals and groups that have demonstrated leadership in their Bay Area communities. A cash award of $10,000 is given to individual leaders and $20,000 to organizations.
According to the foundation, Martinez is being recognized because “She has built unity and alliances across traditional racial and gender lines. Her strong spirit continually brings together diverse coalitions to forge positive change across many communities.”
Martinez is the author of many books and articles on social justice movements in the Americas. One of her best-known works is the bilingual “500 years of Chicano History in Pictures,” which became the basis a video she co-directed.
During the 1960s, Martinez served full-time in the Civil Rights Movement with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the South and as a coordinator of its New York office.
Van Jones is recognized for his “inspirational” work in youth and civil rights activism. He has led policy reform campaigns that tackled critical issues within the Bay Area, California, and nationally, paving the way a future that is “greener” and with greater justice, according the foundation.
Jones is founding president and founder of Green For All, a national organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy that will create jobs that will lift people out of poverty.