During CALCASA’s annual Denim Day rally, Sandra Henriquez presented the 2011 Visionary Voice Award to the California recipient. The award is sponsored by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to recognize individuals performing amazing sexual violence prevention and advocacy work throughout the country.
This year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center selected Joelle Gomez, Executive Director of the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County, as the Californian recipient for this award.
“Joelle has been instrumental in promoting awareness and positive changes in her community in addressing the needs of sexual assault survivors and continues to be a strong advocate in this field,” said Ellen Yin-Wycoff, CALCASA’s Associate Director. “She and her center are a prime example of the amazing work being done by California rape crisis centers.”
Joelle is recognized for her outstanding work in the sexual violence field for the following accomplishments:
- She has been with the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County for the past 19 years, of which 14 years as its Executive Director.
- As the Executive Director, she has doubled the operating budget and increased the center’s capacity. There are a total of five sites that offer comprehensive services to survivors of sexual assault throughout San Joaquin County.
- In August 2008, Joelle was inducted into the Mexican American Hall of Fame.
- In March 2008, she was selected by then Assemblymember Greg Aghazarian as “Woman of the Year” for District 26.
- In 2007, Joelle received the “Honorary Susan B. Anthony Woman of Achievement Award” from the San Joaquin County Commission on the Status of Women.
- In addition to her numerous awards and accomplishments with her center, she still continues to be a strong advocate for sexual assault survivors. Most recently, she has been interviewed by Katie Couric on 60 minutes for her advocacy in a high profile case involving a former college student survivor who was raped by several basketball players at the University of the Pacific.
“This award is truly a reflection of a team that understands our work is never done,” Joelle said as she accepted the award. “We’ve all heard that statistics. We know that sexual assault is very prevalent in our world. And it’s quite fitting to hear that this is a Visionary Voice Award because we all have that shared vision — that dream that one day, victims will no longer exist. One day where, a sexual assault victim will be a thing of the past. But until then, we have much to do. And it’s an honor to be one voice, but to recognize that my voice is the reflection of thousands more who want to see an end to sexual violence.”
Joelle has not only been instrumental in working with individual survivors but has been successful in promoting positive change and awareness in her community to better address the needs of sexual assault survivors. CALCASA is pleased to have presented this award to Joelle and grateful for her leadership in making changes across California and her community.