Solano Leaders, All Women of Color, Share Experiences of Overcoming Racism

Successful Women of Color Share Their Experiences of Navigating Racism and the Importance of Education during Women's History Month Panel Discussion

March 31, 2023
Women\'s History Month 2023

Three Solano County women city council members and the woman who leads a local chamber of commerce came together March 28 on the Touro University California campus for a conversation about how being women of color affected their lives both personally and professionally.

The talk was timed to coincide with Women’s History Month and was designed to show how successful women of color in Solano County navigate a world rife with racism that is not only directed at them from people of other races but also, at times, from within their own cultures.

The panelists were Suisun City Mayor Alma Hernandez, Vallejo Vice Mayor Rozzana Verder-Aliga, Fairfield City Councilwoman Doriss Panduro and Solano County Black Chamber of Commerce President Tamuri Richardson.

Touro Vice President of Advancement Andrea Garcia and University Equity Officer Anika Lee served as moderators for the informal session.

Lee described the session as an opportunity for the university to engage with the larger community, which is part of the mission of the Social Justice Resource Center.

The panelists emphasized the importance of their respective cultures while growing up, as well as the need to navigate – some earlier in life than others – in a white-focused environment.

“Being a woman has its own strife,” Richardson said. “Being a woman of color adds to that.”

Each panelist spoke of the importance of education – both at the college level and in preparation for work in the trades – as a key to breaking the cycle of generational poverty in communities of color. They also spoke of the need to see past the color of a person’s skin in order to help make the world a better place for future generations.

This was the second program at the Social Justice Resource Center, which is located in the library and opened in November 2022. The first was a Black History Month event in February that focused on the power of storytelling. An early Pride Month event is planned the first week in May to provide information and resources to people in advance of Pride Month in June.

“We’re hoping to do more of these, like two to three a semester,” Lee said. For more information about Social Justice Center programming, contact Lee at