Extraordinary Women From Your Community - Week One

Throughout Women's History Month, Departures is highlighting extraordinary women from our neighborhoods. In addition to our picks, each week we are featuring notable women from your community, as suggested by you.

So help us in honoring this week's Extraordinary Women from Your Community.

She was my choir teacher at Paul Revere Junior High back in the 1980s. She had enormous musical skill and even greater skill at gaining the respect of a room full of 7th-9th graders. I learned how to sight read and I learned about people-politics from her. I learned about kindness and fairness and that some people earn merit for natural talent....but they get farther in life if they work as a team with others. I learned that making things as perfect as possible without making things impossible is important. I've heard in years since that she's always been known as one of the top music teachers in LAUSD. I am not sure where she is now. She had a winning smile.
-From Anya (Wolfberg) van Leeuwen
Kristina Wong is a writer, performer and community based artist who uses humor to talk about difficult issues. She's also one of my best friends, a creative collaborator, and one of the hardest working women I know.

Her one woman show "Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" has helped open the dialogue on the high rates of suicide and depression among Asian American women. It has toured for over five years to schools and theaters all over the country. It's also a film now.

Kristina does a great deal of facilitation and workshops with at-risk communities. She has received the Department of Cultural Affairs ""Artist-in-Residence"" Award three times and used the award to facilitate performance and writing workshops for women of color. She held this space so that her women of color participants could explore personal and social justice issues in a safe setting not found in other writing and performance workshops.

She really puts her life at the focus of personal experimentation to explore social justice issues. She's lived in Los Angeles without a car for over three years which egged on her interest in environmental justice issues. She has a show called "Going Green the Wong Way" about the triumphs and pitfalls of sustainable living. She's currently preparing for an eight week project community theater project with the Bus Riders Union in April that will be sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs.
-From D. Lo
After serving for more than 12 years on the Animal Regulations Commission in the Administration of Mayor Tom Bradley, Ms. Hoisch became involved in several committees at USC/County Hospital. One deals with humane treatment of animals in research; the second reviews research proposals to be certain that the participants receive adequate information in easily understandable language about any proposed trial . For the past twenty years she has conscientiously attended meetings at USC or at the hospital, twice each week, a volunteer service extraordinary. To fill out her week she served on the founding board of Women Against Gun Violence, and was one of the original organizers of a program providing lunches to AIDS patients awaiting appointments at County/USC Hospital. Unsung, modest, this 83 year old continues her service without break. She is truly an extraordinary woman.
-From Ann Reiss Lane
Anna Zacsek was a silent film actress and crusading civil rights lawyer in Los Angeles. Although she died in 1973, she is a remarkable woman. She acted for DW Griffith in "Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance," and, as a civil rights lawyer, represented Pedro Gonzalez, Henry Leyvas in the Sleepy Lagoon Murders, participants in the zoot suit riots, prison reformers and abortionists. AND her childhood home on Sunset Boulevard, one of the oldest buildings on all of Sunset Boulevard is about to be demolished. Here's a video I made about it:

-From Rory Mitchell
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Thirty-One Days of Extraordinary Women


Extraordinary Women From Your Community - Week Two