By Mike Kinney
Richmond top cop Bisa French may have shattered a glass ceiling by becoming the city’s first female police chief. But Chief French says she’s still looking up to the heights achieved by other impressive, pioneering women in the community, including those who joined her at the 13th Annual Sisters in Solidarity Celebration on Saturday.
Among the roughly 200 guests of the celebration were iconic National Park Service Ranger and author Betty Reid-Soskin, several past female mayors and councilmembers and also current Richmond City Manager Laura Snideman, the first female to hold her current position.
“I strive daily to be like some these female leaders here in the City; I have learned much from them,” said Chief French, who served as keynote speaker of the annual event.
The Sisters in Solidarity celebration was launched by former Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin in 2008 and is held in conjunction with International Women’s Day, which commemorates March 8, 1909, when 15,000 women workers marched through New York demanding shorter hours, better pay and the right to vote.
This year’s theme, “Valiant Women of the Vote,” honored one century since the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women the right to vote.
Seeing women like Chief French and Snideman in the city’s top government posts is a testament to that legacy
“In the past, here in the present and moving into the future, women will bring great change to our community and the world,” said Soskin, the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year honoree and author of the memoir, “Sign My Name to Freedom.”
Saturday’s event was emceed by former Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, and included a panel featuring former city mayors Irma Anderson and Ludmyrna Lopez. Also speaking were McLaughlin, Snideman and Lesa Mcintosh, past Richmond City Council member and board member of East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD).
The event featured related community-based organizations providing information on resources and services. Check out more photos from the event.