Local Community and Education Leader Named Woman of the Year by Assemblyman O’Donnell

Martha Beatriz Cota

Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell’s office. 

A Long Beach community leader was honored as the 70th District’s 2017 Woman of the Year by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell yesterday on the Assembly floor at the state capitol, in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Martha Beatriz Cota was recognized for her role in encouraging parents to engage in civic participation and leadership development to foster the next generation of Latino leaders through Latinos in Action, which she founded and has served as its executive director since its inception in 2009, according to a release from O’Donnell’s office.

“Martha’s dedication to building a stronger, healthier Long Beach is evident through the countless hours of service she devotes to our community,” O’Donnell, who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, said in a statement. “From testifying at local city council meetings and delivering speeches at rallies, to knocking on doors to connect families with educational resources, Martha’s tireless commitment to social justice represents the power of female leaders to effect positive change.”

Born in the Mexican state of Sonora to a farmer and community organizer, Cota put the lessons of hard labor and community involvement she learned from her parents to work, earning a scholarship to the University of Sonora where she received a degree in social work.

Upon finishing her degree, she worked in developing community programs in health, youth intervention, housing and reforestation in rural and urban areas, according to O’Donnell’s office.

Cota continued her community involvement when she arrived in California, becoming a certified parent counselor and a volunteer on various campaigns to improve the health of children with asthma as well as access to affordable housing.

After graduating from the Long Beach City Neighborhood Leadership program, Cota served on the Long Beach Chief of Police’s Latino Advisory Committee and became vice president of the Long Beach District English Learner Advisory Committee. She was also the leading voice in the California Conference for Equality and Justice’s Neighbor to Neighbor City Dialogues.

Cota will be recognized locally by O’Donnell, along with other extraordinary women in the 70th District on March 23.

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.