Juana Melara, the Long Beach hotel worker known for her advocacy work in passing Measure WW, will be honored Thursday morning by End Abuse Long Beach.
The Salvadoran native was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2017 and considered one of dozens of “silence breakers” for telling her sexual assault story.
She has also been at the forefront of a yearslong fight locally to pass a law that would protect hotel workers from sexual assault and set standards for daily workloads. While a previous version of the law failed to pass by the Long Beach City Council, Long Beach voters overwhelmingly supported a citizen-led initiative, known as Measure WW, in November.
“I know that you don’t need a college degree to clean toilets, but we should still be treated with respect as workers and human beings,” Melara said of her work.
Kimberly Wee, director of residential services at Century Villages of Cabrillo, will also be honored. Wee supports a team that serves formerly homeless veterans, youth and families. The California transplant has been an advocate for women for over 20 years, helping domestic violence victims in multiple capacities, including as a counselor, advocate and program leader.
“My whole life I have seen myself as a voice for those who needed help, as time goes on I find my voice just gets louder and stronger,” said Wee.
The awards ceremony will be held at the Alpert Jewish Community Center.
End Abuse Long Beach is an organization that works to prevent child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse and sexual assault.
Stephanie Rivera covers immigration and the north, west and central parts of Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.
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