MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Since 1973, the YWCA has honored over 150 women and eight organizations on their impact in the community.
“That helps uphold our mission of empowering women and eliminating racism. So it’s all different types of women who do different things in our community,” said Sophie Hoiseth, adult programs coordinator at the YWCA of Mankato.
This year recognizing a doctor, teacher, workforce development leader, interior designer and a young activist for the 2021 Women of Distinction Honorees.
Honorees are Dr. Erin Westfall, Diane Halvorson, Clarice Esslinger, Heather Clark and Margarita Ruiz.
22-year-old Minnesota State University, Mankato student Margarita Ruiz takes home the Rising Star Award. Recognized for her work in addressing immigrant rights and issues of wealth inequities in the community.
“For me, my connection to why I started this, is because I am a first-generation Mexican American. My parents are immigrants from Mexico, and living within the two worlds got me to realize there are a lot of issues that the immigrant community deals with,” said Ruiz.
In addition, YWCA honors J’s Sambusa restaurant in North Mankato, whose owners are immigrants from Somalia. During the pandemic, they’ve continued to provide free lunches to any community member in need.
The public is invited to attend the upcoming event recognizing the honorees on July 15, featuring dinner and silent auction.
“This event is awesome because it helps lift up the voices of women who have been doing awesome work in the community both recently and for a really long time,” said Hoiseth.
For more information on registration and the honorees, visit: Women of Distinction | YWCA Mankato.