Among her many accomplishments, Ellen Wolfson founded the eight-member Chicamarimba band, an all-women band that has been entertaining audiences throughout the Pacific Northwest for the past 19 years. An accomplished musician and counselor, Ellen is a model of selfless love, generosity, and energetic compassion. Her friends and family regard her as a living, breathing 911 system, serving as a round-the-clock advocate for those in need of healthcare, education, immigration assistance, housing, or straight talk. As a valued member of the Clackamas Community College faculty, Ellen directed the counseling department and coordinated the international student program. She enriches our lives and inspires us to work for a more compassionate world.
Completing 16 years of leadership of the Community of Welcoming Congregations (CWC), Rev. Tara Wilkins is a courageous social justice warrior at work in our state and beyond. She brings faith communities together with LGBTQ activists to work for civil rights, marriage equality, and justice issues of many kinds. Tara has grown the CWC from a handful of Portland-area congregations to over 100 throughout Oregon and SW Washington. In early years, she was a solo voice traveling the state; now local congregations and clergy speak out with welcome for the LGBTQ folks in their communities. Tara has been a leading voice at a national level as part of Human Rights Campaign’s Religion & Faith program and the Institute for Welcoming Resources through the National LGBTQ Task Force. Rev. Tara has helped change the political landscape for LBGTQ concerns. During her tenure, CWC also hosted the first national interfaith Trans Conference in the nation. We celebrate her courage, strategic skill, and loving spirit.
Cheryl Perrin has been one of Oregon’s most influential women leaders of the past 40 years, playing a key role in Oregon’s environmental leadership, its progress on human rights, and its economic growth. She has been honored as Oregon’s Woman of the Year, winner of the Lucille Hart Award, and the Basic Rights Oregon Outstanding Citizen, and also received the Multnomah County Human Rights award for her tireless commitment to civil rights. She has served on numerous boards and commissions over the years, including Commissioner for the Port of Portland. Perrin was a senior executive officer with Fred Meyer, Inc. for 23 years, and in that role provided progressive leadership for Oregon’s business community. She is very proud of her 4 daughters and 9 granddaughters. Perhaps, in part, because of this, she is a clear and loud voice for women’s issues, especially for an end to discrimination in the workplace.
Bev Herrin (d. 2018) was a fierce and dedicated advocate for people with developmental disabilities. She was a champion in many of Oregon’s systems change initiatives that shifted services from institutions to the community. She helped design and manage the residential and employment services and government policies that make Oregon a precedent setting state so that people who experience even the most severe disabilities can live and work in the community. Outside of work Bev led an active life where she engaged in skydiving, climbing Mt Hood, rock climbing at Smith Rocks, Yosemite and Squamish Chief in British Columbia. She was a music fan and traveled from Maine to California, Seattle to Miami plus music based cruises in the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera. As we remember Bev, we honor a full life of service, fun, and family.
City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty moved to Oregon because it had things she was looking for— the ability to be close to the water and mountains, and a place where she felt like she could really make a difference. Since arriving, Hardesty has definitely made a difference in Oregon. In addition to her work with the Portland NAACP and many other boards and commissions and serving as a state representative, Hardesty was recently sworn in as a city commissioner becoming the first African-American woman to serve on the Portland City Council. With Hardesty, the Council also reached another historic milestone. For the first time, the council is majority women, which Mayor Ted Wheeler called a “historic moment.” In her role as commissioner Hardesty is committed to building a livable and sustainable city with all Portlanders and for all Portlanders, through transparency, accountability, and opportunity.
Throughout her career, Marilyn Cover has been a driving force and fierce advocate for the importance of civics education. She has helped build outstanding civics education in Oregon and throughout the United States. Marilyn developed the innovative Street Law program at NW School of Law at Lewis and Clark College.The program sends law students into high school classrooms to teach practical applications of the law. She was the founding Executive Director of the Classroom Law Project [CLP] that provides classroom instruction, teacher training, mock trials, and courtroom visits for Oregon students of all ages. Marilyn developed this program by engaging stakeholders across disciplines and helping them work together for the common good of building future generations of active community members. The CLP has been instrumental in supporting Oregon high school students’ participation in the annual “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition. Oregon high schools often receive top honors in this national competition. Governor Kate Brown has said of Marilyn, “… she embodies the spirit of giving to the next generation, making sure that students have all the tools they need for self-determination and principled engagement in their communities”.
Patricia Cornman-Wilcox has had a lifelong personal and professional interest in social justice. She has been active in many organizations including the Names Project Memorial Quilt where she helped organize Quilt Displays throughout the U.S. and in Washington D.C., Aurora Chorus where she has been both a singer and board member, the Walk of Heroines at PSU and the Clothes Closet for children in foster care. Patricia is a leader in her church, Bridgeport UCC. She worked at PSU in the Adult Education program and in 2003 she completed a two-year Certificate for Instructional Design and was hired as an Instructional Designer for courses at PSU and the OHSU Nursing School. Today Patricia stays involved organizing local protests against ICE’s illegal arrests of immigrants and supporting SOAR immigration legal services.