L’Oreal Paris has named two Latina community activists to its list of 10 Women of Worth honorees.
Selected from more than 2,100 nominations by a judging panel that included CNN anchor/host Soledad O’Brien, Pilar Pinel and Ann Solorio Brownell are among the 10 women being recognized for their spirit of volunteerism, tireless fight for social and philanthropic causes and dedication to a brighter future.
Meet Brownell and Pinel, who will be honored at a special ceremony next month in New York City.
Ann Solorio Brownell
Ann Solorio Brownell dedicated her life to raising awareness about bullying after her then 16-year-old daughter Amanda tried to take her life in a bathroom at her high school in 2008 due to the sexual and cyber bullying she received the month before her suicide attempt. The 53-year-old San Jose, California women launched The Amanda Network one year after Amanda’s suicide attempt. Since then, she’s shared her story with thousands of students, parents and community groups in the San Francisco Bay area.
“Knowing I am helping people avoid situations like what happened to Amanda is what keeps me motivated. Bullying and suicide are difficult subjects for people to discuss,” says Brownell. “Helping people open up about these issues and provide them with support is worth all the time and energy I spend on The Amanda Network. We can’t go back and undo what happened to Amanda, but we can use her story to help other victims of bullying and raise awareness so people realize this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”
In 2003, Pilar Pinel founded Embracing Latina Leadership Alliances (ELLAS), an organization dedicated to the educational, professional and political advancement of Latina youth. The 53-year-old Long Beach, California woman—who believes that investing in oneself is the greatest strength we can build from—has funded the organization primarily with her retirement account to see that Latina students benefit and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. ELLAS has positively affected the lives of more than 2,400 girls, with a total of 94 percent of participants matriculating into higher education.
“My motivation is the reminder that I was one of these girls. I was a C student that came from a large family of four boys and four girls and was expected to work in the family business, which did not allow me to pursue my personal career goals. I can identify with these girls in so many ways,” asserts Pinel. “I’m so humbled by the work I do, it’s all worth it. I’m dedicated seven days a week at any given hour. The girls in ELLAS know that my door is always open and I do not think twice about working tirelessly to assure a diversity of resources are available to them, in my commitment to encourage underprivileged youth to expand their educational, social and career paradigms.”
Brownell and Pinel have each received $10,000 for their charitable causes and will be recognized at an awards ceremony and dinner in New York City in early December.
Meanwhile, L’Oreal Paris has opened public voting to select the National Honoree from the 10 Women of Worth. The winner will receive an additional $25,000 for her charity. Online voting runs through November 23rd.
Click here to learn more about the Women of Worth Program, read the honoree bios and vote for the 2011 Women of Worth National Honoree.