Flyer (image source from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier email).

Saturday was the “Women in Leadership, Politics, and Society” town hall at Charlotte Wood Middle School in Danville.  Congressman Mark DeSaulnier hosted the panel featuring women leaders and experts.  Panelists included Diana Becton (Contra Costa County District Attorney), Kristen Connelly (East Bay Leadership Council President and CEO), Marcela Davison Avilés (Cultural Consultant, Lawyer, and Author), and Dr. Cassie Marshall (UC Berkeley School of Public Health).

Charlotte Wood Middle School.

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier is known for the Future of Work, Wages, and Labor initiative and serving on four House committees.  From the press release: “The town hall will explore the most pressing issues facing women today, like achieving gender and economic equity in the workplace and society, overcoming barriers to women’s health care, and increasing the representation of women in government.”


The National Women’s Law Center states that white women earn $.82, black women $.62, and Latina women $.54 for every $1 men make.  Pay disparities have real consequences over a woman’s lifetime.  Economic security becomes elusive and challenging to obtain.

Marcela Davison Avilés.

At previous engagements, I’ve heard the impressive Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton speak.  According to the county’s website: “Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton has spent most of her professional career as a judge, lawyer, and manager.  On September 17, 2017, she was sworn in as the 25th District Attorney for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.  In June 2018 District Attorney Becton was elected to a full term in office.  District Attorney Becton served for 22 years as a judge in Contra Costa County, where she was elected as Presiding Judge.”

Diana Becton

The venue was packed with an engaged and attentive audience.  Panelists discussed a wide range of topics from women’s healthcare to criminal justice reform.  Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions via a comment card.  Democracy was on full display!


Currently, there’s no representation of women on the Richmond City Council.  Positions of power must reflect communities.  Thanks to Congressman Mark DeSaulnier who hosted this meaningful discussion.  This was an important platform in promoting and sustaining change.  “High” expectations lead to equality!



Cassondra Marshall DrPH, MPH

Equal Pay: What Does it Mean for Women of Color?