SACRAMENTO – Today Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo) and Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) announced that they have jointly chosen Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga as the 13th Senate District and 23rd Assembly District Woman of the Year. Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga is the founder and executive director of Ayudando Latinos A Soñar (ALAS), a social service nonprofit and farmworker advocacy organization based in Half Moon Bay.
“Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga has been at the forefront supporting farmworkers and families, not only highlighting concerns like living conditions, mental wellness, economic prosperity, and broadband access, but providing solutions," said Senator Becker. "Belinda has created a vibrant communal space with ALAS, and her collaboration with various partners enabled ALAS to expand their services to farms and ranches via the mobile resource center, the Farmworker Equity Express. Belinda embodies the best of California—vision, compassion, activism, hard work, humility and most of all a passion for social justice, which is why I am honored to partner with Assemblymember Marc Berman in choosing Belinda Arriaga as our Woman of the Year.”
“For the first time that I am aware of, the same woman has been chosen as Woman of the Year by both an Assemblymember and a Senator. That tells you all you need to know about Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga and the exceptional contributions she has made to the community and the state of California,” said Assemblymember Berman. “Belinda is a champion for farmworker families in San Mateo County. She has worked for years to bring visibility to a population that far too often is overlooked in our county. When a mass shooting in Half Moon Bay shocked the entire nation, Belinda and her nonprofit ALAS stepped up to provide emergency services to the grieving farmworker community, many of whom Belinda and her colleagues at ALAS already had longstanding relationships with. Belinda is a voice for the most vulnerable among us and a model for service to one’s community.”
For years, ALAS has been serving the North San Mateo County Coast farmworker community, with a focus on cross-cultural collaboration and building special relationships among farmworker families. Belinda is an assistant professor at the University of San Francisco (USF) and founder/executive director of Ayudando Latinos A Soñar (ALAS), a Latino cultural arts, education, mental health and social justice program dedicated to working with rural youth and families living on the coastside. Belinda is a graduate from USF with a doctorate in education and master’s in social work. Belinda has done extensive work with farmworker families and their children, her mental health practice is focused on immigration trauma, u-visas, asylum and her current research prioritizes understanding the emotional, psychological and traumatic experiences that impact undocumented and mixed status Latino youth. A significant part of her work is dedicated to the cultural arts as part of cultural connections for healing. Belinda is committed to social justice advocacy, equity and human rights. She also co-founded the Latino Advisory Council in Half Moon Bay.
She and her husband have three daughters and live in Half Moon Bay.
Assemblymember Berman and Senator Becker presented Belinda with her award during her ALAS board meeting tonight. They will each honor her at their respective Senate and Assembly events in Sacramento later this month.
Assemblymember Marc Berman represents the 23rd Assembly District, which includes San Mateo County and northern and western Santa Clara County in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Website of Assemblymember Marc Berman: www.assembly.ca.gov/Berman.
First elected in 2020, Senator Becker represents the 13th Senate District covering portions of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and includes the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Half Moon Bay, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Mountain View, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, and Woodside.