HARTFORD – The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame will welcome three members into its ranks as part of its 28th annual induction ceremony and celebration from 5:30 until 8 p.m. on Wed., Sept. 29, at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza.
The theme of this year’s event is “Leaders for Social Justice,” as it will honor women who have been fighting for equality for all, said Sarah Smith Lubarsky, executive director of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.
“We want to bring awareness around how important social justice is and why it’s important for everyone to have the same rights, food, clothing, a place to live, good healthcare, and how that benefits everyone if everyone has it,” Lubarsky said.
This year’s honorees are Teresa C. Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, and Kica Matos, Vice President of Initiatives at the New York-based Vera Institute of Justice. The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame will posthumously induct Jerimarie Liesegang for her advocacy for the Transgender and broader LGBTQI+ communities.
Before her current position, Younger served as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut, the first African-American and first woman to do so. She was also the executive director of the state legislature’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. Her philanthropic work includes initiatives run by various organizations including Grantmakers for Girls of Color, Funders for Reproductive Equity, Philanthropy New York, and Black Funders for Social Justice.
Matos, a lawyer and advocate for immigration reform, previously served as the Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change, led the U.S. Reconciliation and Human Rights Program at Atlantic Philanthropies, and has served as deputy mayor for New Haven. She also worked with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and was an assistant federal defender for death-sentenced inmates.
Liesegang, who died of cancer in November 2020, started the observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance in Connecticut in 2002 with her wife, and, as director of the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition, successfully lobbied for a state law that makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on their gender identity and expression.
In addition to the three inductees, the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame will also honor eight women as “Spotlight Recipients.”
Lubarsky said there are still tickets available for those who wish to attend Wednesday’s event. Information can be found on the group’s website. The rain date is Thursday, Sept. 30. Masks will be required even though the event is outdoors.
Anyone can send in a name for consideration of someone they think should be inducted, Lubarsky said. There is a form on the website to fill out for that purpose.
After these three women are inducted into the Hall Fame, the Hall will have a total of 136 inductees, Lubarsky said. Last year, the theme was women’s suffrage and next year it will be women in sports.
“They have been working and pushing for years and years and years, so we are very proud of our inductees this year and every year,” she said. “They are always people who are tops in their field.”