Thursday, April 19th, 2012 | Posted by mshufro | no responses

Santa Rosa Mayor and Sonoma County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Member Ernesto Oliveras gives opening remarks at the Run Forum on April 21.

Since the earliest days of Santa Rosa’s history when Mexican Settler Maria Carrillo became the “Mother of Santa Rosa,” local women and ethnic minorities have played a significant role as informal community leaders. But the bridge from an informal leadership role to a formal position in the community has often not been easy to cross.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, today women represent more than half of Santa Rosa, and ethnic minorities account for more than 40 percent of the city’s population, yet many within these demographics remain unheard in the larger community.

To empower these and any under-represented individuals in Sonoma County, Women’s Global Leadership Initiative, the Latino Service Providers and an amalgam of local non-profits have organized the RUN Forum, short for “Rise Up Now.” Open to the public, a broad range of community leaders will offer their knowledge and experience to residents interested in being appointed to boards, commissions and committees from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Empire College, 3035 Cleveland Avenue. Admittance is $15; to reserve a seat RSVP Diana Ruiz at

With opening remarks presented by Santa Rosa Mayor Ernesto Olivares, the main event will feature a panel of speakers including 4th District Supervisor Mike McGuire, Nuestra Vos Board Member Alejandra Cervantes, School Board Member Karen Bergin, County Commissioner Doris Reyes, and County Committee Member Herman Hernandez. 5th District Supervisor Efren Carrillo will provide closing remarks.