the 15 apa women leader spotlights: zenei cortez

15 Days. 15 APA Women. 15th Anniversary. To celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, we're partnering up with NAPAWF and Hyphen to spotlight 15 Women Warriors for 15 days, sponsored by 15 hosts. Meet today's spotlight:

Zenei Cortez
Nominated by Filipino Advocates for Justice.

Filipino Advocates for Justice was established in 1973 in response to the growing influx of immigrants from the Philippines and the discrimination they faced as newcomers to the U.S. FAJ's mission is to build a strong and empowered Filipino community by providing services, developing leaders, organizing constituents, and advocating for policies that promote social and economic justice and equity. Our vision is for a Filipino community with the power to advance social and economic justice and to realize democratic and human rights for everyone.

Describe your name.
My real name is Zenaida - but would like to be called Zenei (pronounced as Zeni).

How do you identify?
I have been married for over 25 years, we do not have kids. I am blessed with a lot of god children (my nephews and nieces (plus their kids).

Your passion issues?
I want to make it "right" and make it better for all. I am inspired by like minded people and organizations fighting for the same causes.

Best advice someone has ever given you?
Reach for the stars but keep your feet on the ground.

Who's your hero?
My 89 year old mother. She is strong willed and very dedicated to my 93 year old father. She has kept the family together, stayed home and raised us 9 kids.

Biggest lesson you've learned as an APA Woman?
I am as good as anyone else, if not better.

What advice would you give to other Asian Pacific American women?
Allow yourself to dream and pursue those dreams to make them real.

Why support NAPAWF?
As the only organization of its kind, APA women can find strength and encouragement through its many programs.

Favorite guilty pleasure?
Enjoying "desserts."

FAJ says:
Zenei Triunfo Cortez is the first Filipino to be elected president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurse Organizing Committee, which has 75,000 members in 40 states, and represents nurses at scores of hospitals, clinics, and home health agencies. She has also served on CNA's State Board of Directors and has been a past vice-president.

The CAN/NNOC is a health care union that is predominantly female. They have been a voice for nurses not only in the workplace but have played a national role in winning health coverage for everyone.

Zenei is an immigrant and a cancer survivor which informs her passion for social justice. Her involvement in the union began with her own experience fighting discrimination on the job. Since winning that grievance she dedicated herself to encouraging fellow RNs to speak up for their rights. The CNA is on the forefront of patients’ rights advocacy having won battles to lower the nurse/patient ratios to insure quality of care.

Donate in honor of Zenei and FAJ:
Please click here and write Zenei Cortez in the "In honor field of the online form."

To see the rest of the 15 APA Women Leader Spotlights, go here.

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