Solano County Library Foundation
601 Kentucky Street
Fairfield, CA 94533
Josette Lacey (707) 553-5363
Pati Navalta, author, anti-gun violence advocate, and founder of the Robby Poblete Foundation, is this year’s Woman of the Year.
In 2017, Navalta created the Robby Poblete Foundation in honor of her son, Robby, who wa killed by gun violence in Vallejo in 2014. The nonprofit’s mission is to reduce gun violence through its gun buyback program, and transform the weapons into instruments of hope and opportunity through its art and vocational programs. In just under two years, the foundation has succeeded in getting nearly 1,000 firearms out of circulation, launched its Art of Peace program, which transforms the guns into art, in five cities, and has distributed more than $20,000 in apprenticeship scholarships to people from at-risk and high-risk populations. Headquartered in Solano County, the foundation's programs have been adopted in Alameda County, Richmond, San Francisco, Berkeley, Augusta, Georgia, and will soon be launching in Los Angeles. The foundation was named 2018 California Nonprofit of the Year by Assemblymember Tim Grayson. Prior to creating the foundation, Navalta was a longtime San Francisco Bay Area journalist, previously serving as editorial writer and columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, where she was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for her 2005 editorial series on the need for foster care reform in California. The yearlong project led to a record number of foster care reform bills signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, improving the lives of thousands of foster care youth in California. She is the author of "The Oracles: My Filipino Grandparents in America" (2006, Heyday Books) and "A Better Place: A Memoir of Peace in the Face of Tragedy" (2018, Nothing But the Truth Publishing). She has also just been named the new Editor-In-Chief of San Francisco Magazine.
Navalta was among 10 nominated women who are known for championing peace and non-violence, which is the theme of this year’s Solano County Women’s History Lunch. “The theme of this year’s event carries a lot of meaning for me,” said Navalta. “A lot of conflict in this world stems from pain and anger and fear. I felt all of those things when I lost my son. To seek peace and transform that trauma into something positive has been incredibly challenging, but it has also brought me great purpose. It's my honor to champion peace and nonviolence in my son's name, and I am humbled to be recognized for the work we do through the Robby Poblete Foundation."
“In celebration of our 12th Annual Women’s History Month, I am in awe of the amazing women that our community has honored. The theme this year is “Champion of Peace and Non Violence”. Pati Navalta with the Robby Poblete Foundation has earned this honoring award in so many ways. What many of us would consider impossible, she has risen above a most difficult tragedy and transformed it to bringing peace, safety and opportunities to families and communities around the world. I am so proud of her and look forward to standing by her as she continues to change lives in honor of Robby.” said Josette Lacey, co-chair of this year’s Women’s History Luncheon committee, which works under the auspices of the Solano County Library Foundation.
Sharing honors is the luncheon’s Honorary Chair, Julie Hilt, Executive Director of Solano County Bar Association/Owner of Alternative Restorative Communities (ARC). Keynote speaker of the event will be Midsi Sanchez, community activist and founder of the Midsi Sanchez Foundation, which works to bring home abducted children, provides support to families of missing children and teaches child safety and awareness.
This year’s luncheon will be at the Nelson Community Center at 611 Village Drive, Suisun City from 11:30-1 p.m. on March 15, 2019. The event, which sells out every year, supports library programs and books about women as well as literacy programs supported by the Solano County Library Foundation. Individual tickets are $40.
Sponsorship opportunities and ticket information can be found at www.solanolibraryfoundation.org.