DeKalb leaders listed among local trailblazers

Congressman Hank Johnson, who represents Georgia’s 4th Congressional District, presented his Women’s History Month Trailblazer awards on March 26 — with several honoring DeKalb County residents and employees.

Women’s History Month is celebrated in March and recognizes women’s contributions to America, according to the National Women’s History Museum.

Of the 17 award recipients at Johnson’s ceremony, 12 were listed as DeKalb residents or working for metro Atlanta agencies that service DeKalb. The 12 recipients with ties to DeKalb are.

  • Cassandra Bryant: A DeKalb County community leader and advocate who has been on the front lines for seniors and workers since the 1970s. A past president of the Lynwood Community in Brookhaven, she also served as secretary of the United Auto Workers Union Civil Rights Committee.
  • Mayira Bunting: A leading proponent of increased access and inclusion for all, especially reaching out to immigrant and refugee communities around metro Atlanta.
  • Charlene Fang: A member of the DeKalb County Board of Property Assessors who has served as senior vice president of business development for Touchmark National Bank. She also serves as a liaison between the City of Doraville and the Chinese American community.
  • Brenda Jackson: Co-founder of South DeKalb Neighborhoods Coalition, Inc., and owner of Brenda Jackson & Associates Event Planning since 1998.
  • Lois Keith: National Chair for the National Council of Negro Women. She is a community leader who advocates for teachers and youth. She is a retired educator.
  • Liane Levetan: The first woman elected to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. In 1993, she became the county’s first female CEO, and served two terms. In 1998 under her leadership, DeKalb County was named one of 10 cities/counties nationally to win an All-American City Award.
  • Gwendolyn Mason: Co-founder and Executive Director of the Stewart Foundation. She is an author, minister, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and community advocate.
  • Nam Thi Nguyen: Originally from Vietnam, Nguyen is an entrepreneur. She opened her alteration shop in DeKalb County to address the growing needs of seamstresses and tailors.
  • Teresa Punzi: Executive director and founder of The Smart Place Adult and Children Services Center. The Smart Place serves those on the autism spectrum and those who are intellectually and developmentally disabled.
  • Aurora Santana: A graduate of Cross Keys High School, she volunteers as an interpreter and is a strong advocate for civic responsibility. She has served as a service writer in an international franchise and as an administrator for the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce.
  • Teresa Smith: Author, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and a volunteer with many organizations throughout metro Atlanta. She is the visionary and creative producer for stage plays pertaining to human trafficking, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, homelessness, and substance use.
  • Beatrice Woulard Williams: Civil and human rights champion. As a member of the NAACP, she has been on the front lines for social justice, civil and voting rights. In 2017, she helped launch R.O.S.E. PAC for women seeking elected office.

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