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Skagit Women’s Alliance and Network honorees (from left) Tina Tate, Julie De Losada, Ana Rivas, Claudia Avendaño-Ibarra and Iris Carias pose for a portrait Thursday during the 37th annual Women of the Year Awards in Mount Vernon.

The Skagit Women’s Alliance and Network (SWAN) honored six Skagit County women for achievements and community contributions Thursday evening during the 37th annual Women of the Year Awards.

The event was held online.

Four women received Women of the Year awards, one received a Lifetime Achievement award and one a Rising SWAN award.

In addition, four scholarships were awarded to women who intend to return to school to further their education.

In a keynote address, Laura Flores Cailloux, the Skagit Valley College department chair for sociology and ethnic studies, said when she received a SWAN award in 2005, she told a colleague “she hoped no one noticed that I was a woman of color.”

She said she had been socialized to make her difference invisible to make others more comfortable.

”Sixteen years later, I know that choosing comfort and safety is no longer tenable,” she said. “... Every platform, every interaction, needs to be a moment of choice, a moment to choose courage, to say what needs to be said.”

The second featured speaker was Janie Beasley, a member of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and staff member with the tribe since 1979.

Beasley talked about learning and teaching the Lushootseed language in schools in the La Conner area.

”Language and culture were taken away in the boarding school era,” she said. “Proudly tribes are bringing back their culture and their language.”

She introduced the Swinomish Canoe Family, who shared an eagle blessing song in a video.

During the awards ceremony, Julie De Losada, a senior analyst and the emergency preparedness and response manager with Skagit County Public Health, received the woman of the year award for professional achievement.

Iris Carias, a Mount Vernon City Council member and a migrant program educator with the Mount Vernon School District, received the woman of the year award for mentorship of women.

Tina Tate, executive director of Friendship House and a board member with United General District 304, received the woman of the year award for community engagement.

Claudia Avendaño-Ibarra, co-chair of Skagit Valley College’s Human Services Department and owner of Raices Consulting and Counseling, received the woman of the year award for transformative leadership.

Dianne Goddard, a Skagit County District Court judge, received a lifetime achievement award.

Ana Rivas, the Welcome Baby coordinator for United Way of Skagit County and a first-generation college graduate, received a Rising SWAN award.

The full event can be viewed at swanskagit.com/watch

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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