U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal, who represents California’s 24th District, has chosen Dr. Tania Israel from UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School as one of the 2019 Congressional Women of the Year. The annual Congressional Women of the Year Award honors exceptional women across the 24th Congressional District who have left a positive impact on their communities. Winners span a variety of backgrounds and professions and represent the thousands of women working tirelessly to improve quality of life on the Central Coast.
“The recipients of this year’s Congressional Women of the Year Award are all doing incredible work to improve the quality of life on the Central Coast, often without the recognition or compensation they deserve,” Carbajal said in a statement. “From creating spaces for compassion and understanding in our communities, to improving healthcare for our underserved populations, it is a privilege to recognize these trailblazers for their indelible contributions to our community.”
Carbajal will recognize the winners by entering a special written tribute for each woman into the official Congressional Record, preserving their stories and their impact on the community. In addition to Israel, the other five winners of this year’s award are: Jill Anderson (Lompoc), Dr. Leola Dublin Macmillian (Morro Bay), Yessenia Marroquin (Santa Barbara), Anahi Mendoza (Santa Maria), and Sandi Sigurdson (San Luis Obispo).
Dr. Tania Israel is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology at UCSB who has provided leadership in the Santa Barbara community and beyond for decades. In 2010, Dr. Israel collaborated with several Santa Barbara nonprofits to lead a community-based participatory research project which surveyed the LGBTQ community about their perceptions and concerns, which led to a mandatory 5-hour workshop on LGBTQ issues for all sworn police officers in the City of Santa Barbara. The workshop almost immediately proved to significantly improve relations between police and the LGBTQ community.
Most recently, Dr. Israel has designed and presented a two-hour interactive workshop, titled Beyond the Bubble, to help participants engage in productive dialogues across political lines by building their skills in active listening, managing emotions, and perspective taking. Hundreds of people in Santa Barbara County have taken advantage of Beyond the Bubble in workshops delivered to the Santa Maria-Lompoc NAACP, the Santa Barbara Progressive Coalition, Congregation B’nai B’rith, and a League of Women Voters community forum, among others. Dr. Israel has not charged any of these organizations or their participants for her time and expertise, instead describing the workshop as her offering to our community.