- Francisco Quintana
- Communications Director
- (916) 319-2052
SACRAMENTO, CA - On Monday, March 20, 2023, Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) announced that Maria Brenes was named the 2023 Woman of the Year for the California 52nd Assembly District, recognizing her as one of the most effective and impactful education advocates in the Northeast and East Los Angeles communities. The Woman of the Year distinction highlights the achievements of trailblazing women throughout California during Women’s History Month.
“Maria embodies the spirit of perseverance, resilience and dedication to education equity that improves the lives of students within our community,” said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo. “Her work has directly resulted in millions of dollars worth of resources that allocated new funding to public schools that have been historically under-resourced and disenfranchised, mostly impacting immigrant and first-generation students and their families. I am honored to recognize her as our California Legislative Women’s Caucus Woman of the Year for Assembly District 52.”
“Today was an incredible honor to be recognized alongside so many powerful women serving their communities across California,” said Maria Brenes. Women leading is inspiring the next generation to continue advancing opportunity. I am thankful to Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo for this special recognition and for her leadership. Que viva la mujer!”
As a daughter of immigrants from Mexico, and a firsthand eyewitness to the struggles and inequities faced within the public education system impacting underserved communities, Maria’s life’s work is one that channels the sincerest example of devotion to public interest advocacy.
Under María’s leadership, East LA youth and families have secure historic wins:
- In 2004, successfully advocating for and winning for the first time in over 80 years new LAUSD public schools for the Eastside, including a new elementary school, adult school, and three high schools.
- In 2005, Maria advanced the "A-G Life Prep" policy, which ensured that all LAUSD high school students could take college-prep courses.
- In 2014, 2018, and 2021, Maria pushed for and successfully enacted the "Equity is Justice" LAUSD resolutions. These resolutions gave millions of dollars to schools that have been historically underfunded and lacked resources, including Eastside schools.
Maria and her family live in the community of El Sereno and is the Executive Director Emeritus of InnerCity Struggle, a non-profit organization whose mission is to build a powerful and influential movement of youth and families on the Eastside of Los Angeles to promote healthy, safe and nonviolent communities within Boyle Heights, unincorporated East Los Angeles, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights.
Assemblywoman Carrillo was elected to serve in the State Assembly in December 2017. She represents the 52nd Assembly District, which includes the City of Los Angeles and South Glendale. She serves as the Chair of the Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration, in addition to the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Health, Housing and Community Development, Utilities and Energy, Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation, and the Joint Committees on Legislative Budget, and Climate Change Policies. She also serves as the Chair of the Select Committee on Latina Inequities, Vice Chair of the Legislative Progressive Caucus, as a Commissioner for the California Film Commission and serves on the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Board.