Woman Of The Year Is Local Activist, Business Owner

By Jasmine Leyva Saratoga News, Calif.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A California entrepreneur was recently recognized for her grassroots efforts to engage her community on local and national issues.

Saratoga News, Calif.

Celeste Walker has never had a surprise birthday. But at an Orchard City Indivisible meeting on Feb. 6, she got the best kind of birthday surprise. Walker, a founder of the local activist organization and owner of the chocolate shop, Snake and Butterfly, was named Woman of the Year for District 28 by Assemblyman Evan Low.

"I was completely surprised," said the 36-year-old. "I don't think anyone has effectively ever surprised me."

The award is bestowed upon women in each assembly district who have led grassroots efforts engaging the community in local and national issues.

It wasn't until the recent presidential election that Walker started to hold meetings at Snake and Butterfly, located at 191 E. Campbell Ave. Walker said she spent the election night in fear and seeing her children fear what was to come. She said her family had discussed moving out of the country if Donald Trump became president.

"When the reality of it sank in it was like 'no, this is something worth fighting for'," Walker said, adding that she started holding meetings at the shop as a safe place for community members who shared similar views and wanted to take part in local activism.

From there, the meetings outgrew the shop and now they are held at Campbell United Church of Christ, located on 400 W. Campbell Ave. The meetings are held every Tuesday at 7 p.m..

"I think that when we first started a little over a year ago we were looking to take action to kind of mitigate the fear that we were all having," Walker said. "I don't know that we anticipated that it would have grown to what it's become."

At each meeting, members write letters to representatives, postcards urging people to vote and host candidates running for local and state elections.

Her efforts to continue community involvement are not going to stop any time soon. Walker said she plans to run for a Campbell City Council seat this year. She ran in 2014, but was unsuccessful. She currently sits on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission.

"My focus has changed a lot," Walker said. "I really believe that cities even the size of Campbell can impact things on a national scale."

Thus far, three people have officially filed their intention to run for council, according to City Clerk Wendy Wood: Paul Resnikoff, current Campbell mayor; Michael Rich, chairman of the Planning Commission; and Ann Souza, chairwoman of the Civic Improvement Commission.

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