Eva Longoria – actress, advocate and philanthropist – will be awarded the Dorothy I. Height Award at the YWCA USA Women of Distinction Awards Gala on Friday, June 7, 2013 in Washington D.C. at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.

This award is presented to an individual who has had a national impact in the field of racial justice in the United States. Honorees are selected based on criteria that reflect Dr. Height’s contributions: service in a leadership role, commitment to racial justice and a high standard of courage, integrity and steadfastness in support of the YWCA’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women.

“At a time when women are growing as a powerful force in American culture and politics, we are delighted to honor Eva Longoria for her activism, especially for her efforts to encourage all women to exercise their right to vote,” said YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D. She added, “Through her willingness and commitment to reach out and inspire women in diverse communities across the country to get involved in the political process and take on leadership roles, she exemplifies the life and work of civil rights pioneer Dorothy Height. We are truly honored that Eva Longoria will join us at the 2013 YWCA Annual Conference in June.”

Eva Longoria said, "As a longtime admirer of the programs the YWCA offers to empower women of all backgrounds, I am truly honored to receive this award. She added, “I am looking forward to visiting Washington and celebrating the accomplishments of the many young leaders at the YWCA for the work that they are doing across the country.”

Eva Longoria is a dedicated philanthropist and advocate in the field of racial justice. She sponsors a number of charities and organizations that help the Latina community at large. She established The Eva Longoria Foundation in 2010, which helps Latinas build better futures for themselves and their families through education and entrepreneurship. Additionally, she serves as the national spokesperson for Padres Contra el Cancer (Parents Against Cancer), a nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life for Latino children with cancer and their families. Longoria also co-founded the non-profit organization Eva's Heroes, dedicated to enriching the lives of those with developmental challenges by providing an inclusive setting built on the four tenets of interact, grow, learn, and love.

Also, she works closely with the United Farm Workers, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and the National Council of La Raza.

Ms. Longoria’s activism and leadership have been widely recognized. She was recently selected by President Obama as a commissioner to the National Museum of the American Latino Commission to help create a home for the historical artifacts, images, and personal stories that document more than 500 years of American Latino contributions to the United States. She was also personally selected by the President to serve as a National Co-Chair for the Re-Elect Obama Campaign and as commissioner for his inauguration.

The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Gala celebrates women from across the United States who have demonstrated excellence, leadership, and integrity in their fields and in their communities, serving as role models for other successful women. For more than 150 years, the YWCA has honored leaders whose work has truly made an impact on women’s empowerment and racial justice. In addition to the Dorothy I. Height award, the YWCA USA Women of Distinction Awards include honorees for contributions in four key areas of public life: Corporate Social Responsibility, Military/Veterans Affairs, Philanthropy and Policy and Civic Engagement. Previous winners include former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.

The Gala is part of the 2013 YWCA Annual Conference. Each year, the YWCA convenes hundreds of women leaders to invigorate their collective vision for the future, empower their local association executives and advocate for issues impacting women, girls and families on Capitol Hill. Leaders have the opportunity to network and share best practices to more effectively serve their communities and fulfill the YWCA’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism. They celebrate many achievements during the conference, culminating in the YWCA USA Women of Distinction Awards Gala.

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