[Pages H2635-H2638]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2019, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Soto) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, I thank the Speaker for the opportunity. We 
certainly appreciate the esteemed institution that is West Point. May I 
also say that the United States Marines are also a great institution, 
and I want to thank the Speaker for his service in Afghanistan and in 
Iraq as well.

                   Recognizing Melinda Jones Williams

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Melinda Jones Williams.
  Melinda Jones Williams, a civil rights activist, was born March 14, 
1950, in Americus, Georgia. She is currently a resident of Haines City, 
Florida, with one child, Jeffrey Jones.
  In July, 1963, Melinda Jones Williams was one of 15 young Black girls 
with a passion to change the bigotry and divisiveness in Americus, 
Georgia, by protesting a strong force of generational racism. During a 
peaceful protest, she was arrested along with 14 other young girls. 
These girls were all stolen, hidden from their parents, and locked in 
an abandoned building for over a month. There were no windows, toilets, 
and no source of water.

  This was their punishment for protesting a segregated movie theater. 
Melinda Jones Williams is one of the few remaining survivors of the 
Stolen Girls of Americus, Georgia.
  For that and her heroism in the civil rights movement, we thank you, 
Ms. Jones Williams.

                        Recognizing Charlie Reed

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Charlie Reed.
  She was born and raised in Kissimmee, Florida, my hometown. She was 
the first in her family to graduate from college with a degree in 
journalism from the University of Florida in 1997. She has worked at 
the Orlando Sentinel, Osceola News-Gazette, and Treasure Coast 
Newspapers. While working for the Stars and Stripes newspaper, she has 
covered international defense, geopolitics, and the U.S. military 
  After a reporting trip to Vietnam, Charlie moved there to do 
volunteer work and write about Vietnam veterans living in the place 
where they fought a war so many years before. While living in Vietnam, 
she was named editor for an English-language Vietnamese magazine and 
worked closely with several NGOs helping Agent Orange victims and 
impoverished children.
  Charlie came back to Kissimmee in 2014 to reconnect with her Florida 
roots. It was a homecoming that led her back to the staff at the 
Osceola News-Gazette. As a seasoned journalist who has lived around the 
world, Charlie knows no stranger. Her ability to connect with people 
and understand their problems is perhaps her greatest strength. 
Charlie's life work is about more than chasing a story. It is about 
serving the community, being an advocate for the public, a voice for 
the voiceless and shining light on corruption. The pleasure she 
experiences while helping others is truly all hers.
  For that, Charlie Reed, we recognize you.

                      Recognizing Juanita Geathers

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Juanita Geathers.
  Juanita Geathers has six children and nine grandchildren with her 
husband, Lemuel Geathers, former mayor of Winter Haven. She has spent 
34 years as an educator in Polk County schools, retiring as an 
assistant principal in 2004. She graduated from Jewett High School as 
valedictorian in 1959, went on to receive her bachelor of science 
degree from Rollins College and a master's in education from the 
University of South Florida.
  Juanita served as Secretary for the Florida Democratic Party State 
Executive Committee and was the highest ranking African American woman 
during her tenure as Secretary. She also served as a Democratic 
National Convention delegate from Florida for three conventions.
  As an active member of her community, she is a recipient of the 
Outstanding Community Service Award. She has served on the Polk 
Education Association, Polk County Opportunity Council, Polk County 
Voters League, Girls and Boys Club, and Girls, Inc. She is also a 
lifetime member of the NAACP and a member of the Hurst Chapel AME 
  For that, Ms. Juanita Geathers, we honor you.

                       Recognizing Monica Readus

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Monica Readus.
  Monica Readus is a wife, mother, business owner, and real estate 
professional. She was born in Detroit, Michigan.
  After moving to Texas, Monica became aware of a shift in the 
political climate. After the 2004 Presidential race, Democrats were 
discouraged and Dallas Republicans were running unopposed. It was at 
that time that Monica took time away from the company's day-to-day 
operations to become a full-time volunteer for the Collin County 
Democratic Party office in Plano, Texas.
  Since then, Monica has worked with candidates and campaign managers, 
coordinated grassroots efforts for local and Federal elections, and 
fundraised for candidates and more. In 2011 Monica moved to Florida 
where she immediately began coordinating grassroots efforts for 
Organizing for America by spearheading daily phone banks. She then 
joined the Democratic Women's Club of Florida of West Orange County, 
serving as its first president.
  She now happily serves as the Democratic Women's Club of Florida 
Region 9 chair, serving nearly 600 members and the chair of the Annual 
PerSisters Rally in celebration of Democratic Women's Month.
  For that, Monica Readus, we honor you.

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                    Recognizing Lisa Santoni Cromar

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Lisa Santoni Cromar.
  Lisa Santoni Cromar is a legally deaf Puerto Rican woman. She is the 
mother to two boys, Nicholas and William, and the wife to Scott Cromar. 
She was born in 1962 to Puerto Rican parents, Trina and Jose Santoni. 
Her early career was in corporate IT. At age 30, she divorced her first 
husband and went to work for the domestic violence agency that helped 
her leave. After meeting her husband, Scott, he had a friend running 
for Congress, which presented an opportunity to transition to political 
consulting and issue advocacy. She has served as voting chair and co-
chair, and is now an executive board member of the Women's March of 
  In 2003, the longtime consequences of her Meniere's disease became 
unbearable, resulting in severe hearing loss. In 2016, Lisa moved to 
Longwood, Florida. Like everyone else in her new community, she was 
horrified by the Pulse nightclub shooting. The lack of family support 
for some of the victims combined with memories of post-9/11 days, 
prompted Lisa to reach out to the affected communities offering a safe 
place and a safe space for frightened neighbors as well as visiting 
victims' families.
  When Hurricanes Irma and Maria worsened Puerto Rico's already 
delicate situation, Lisa refocused her advocacy efforts on achieving a 
just recovery for her islands. Lisa is currently vice president of 
Diaspora en Resistencia, an international coalition of human 
rights organizations working for a better future for Puerto Rico. She 
also sits on the steering committee for Vamos4PR.

  For that, Lisa Santoni Cromar, we honor you.

                        Recognizing Karen Green

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Karen Green.
  Reverend Dr. Karen R. Green, a proud Jamaican-born Caribbean 
American, is a former U.N. Humanitarian Religious Ambassador At Large. 
She is a tireless community advocate and social justice crusader 
fighting to enhance the rights of women, defend religious freedoms, and 
secure the civil liberties of immigrants.
  As a resident of Florida for over 20 years, Dr. Green has leveraged 
her talents as a respected political strategist, campaign manager, and 
expert mediator. She has served as the Democratic Party's former 
Caribbean Coalition Director for the State of Florida and its 
territories. Her vast political and voter advocacy record includes 
service as field officer for President Barack Obama's Presidential 
election campaign, Coalition Director for Hillary Clinton's 
Presidential primary and general election campaigns, and political 
advance to U.S. territories.
  Dr. Green has led on issues of universal healthcare, a woman's right 
to choose, and immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship under 
DAPA and DACA as well. Dr. Green is also noted to have been 
instrumental on the front lines of the fight to secure in-state tuition 
for undocumented students living in Florida.
  Dr. Green currently serves as the CEO of the Liberty and Justice for 
All Community Foundation and is the primary partner at Blue Fields 
Consultants International.
  Passion for service and a strong sense of dedication to critical 
social issues is clearly a key motivating force for Dr. Green.
  She merits these values to her Christian beliefs and cultural 
experiences as a Jamaican-born immigrant.
  She quotes Marcus Mosiah Garvey himself, a Jamaican native and noted 
civil rights leader, with: ``A people without the knowledge of their 
past history, culture, and origin is like a tree without roots.''
  And for that, Ms. Karen Green, we honor you.

                              {time}  2030

                        Recognizing Kim Porteous

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Kim Porteous.
  Kim Porteous is one of many activists ignited by the modern women's 
movement at the March on Washington, D.C., on January 24, 2017.
  She is a community organizer who is supported by a community of 
women. Although she has been involved in advocacy throughout her life, 
she knew, as a former survivor of rape, workplace sexual assaults, and 
domestic abuse, that she needed to make it her life's work to stand for 
women, sexual assault victims, the disabled, the LGBTQ community, 
immigrants, Dreamers, against climate change, for religious minorities, 
and to promote healthcare.
  She is committed to amplifying the voices of marginalized communities 
through intersectional feminism and uniting communities regardless of 
their privilege.
  The 2016 election led Kim to amplify her message of equality beyond 
her circle of friends and get out in the community to engage.
  She has had the privilege of supporting organizations and community 
partners, including the National Organization for Women, Organize 
Florida, Planned Parenthood, For Our Future, ADAPT, Rubio Tuesdays, 
Hope House, Moms Demand Action, March for Women, and Fight for $15 an 
  Kim is currently the vice president of the Greater Orlando chapter of 
the National Organization for Women and is focused on sustained action 
to achieve the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
  And for that, Ms. Kim Porteous, we honor you.

                       Recognizing Rasha Mubarak

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Rasha Mubarak.
  Rasha Mubarak is a Palestinian American Muslim community activist and 
leader who was recently named Ten People Making Orlando a Better Place 
to Be by the Orlando Weekly.
  Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in the heart of central 
Florida, she is a current facilitator for the Trust Orlando Coalition, 
helping make history by passing the first TRUST Act, not only in 
Florida but in the Southeastern region of the United States.
  Rasha also serves as a vice president for the Muslim Women's 
Organization. She is the president of the Young Democrats of Orange 
County, a media political strategist, is the president of Orlando's 
Palestine Children's Relief Fund.
  While working in the Arab American community, she helped launch 
impactful programs such as Welcoming Immigrants Now Group and its 
domestic violence program.
  A sought-after speaker about topics including Palestinian rights, 
Islamophobia, and women's representation in Islam, Rasha has been a 
grassroots organizer and speaker for statewide demonstrations and 
campaigns for interfaith work, Palestinian rights, and 
#NoMuslimBanEver, immigrant rights, and Black and Brown liberation.
  Rasha leads educational panel discussions dispelling stereotypes 
about Muslim women.
  In 2015, she cofounded Floridians Responding to Refugees, 
spearheading efforts to welcome and transition refugees.
  She was previously a mental health counseling volunteer with the 
Palestine Medical Relief Society in Ramallah, aiding women and children 
suffering from PTSD.
  And for that, Ms. Rasha Mubarak, we honor you.

                Recognizing Nicolette Fariello Springer

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Nicolette Fariello Springer.
  Nicolette is the sort of woman who does not fit conveniently into a 
mold. She is a criminologist, college educator, and a doting mother to 
her two daughters, Emmerson and Avery.
  With a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of 
Central Florida, Nicolette specializes in mental health and substance 
abuse. She was the assistant director of the Criminal Justice Mental 
Health Substance Abuse Technical Assistance Center, where she focused 
on program evaluation and policy analysis across the State of Florida.
  Nicolette's research areas include mental health court, drug court, 
and corrections. It is her work in criminal justice that informs her 
work as a community activist, championing issues around adverse 
childhood experiences, social justice, and access to education and 
  Nicolette serves as the champion leader for central and north Florida 

[[Page H2637]]

the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Campaign, which focuses on 
advocating for access to vaccines in the developing world.
  On the local front, she co-leads a Girl Scout troop of 27 girls and 
gives them the opportunity to see the best in themselves.
  Nicolette's activism led her to run for office during the historic 
Pink Wave of 2018. She parlayed her own campaign experience into a 
full-time position on a Democratic gubernatorial campaign and continues 
to advocate for progressive values.
  She is currently one of the co-chairs of the Juvenile Justice 
Committee for the Central Florida League of Women Voters and serves on 
the Victory Council for Ruth's List Florida. She is the legislative 
analyst for the League of Women Voters of Florida, empowering voters 
and helping improve the lives of all Floridians.
  For that, Nicolette Fariello Springer, we honor you.

                        Recognizing Iza Montalvo

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Iza Montalvo.
  Iza Montalvo lives in Orlando with her husband and two sons. She is 
an award-winning journalist, former news executive, radio anchor, 
television producer, and congressional staffer recognized by the United 
States Congress for her contributions to the Hispanic community. In 
2015, Vision magazine named her as one of central Florida's most 
influential Hispanics.

  Under her leadership as the former editor-in-chief of La Prensa, the 
oldest running publication in central Florida and also founded by a 
relative of mine, readership almost doubled in 1 year alone.
  As a reporter for the largest Spanish-language media outlet in the 
country, some of her stories gained national attention during her 
almost 20-year journalism career.
  While working as a reporter, she covered news events like the 
protests at the United Nations against the U.S. Navy military practices 
in the island of Vieques, protests in Times Square against the war in 
Iraq, the aftermath of 9/11, the World Economic Forum, and the New York 
  She has had the opportunity to interview high-profile politicians and 
celebrities of worldwide recognition as well as holding an exclusive 
interview with the Federal agent who stopped the 20th hijacker from 
catching a flight during the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
  Her reporting with the Puerto Rican diaspora, neglected communities 
of color, Latinx and migrant communities earned her recognitions and 
awards from the prestigious National Association of Hispanic 
  She served as the press secretary of two U.S. Representatives before 
taking her vast experience into a new business venture. She currently 
is the founder and president of the Olan Group, a purpose-led 
communications, research, and consultancy firm in Orlando.
  As an independent journalist and media strategist, she is focused on 
raising awareness about underreported issues affecting the world, like 
environmental justice and women's rights, in Spanish language and media 
outlets covering the Latinx experience in the U.S.
  She also served as our press secretary from 2017 to 2018 and did an 
absolutely fantastic job.
  And for that, Ms. Iza Montalvo, we honor you.

            Recognizing Dr. Catherine ``Elizabeth'' McCarthy

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Dr. Catherine ``Elizabeth'' McCarthy.
  Dr. Elizabeth McCarthy currently serves as the legislative director 
for the Florida LGBT Democratic Caucus and as federal chair of the 
Democratic Women's Club of Florida.
  Born in Richmond, Virginia, she moved to Florida in 1981. After 
attending high school in Pasco County, she attended the University of 
Florida and Florida State University on basketball scholarships and 
graduated from Florida State in 1992 with a degree in criminology.
  She then went back to school to become a nurse. After spending 25 
years working as a cardio operating room registered nurse for the 
Florida Heart Group, she decided to attend medical school at the 
University of Central Florida and soon became a cardiologist.
  Elizabeth was working at Orlando Regional Medical Center the night of 
the horrific Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. As a doctor, 
her work was vital in saving the lives of many victims and members of 
our community. She was able to remove 77 bullets out of 32 victims.
  As a member of the LGBT community and an LGBT activist, she now 
serves on the One Pulse Foundation Memorial Task Force, established to 
create a sanctuary of hope and to grant care for the families of 
victims and survivors.
  And for that, Dr. Elizabeth McCarthy, we honor you.

                     Recognizing Ann Marie Siefker

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Ann Marie Siefker.
  Ann Marie Siefker was born on May 8, 1957. She attended Cardinal 
Gibbons High School and graduated from Florida Atlantic University with 
a degree in education.
  Ann was a special education teacher at West Orange High School, a 
longtime member of the Classroom Teachers Association, and taught 
children for over 30 years.
  Ann joined God on November 18, 2018, and we are recognizing her 
posthumously. She is survived by her mother, Mary; her brothers, Joseph 
and James; and her sister, Joan.
  Ms. Ann Marie Siefker, for that, we honor you.

                Recognizing Christina Whitfield Atkinson

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Christina Whitfield Atkinson.
  Christina Whitfield Atkinson resides with her husband, Jeffrey; their 
four dogs; and is supported by her son, Thomas; two stepdaughters, 
Mariah and Amber; and her four grandchildren.
  She has long believed women are the backbone to any successful, 
prosperous society. She has earned both a bachelor's and master's 
degree in business administration and has worked for the past 20 years 
in multiple professional capacities, including owning a dental supply 
company; working in risk management, internet security, insurance 
claims, as an adjunct university professor; and has dedicated hundreds 
of hours to various charities.
  She believes in promoting a philosophy of integrity and honor through 
giving back to those who have given her so much. She believes there is 
no greater honor than participating in and promoting philanthropic 
  In January 2018, after leaving her role in corporate America, she was 
appointed as the VA representative for Soldiers' Angels. As the wife of 
an Air Force veteran, sister to a Navy veteran, and mother-in-law to an 
Active-Duty Army soldier, Christina was thrilled to volunteer for one 
of the highest ranked 501(c)3 organizations, which is dedicated to 
supporting our military veterans.
  Christina oversees a diverse group of volunteers in the Orlando area 
who visit veterans who are patients at the VA Hospital at Lake Nona; 
help with veteran support events, including distributing gifts and 
blankets from the community; and oversee the monthly mobile food 
distribution, which provides 200 low-income veterans 50 pounds of food 
each month.

  If she is not at the VA supporting our veterans, she is reaching deep 
into the community to find other groups and business and community 
leaders to help our military veterans.
  Her love of the military is her primary focus in all she does and is 
permanently ingrained in her.
  And for that, Ms. Christina Whitfield Atkinson, we honor you.

                      Recognizing Chloe C. Battle

  Mr. SOTO. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Women's History Month, I want to 
recognize Chloe C. Battle.
  Chloe Battle works in Orlando, Florida, as the executive director for 
the local food pantry called Servant's Heart Ministry. The faith-based 
organization feeds children, seniors, and other vulnerable individuals 
through community partnerships by providing basic needs, empowering 
people to grow and thrive in their own neighborhoods, and offering 
opportunities for people to serve.
  Ms. Battle's mission is to feed the hungry, and she also advocates 
for building relationships, which she says is the most important part 
of serving and is the cornerstone for community

[[Page H2638]]

health. When you get to know a family at the interpersonal level, their 
needs become more apparent and easier to address, and resources 
provided become more meaningful to them.
  Before entering the nonprofit sector, Ms. Battle acquired her 
bachelor of science in psychology from Indiana University, working out 
of a prestigious child development lab. She developed a keen interest 
in health psychology and social work and, from there, maintained a 
personal commitment to caregiving, family, advocacy, and community 
  Ms. Battle cites that her strength comes from God and personal 
experience, and her growth as a leader and community partner drives her 
forward to show others how everyone can do something and that education 
and nurturing is the key to the success of all families.
  And for that, Ms. Chloe C. Battle, we honor you.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.