SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) is honoring Sonoma County resident Jackie Elward as the 2022 Fourth Assembly District Woman of the Year.
“Jackie is a symbol of resilience and strength for Assembly District 4 and everyone in California. She has served as a great leader, with strength and grace, during these most difficult times,” said Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry. “Jackie’s passionate service and commitment to her community of Rohnert Park, while building an incredible network of support for the children of her home town of Kinshasa, is simply amazing. I am honored to be associated with a person like her, and to have the privilege of naming her as my 2022 Woman of the Year.”
Elward is an immigrant born and raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and speaks six different languages. In 2000, she met her husband, John Ryan Elward, in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, while studying theology. A few years later, they immigrated to the United States to start their family. Coming to the U.S. was a huge culture shock for Jackie. In the Congo, community engagement is a vital piece of daily life, so one of the ways to overcome her culture shock was to volunteer. Whether it was at church or in her local community, Jackie always found a way to give back. Her involvement got her started on the road to public service. Jackie is the founder of Les Enfants Baobab, a non-profit based in California that supports children in Kinshasa. The non-profit gives children a second chance in life by providing them with a home, clothing and schooling.
Jackie and her husband are raising their three children in Sonoma County. For the last 10 years, they have called the city of Rohnert Park home. Their children are bilingual in French and English, having studied at the French American Charter School. Jackie is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Chico State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Central State University.
Jackie is honored to be the first Black woman elected to the City of Rohnert Park and is currently serving as the Mayor. As a public servant, Jackie wants to serve her community and keep African American history alive.
Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake and Napa Counties, parts of Colusa, Solano and Sonoma Counties, and all of Yolo County except West Sacramento.