Bess Watts, president of Rochester Pride at Work AFL-CIO Chapter, was the recipient of the New York State Senate Women of Distinction Award from Sen. Jeremy Cooney (D-Rochester).
Watts was chosen because of her advocacy and activism with the labor and LGBTQ+ communities. A veteran of the U.S. Army, she devoted her professional life to advocating for workers’ rights, especially as they pertain to the LGBTQ+ community.
“Bess is a tireless champion for equity among those who historically have faced discrimination, advocating for workers’ rights and rights for LGBTQ+ community members with kindness and strength,” Cooney said in a news release. “Her commitment to raising awareness of the intersectionality of workers’ rights and LGBTQ+ rights is worthy of this special state recognition, and I am honored to name her as a woman of distinction.”
Said Steve Healy, president of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Western Region: “Since she began her tenure at CSEA, Bess Watts has been a true advocate in every sense of the word,. She has been an integral part of not only the labor movement here in Western New York, but of establishing such a strong intersection between labor and LGBTQ+ rights. Watts is the quintessence of a leader. She has the strength, compassion and spirit to be an inspiration for those in the labor and LGBTQ+ communities.”
Each state senator may select one individual per year to honor with the award, recognizing fierce advocacy for change.
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