Picture: 2023 Blacktown City Woman of the Year Emie Roy (centre) with Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM and Deputy Mayor Julie Griffiths.

On Wednesday 8 March, Blacktown City Council hosted its annual International Women’s Day Breakfast and announced its 2023 Woman of the Year.

Quakers Hill storyteller and mentor, Emie Roy, has been named as the 2023 Blacktown City Woman of the Year.

Blacktown Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, said the 22 nominees were all deserving recipients of the award and demonstrated significant commitment to their work and community.

“On International Women’s Day, we come together to celebrate the strength, the leadership and the achievements of the women and girls in our community,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

“Blacktown City Council marks International Women’s Day to celebrate the successes and achievements of women, but also, to spotlight the challenges and issues we must continue to address.

“The Blacktown City Woman of the Year for 2023, Ms Roy, is deeply passionate in her storytelling and documenting the lives and challenges of women, in particular, in Western Sydney.

“Ms Roy is the founder of ‘The Stories Untold’, a platform through which she shares stories about the lives of people in Blacktown City and beyond.

“Mr Roy is a dedicated voice for the Blacktown City community and her work is a testament to the passion she has to spotlight issues and start important conversations.

“I congratulate Ms Roy and the six finalists on their hard work and dedication.”

In 2022, she curated and co-edited the book, ‘The Light at the End of the Tunnel’, a collection of stories about the pandemic from people across Greater Sydney.

Ms Roy wrote and directed the documentary ‘Unlocked’, which explores how the pandemic changed the lives of four people living in Western Sydney.

She is also a mentor and speaker,who inspires women from diverse backgrounds by challenging traditional gender stereotypes.

Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Blacktown City Women’s Advisory Committee, Councillor Julie Griffiths, said Council was deeply committed to improving the lives of women and addressing the issues which affect women’s health, safety and quality of life.

“This International Women’s Day urges us all to embrace equity, as a means to achieve real gender equality,” Cr Griffiths said.

“Greater representation and participation of women, equals more equitable outcomes, that more accurately reflect the needs of our community.

“On International Women’s Day and every day of the year, I urge everyone to play their part in advocating for a gender equal world.

“Challenge gender stereotypes when you hear them. Call out discrimination when you see it. And seek out inclusion wherever you can.”

2023 Blacktown City Woman of the Year finalists

Bindu Khattar

Ms Khattar contributes to the local community by helping and working with all types of people from different cultures and backstories.

As a migrant woman, she is able to connect with people of various cultures by working with them and helping them adapt to Australian society, while creating space for them to share their culture.

She teaches English and works with refugee children to help them feel comfortable in their new home.

Danielle Rawnsley-Galistan

Ms Rawnsley-Galistan is a cancer survivor who established Creative Groundz Studio in Lalor Park as a community artist. The Studio has grown over the years as a not-for-profit venture, with a free weekly food bank and elder’s group.

She works with people with disabilities and mental health issues to make therapy dolls to support victims of trauma and abuse.

Ms Rawnsley-Galistan is a dedicated organiser of key events in Lalor park, including local Anzac services, NAIDOC Day and Sorry Day events, as well as the Lalor Park Carols.

Tamika Worrell

Ms Worrell is an inspiring young First Nations woman who advocates for issues affecting her community.

She is a community leader who is undertaking her PhD while working full time. She works with First Nations students to achieve their goals and realise their potential.

Ms Worrell is an empowering pillar of positivity and has been described as one of the most ‘deadly’ and inspirational First Nations community leaders.

Kylie Smith

Ms Smith works tirelessly in Blacktown City for the suicide prevention program, Safe Space, using her own lived experience to help others in distress.

In 2014, Ms Smith founded ‘Embracing Arms Peer Support Community’, a safe and welcoming platform which connects people experiencing mental distress.

In 2022, she was named the 2022 Commissioner’s Community Champion by New South Wales Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey. She was also recognised at Blacktown City’s Disability Awards as the 2022 Inspirational Person of the Year.

Lua Rose Pellegrini

Ms Pellegrini makes an outstanding contribution to her community by serving on three Blacktown City Council advisory committees.

She was the chair of the New South Wales Youth Advisory Council in 2021-2022 and supports the MURRAY-TOOLA DAMANA Community Preschool.

Ms Pellegrini is passionate about Indigenous education and, as a proud Wiradjuri woman, mentoring young Indigenous women in schools.

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