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Needham’s Arrieta-Ruetenik an Unsung Heroine

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Georgina Arrieta-Ruetenik of Needham was named a member of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2019 class of Unsung Heroines. Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham) nominated Arrieta-Ruetenik for this recognition because of her behind-the-scenes activism and commitment to serving the community of Needham. Arrieta-Ruetenik was honored with 130 other Unsung Heroines for her outstanding service in a ceremony on Tuesday, June 18, in the Great Hall at the State House in Boston.

Arrieta-Ruetenik is a 17-year Needham resident well known for her local activism. She is a Town Meeting Member in her third term, as well as a member of the League of Women Voters, the Needham Democratic Town Committee, and Progressive Needham. She has also held board positions with several other organizations in town, including the Needham Education Foundation, Community Center of Needham, Needham Women’s Club, and Parent Talk. In 2011, she co-founded Needham Grassroots, an organization that helps connect people in the community to social action opportunities. In 2018, she began organizing #FamiliesBelongTogether/#WednesdayWitness, a weekly vigil on the Needham Town Common to draw attention to the children who have been forcibly separated from their parents seeking asylum in the United States.

In her spare time, Arrieta-Reutenik is an avid photographer; her work has been featured by a variety of organizations and publications, including the Hometown Weekly, Needham Times, the New England Innocence Project, and the Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition. Arrieta-Ruetenik is also involved in caring for our youngest residents. She has been a kindergarten teaching assistant for 13 years and, through her service as a crossing guard, she makes sure the youngest Needhamites get to school safely.

“I am incredibly grateful for Georgina’s endless dedication to our town and her deep commitment to justice,” said Senator Rausch. “She has an enormous heart and an infectious smile, which she shares all over town. Through her community service, activism, and leadership, she has provided tremendous support to countless Needhamites. Women like Georgina make our community stronger, and Needham is a better place because of her.”

The Unsung Heroines are described by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as women who may not make the news, but make the difference. They are the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities and towns. They are mentors, volunteers, and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. Arrieta-Ruetenik fits all of these descriptions.

The ceremony included a program emceed by MCSW Chair Nina Kimball, acknowledging each of the 2019 Unsung Heroines, along with remarks from Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, and Representative Liz Malia, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. The ceremony was followed by a group photograph and a “Just Desserts” reception.

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