Becky Perry of Boulder Creek has dedicated her life to making a difference.
Perry, 52, is a Chinese-American born in San Francisco. Her family settled in Boulder Creek in 1996, though she found herself unsettled.
"I did not feel really comfortable in the community, so I went around and quizzed every Asian I noticed on the street," she said.
She discovered 60 families in San Lorenzo Valley and started the Asian Woman’s Network.
"It was a support group, a social group and a way to clarify our identities," she said.
But she was the spark plug of the group, and when she left the country for a few months, the group disbanded.
In 1998, after a racial incident at SLV High School, a group called the Equity Committee was formed, consisting of school administrators, teachers, students and community members. The committee works to eliminate prejudice and inter-group conflict in the schools and the community.
Perry is currently co-chairwoman of the group, which conducts workshops at San Lorenzo middle and high schools to give students tools to combat racism and to respect different cultures.
"Fear, she said, "is the glue that keeps us stuck from developing honest relationships with others. I believe that as long as there is fear in the world, there will be racism and prejudice. I must do what I can to make a difference."
Other helpful endeavors
Recently, she and her husband, Ron, visited their daughter, Elise, in the African nation of Namibia, where Elise is a Peace Corps volunteer.
"I am proud of my daughter, who is building a classroom and teaches math and science," Perry said.
While in Africa, the Perrys also traveled to Swaziland and Bulembu, a town created to care for some of the 600,000 orphans whose parents have died from AIDS.
"It broke our hearts to see so much suffering," Perry said, "but there are Westerners and Africans on the site helping to make a difference."
Her mission to help others even led her to her husband, who Perry met at a recreation center for the disabled, where both were employed.
"My career has included being a teacher of the developmentally disabled in San Mateo and in Los Gatos," she said. "My husband went into computers, and we needed to find a place where the living would be good and the commuting was doable."
Boulder Creek met their criteria.
Her son, Isaac, attends California State University, Fresno, and is studying to be a physical therapist. Her husband is a director of Redwood Technology, a British-based company that develops voice-processing systems for Europe and Malaysia.
Perry is a Methodist aiming to "live my life to do justice, love, kindness and walk humbly with God."
"I am studying to be a lay pastor, and I am helping the Methodist congregation to grow by reaching out to seniors and children," she said.
Perry’s hobbies include knitting, guitar playing, singing and gardening.
After being deeply involved for the past decade, Perry finally feels comfortable in Boulder Creek.
"I feel at peace with myself, the community and the possibilities for attitude changes," she said.
To learn more about the Equity Committee, e-mail Perry at email@example.com.