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Sustaining Our Democracy: 10th Annual Luncheon


DWMC is proud to honor two incredible citizen activists:

Karen E. Smith Araujo


George Riley


Karen Araujo found her calling as a social justice advocate and human and worker rights activist at the age of 14.

As  a life-long Roosevelt Democrat, she is active in leadership roles with the Democratic Party,  serving as 1st Vice Chair of the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee, and a club member of the  Democratic Women of Monterey County and Progressive Democrats of America, Monterey Area Chapter. At the state level, she has convened the CA Democratic Party Assembly District 30 Election Meeting and is a member of the CA Democratic Party Women’s Caucus, CA Democratic Party Progressive Caucus, and CA Democratic Party Labor Caucus.

Karen has been recognized as an effective community advocate by many local electeds and has received numerous awards for her service and leadership. She currently works  for the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council as Administrative Coordinator and is a respected leader for women’s rights, immigrant rights, and homeless rights serving as a founding volunteer with Gatherings for Women, on the planning committee for the Women’s March Monterey Bay, on the Steering Committee and Chair of the Peace Coalition of Monterey County, the Northern California Coordinator of the National Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, co-chair of the Pajaro Primero Stop Super WalMart Campaign, and Board of the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP).

DWMC is proud to honor Karen for her work to protect the human rights of all people while promoting social justice and protecting our environment for future generations.


After serving in the US Navy, George Riley completed his service in the US Navy in 1962. He has worked in local government management including twenty-five years in the County of San Mateo as Executive Director of the Human Resources Commission, Executive Assistant to the County Manager, and finally retiring after serving fifteen years as the Director of Housing and Community Services.

George retired to Monterey in 1997 where he began his second “career” as a community activist, founding Citizens for Public Water in 2005, then later in 2013, co-founding Public Water Now, and a co-leading 2014’s unsuccessful Measure O campaign. Ever the optimist, he persevered to lead the 2018 Measure J campaign to success ultimately directing the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to complete a feasibility study on a public buyout of California American Water’s Monterey System.

In 2018, George was elected to the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District where he serves as Chair of the Administrative Committee, on the Water Supply Planning Committee, the Seaside Groundwater Basin Watermaster Board, and alternate on the Monterey County Special Districts’ Association;

He currently serves on California State University, Monterey Bay’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Program Committee, the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters in Monterey County, and actively volunteers his time for the Progressive Democrats for America, the Peace Coalition, the Green Party, and Veterans for Peace.

DWMC is proud to recognize George Riley for his lifetime of public service and environmental activism and for protecting our environment for future generations.