Union Bank, KCETLink Honor Los Angeles Asian Pacific Americans as Local Heroes

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As part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and responsible banking, and in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Union Bank, N.A. has partnered with KCETLink to honor two inspiring Asian Pacific Americans as part of the Local Heroes program.

As part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and responsible banking, and in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Union Bank, N.A. has partnered with KCETLink to honor two inspiring Asian Pacific Americans as part of the Local Heroes program. The program recognizes and pays tribute to exemplary leaders who are making a difference and enriching the lives of others by improving their profession, community, region and the world. The 2013 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month honorees are: Mdm. Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto and Nobuko Miyamoto.

Earlier this year, honorees were identified during Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March) and will also be identified for Jewish American Heritage Month (May); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month (June); and Hispanic Heritage Month (September/October). The year-long program will culminate in October 2013, when the honorees will be formally recognized as part of the 16th annual Local Heroes Awards, which Union Bank sponsors. Since 1998, KCETLink and Union Bank have collaborated on the Local Heroes initiative and honored more than 150 outstanding community leaders.

“It is an honor to be a part of this nearly 20-year tradition of recognizing these individuals who have contributed so much to their communities,” said Union Bank Senior Executive Vice President Pierre P. Habis, head of Community Banking. “We are honored to share this long-term partnership with KCETLink, as we recognize the accomplishments of many more local heroes.”

“KCETLink is pleased to partner with Union Bank as we pay tribute to these two inspiring local heroes,” said KCETLink Chief Executive Officer Al Jerome. “They have made unique and valuable contributions to Los Angeles, and we are happy to introduce them to our viewers through the video profiles airing on KCET throughout Asian Pacific American Heritage Month as we also acknowledge the many achievements of the Asian Pacific American community.”

The 2013 honorees for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month are:

Japanese Chado Tea Ceremony Master Mdm. Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto is one of the most influential teachers in the United States. An accomplished master of chado, or the “way of the tea,” Mdm. Matsumoto introduced chado to American culture after World War II and has instructed more than 5,000 students. She has conducted chado ceremonies to countless diplomats and politicians, including President Harry S. Truman, Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida and 3,000 other participants during the signing of the Treaty of Peace with Japan in 1951. Her ceremonies have been featured in films and on television. In 1989, Mdm. Matsumoto received the title Meiyo Shihan, or Honored Master, from her instructor Soshitsu Sen., the highest teaching certificate available for instructors. In 1990, she was the recipient of the Fifth Order of the Merit (The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Rays) from the Emperor of Japan, and in 1994, she was named a National Heritage Fellow from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Nobuko Miyamoto is artistic director and founder of Great Leap, a multicultural arts organization that uses art as performance and creative practice to deepen relations among diverse cultures and faiths. Founded in 1978, Great Leap initially served as a creative voice for the Asian American community, but after the Los Angeles Riots in 1992, the organization embraced Los Angeles’ other diverse cultural communities. Ms. Miyamoto’s experience in the performing arts spans more than 50 years. As a dancer, choreographer, actor and composer, she has performed on Broadway and in such films as “The King and I” and "West Side Story." She discovered her voice as an activist and singer in the 1970s, co-creating the first album of Asian American songs, “A Grain of Sand.” As artistic director of Great Leap, she created scores for theater, dance and solo albums. Ms. Miyamoto has taught workshops at many universities, including UCLA and Columbia University Teachers College. In 2006, she received the California Arts Council Director’s Award. In 2003, Ms. Miyamoto received the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award.

Throughout the respective commemorative heritage months, KCET, the Southern and Central California public broadcast service of KCETLink, will air a video profile of each honoree, highlighting how they have made a difference in their community. The 2013 on-air profiles can be viewed on the Web at kcet.org/socal/ local_heroes. KCET showcases the rich, vibrant history and cultural diversity of our region with special programs during the respective heritage months and throughout the year. For more information about the Local Heroes program, or to nominate a 2014 local hero, please also visit unionbank.com/heroes.

About UnionBanCal Corporation & Union Bank, N.A.
Headquartered in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation is a financial holding company with assets of $97 billion at March 31, 2013. Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. The bank operated 443 branches in California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, and New York as well as two international offices, on March 31, 2013. UnionBanCal Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, one of the world's largest financial organizations. Visit http://www.unionbank.com for more information.

About KCETLink
KCETLink is the new national independent public transmedia organization formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, its content is distributed nationally via satellite on DirecTV and DISH, in Southern and Central California via broadcast, as well as via various digital delivery systems. KCET and Link TV are services of KCETLink. For additional information about KCETLink productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org.

Tanya Peebles-Hill, 213-236-5329
Veronica Castro 213-236-7985
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