We are excited to celebrate the 2013 Local Heroes honorees who give so much of themselves.
(PRWEB) October 22, 2013
As part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and responsible banking, Union Bank has joined KCETLink to honor 12 inspirational individuals at the 16th Annual Local Heroes Awards. The honorees are announced as part of the 2013 Local Heroes Program, which recognizes and pays tribute to exemplary leaders who are making a difference and enriching the lives of others by improving their workplace, community, region and the world. The year-long celebration of diversity culminates with an awards ceremony on Oct. 22, 2013, where recipients will be formally recognized. The event will air for the first time on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at 8 p.m. on KCET.
The 2013 Local Heroes honorees are: Angeles Echols-Brown and Richard Allen Williams, M.D., FACC, FAHA (Black History Month); Gail Farber and Belinda Smith Walker (Women’s History Month); Harry Corre and Janice Kamenir-Reznik (Jewish American Heritage Month) Madame Sosei Matsumoto and Nobuko Miyamoto (Asian Pacific American Heritage Month); Thomas T. Carpenter, Esq. and Kalil Cohen (LGBT Pride Month); and Father Richard Estrada and Robert García (Hispanic Heritage Month).
“We are excited to celebrate the 2013 Local Heroes honorees who give so much of themselves,” said Union Bank Senior Executive Vice President Pierre P. Habis, head of Community Banking. “We are proud of our expanded partnership with KCETLink and look forward to celebrating the achievements of many more heroes as part of our nearly 20-year tradition in Los Angeles.”
“KCETLink joins Union Bank in recognizing 12 incredible individuals, who dedicate their lives to serving others and the community,” said Al Jerome, chief executive officer of KCETLink. “We are pleased to showcase their tireless efforts at this special awards ceremony, and we are delighted to air the Local Heroes Awards for the second time on our station.”
The 2013 Local Heroes honorees are:
Black History Month
Angeles Echols-Brown -- founder and executive director of Educating Young Minds (EYM), a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization she started in 1987. EYM, which provides help with homework, mentoring and counseling for students, from kindergarteners to high school seniors and their parents, has grown to help more than 3,500 inner-city students. Mrs. Echols-Brown’s passion is also reflected in her previous work as an instructor, tutor, counselor and teacher at Harvard University’s Upward Bound program, Chaffey College and Los Angeles’ Trinity Lutheran School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and has been recognized nationally for her outstanding work.
Richard Allen Williams, M.D., FACC, FAHA -- clinical professor of medicine at UCLA School of Medicine and president and CEO of the Minority Health Institute (MHI). MHI’s mission is to educate physicians, healthcare professionals and the public about ways to improve health services to African Americans and other minorities in Los Angeles. The organization offers health fairs, seminars and lectures that encourage a preventive approach to improving health and scholarships for minority students who wish to pursue a career in medicine. Dr. Williams wrote Textbook of Black-Related Diseases and served as the first assistant medical director of Martin Luther King, Jr. General Hospital, and later secured $2.4 million to develop the King-Drew Sickle Cell Center.
Women’s History Month
Gail Farber -- the first female director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, one of the largest public works agencies in the United States. She is also the county road commissioner, county engineer, and chief engineer of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. Ms. Farber was instrumental in the development of the Women’s Leadership Conference, and she is developing outreach programs for students to encourage careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She received a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and spent 19 years with Caltrans. Ms. Farber previously served as director of public works/city engineer for the cities of Pico Rivera and Orange, California.
Belinda Smith Walker – founding board of directors member of New Village Charter School, an all-girls high school that was established to meet the educational needs of young women with school histories marked by pregnancy, parenting and other hardships. Ms. Walker is also a founding executive director and board member of Girls & Gangs, a nonprofit that provides young women in the juvenile justice system with community re-entry services. She co-founded the Los Angeles Women’s Foundation (LAWF), a community-based foundation that provided grants and technical support to empower women and girls in Los Angeles. The LAWF later merged with its sister organization in San Francisco to become the Women’s Foundation of California, and Ms. Walker served on its governing board.
Jewish American Heritage Month
Harry Corre -- a World War II veteran and a patient advocate at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, where he helped hundreds of veterans obtain healthcare. Mr. Corre is also a veteran’s service officer for American Ex-Prisoners of War, a nonprofit organization. He is the American Ex-Prisoners of War coordinator for the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and the Los Angeles VA Regional Office. Mr. Corre was the West Los Angeles chapter commander for the American Ex-Prisoners of War for six years, state commander for two years and now serves as the West Los Angeles chapter adjutant.
Janice Kamenir-Reznik -- co-founder and president of Jewish World Watch (JWW), a nonprofit organization established in 2004 with Rabbi Harold Schulweis. JWW has raised more than $11 million to provide relief and support to survivors of genocide and mass atrocities taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Ms. Kamenir-Reznik also serves as a commissioner of the Los Angeles County Citizens’ Economy and Efficiency Commission. She previously practiced law as a partner of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler and Mitchell. She has served on various boards and committees, including as president of California Women Lawyers and the California Women’s Law Center. Ms. Kamenir-Reznik earned her master’s degrees from USC and from Hebrew Union College and her bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees from UCLA
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Madame Sosei Matsumoto -- an accomplished master of chado, or the “way of the tea.” .Madame Matsumoto introduced chado to American culture after World War II and has instructed thousands of students. She has conducted chado ceremonies to 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. Madame Matsumoto received the title Meiyo Shihan, or Honored Master, the highest teaching certificate available for instructors, and she was the recipient of the Fifth Order of the Merit from the Emperor of Japan. She was later named a National Heritage Fellow from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Nobuko Miyamoto -- artistic director and founder of Great Leap, a multicultural arts organization founded in 1978 that uses art as performance and creative practice to deepen relations among diverse cultures and faiths. Ms. Miyamoto’s experience in the performing arts spans more than 50 years. She has performed on Broadway and in such films as “The King and I” and "West Side Story." Ms. Miyamoto co-created the first album of Asian American songs, “A Grain of Sand.” She has taught workshops at 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.
LGBT Pride Month
Thomas T. Carpenter, Esq. -- co-chair of the Forum of Military Chaplaincy and former board member of Service members Legal Defense Network (SLDN). Mr. Carpenter drafted white papers and organized military personnel until “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed. He organized SLDN’s Military Outreach Committee, and was a member of its Military Advisory Council. Mr. Carpenter also helped establish and merge OutServe-SLDN, the non-profit organization that defends and empowers LGBT service members, veterans and their families. He is currently an attorney at LaMontagne and Amador, LLP and Conegy Consulting. Mr. Carpenter frequently blogs about LGBT issues in outlets such as LGBT POV and the Huffington Post. He has received numerous awards for his outstanding work.
Kalil Cohen – founder of the Los Angeles Transgender Film Festival (LATFF), an event that includes international film screenings, an awards ceremony and panel discussions. Mr. Cohen’s dedication to the LGBT community is featured through his short films, “The Next Gender Nation” (2010) and “Queerer Than Thou” (2008). He is an assistant programmer of Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and also serves as director of the Southern California region of The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring (WC/AR). Mr. Cohen is a contributing writer of the blog, “Oy Gay,” and has been featured in outlets such as “The Progressive” and “Democracy Now!” Mr. Cohen received The Pride Award for Service and Dedication to the Transgender Community from Trans-Unity Pride.
Hispanic Heritage Month
Father Richard Estrada -- founder and president of the board of directors of Jovenes, Inc., a nonprofit that helps homeless youth find a safe haven with services such as case management, life skills training, and mental health. Its Continuum of Care program provides emergency shelter and transitional and permanent supportive housing to youth regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. Father Estrada served as Jovenes, Inc.’s executive director from 1991 to 2007. He is also associate pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church (La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles). Father Estrada has been recognized and awarded nationally for his exemplary work.
Robert García -- founding director and counsel of The City Project, a nonprofit legal and policy advocacy team that engages, educates and empowers communities of color and low-income communities. Mr. García and The City Project played a pivotal role in the development of the Los Angeles State Historic Park at the Cornfield on the edge of Chinatown. The City Project also helped prevent land on the Rio de Los Angeles State Park at Taylor Yard to be used to repair railroad cars. He received the President’s Award from the American Public Health Association, and has been recognized as one of the most influential Latinos in the United States by Hispanic Business Magazine.
Throughout the respective commemorative heritage months, KCET, the Southern and Central California public broadcast service of KCETLink, airs 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/heroes. KCET showcases the rich, effervescent 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.
KCETLink, formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed via satellite on DirecTV 375 and DISH Network 9410, in Southern and Central California via broadcast, as well as through various digital delivery systems. KCET and Link TV are services of KCETLink. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org.
About UnionBanCal Corporation & Union Bank, N.A.
Headquartered in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation is a financial holding company with assets of $102.3 billion at June 30, 2013. Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank, N.A., provides an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. The bank operated 422 branches in California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, and New York as well as two international offices, on June 30, 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. In July 2013, American Banker Magazine and the Reputation Institute ranked Union Bank #1 for reputation among its customers. Visit http://www.unionbank.com for more information.
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