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KPBS Celebrates Diversity

Gracia Molina Enriquez de Pick - Hispanic Heritage Honoree

Every year, KPBS recognizes heroes in San Diego's diverse communities. It's part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, and made possible through our long-standing partnership with Union Bank.

Nominate a Hero Now

LGBT Pride Month Local Hero Terry Cunningham Dedicates Life to Fighting AIDS

LGBT Pride Month 2015 Honoree

June 9
By Monica Medina
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As Cunningham recalls the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the 30 years he dedicated to combating it, the experience deeply affected him. Seeing so many around him die took its toll.

LGBT Pride Month Local Hero Christine Kehoe Improves Quality of Life for San Diegans

LGBT Pride Month 2015 Honoree

June 8
By Monica Medina
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Becoming a politician was the last thing on Christine Kehoe’s mind when she was growing up in Troy, New York. She didn’t even run for student government at her high school. Yet in 1993, Kehoe would open doors, becoming the first member of the LGBT community to hold an elected office in San Diego.

Asian Pacific Heritage Month Local Hero Azim Khamisa Teaches Principles of Non-Violence

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

May 6
By Monica Medina
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Six weeks before Tariq Khamisa's 21st birthday, on a cold Saturday night in January 1995, the San Diego State University sophomore was gunned down while delivering pizza. It was part of a gang initiation, called "Jacking the Pizza Man," and Tony Hicks, the one being initiated, fired the fatal bullet. He was 14 years old.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Local Hero Daniel Hoang Makes a Difference Through Martial Arts

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

May 5
By Monica Medina
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Daniel Hoang had set his dreams on becoming a physician. He volunteered at hospitals, and studied biochemistry at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in 1994. He worked three years at Scripps Research Institute Department of Neurobiology, where he received an Excellence Award for Research and Development.

Jewish American Heritage Month Local Hero Virginia Gordon is a Lifelong Activist

Jewish American Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

May 4
By Monica Medina
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Throughout her life, Virginia Gordon’s passion for activism has been front and center. She remembers how her grandmother Sadye was deeply involved in Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, and served as an organizer for Youth Aliya, an organization that was founded during World War II to bring Jewish children out of Germany and relocate them to England and Palestine.

Jewish American Heritage Month Local Hero Robin Rady Helps Cancer Patients Get Organized with ‘Binder of Hope’

Jewish American Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

May 1
By Monica Medina
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Four years ago, Robin Rady was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though it was caught early, it’s the kind of news that could have been enough to put anyone in a deep funk or a tailspin. But Robin, who is known for her warmth and positive energy, searched for clarity and calm. She found it in a binder–and that binder ended up seeing her through one of the toughest periods of her life, a time filled with surgeries, reconstructive surgeries, physical therapy and so much more.

Women’s History Month Local Hero Shara Fisler Helps Youth Become Scientific Leaders

Women's History Month 2015 Honoree

March 3
By Monica Medina
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Shara Fisler thrives at her job. She is the executive director for the Ocean Discovery Institute, an educational program she founded 15 years ago, in order to empower young people to explore San Diego’s coastal habitats and become scientific and environmental leaders of tomorrow. For someone who started out in life living hundreds of miles away from the nearest ocean, her passion for studying natural habitats actually began in the desert.

Women’s History Month Local Hero Starla Lewis is a Champion for Love

Women's History Month 2015 Honoree

March 2
By Monica Medina
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Children love pretend games and Starla Lewis was no different. She remembers when she was a child living with her grandmother in Springfield, Missouri, playing a game with her cousins that they called “Pretend White.”

Dr. Gail Knight Inspires as First African-American Woman Chief of Staff at Rady Children’s Hospital

Black History Month 2015 Honoree

Feb. 2
By Monica Medina
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In Dr. Gail Knight’s office is a wall of photos of patients she has treated. They are mementos of childhood milestones—birthday celebrations, family vacations and graduations. Though she hasn’t treated most of them in years, Knight's pride in them shines through. The pride in knowing that through her work these children are thriving.

Black History Month Local Heroes Jones & Wooten Strengthen Bonds Between Fathers and Children

Black History Month 2015 Honorees

Jan. 26
By Monica Medina
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Andre Jones and Aaron Wooten know first-hand the important role fathers play in the lives of their children. Jones grew up with his father, Wooten did not; and though their lives took different paths because of it, the two have come together to run Father2Child. The program has one goal: to strengthen the bonds between African-American fathers and their children.

Local Hero Daniel Calac, MD, Addresses Health in American Indian Community

American Indian Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

Nov. 4
By Monica Medina
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As a child growing up on the Pauma Indian Reservation, Daniel Calac, M.D., remembers the dirt. Literally.

Educator Roy Cook selected as 2014 American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero

American Indian Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

Oct. 29
By Monica Medina
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He is a tribal writer, self-published author, journalist, and a Native singer and American Indian artist. He’s also an educator, one who carries the teachings of his elders and passes them on to the next generation. Meet Roy Cook, a 2014 American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero.

Disability Awareness Month Local Hero Travis Ricks Helps Challenged Athletes Thrive

Disability Awareness Month 2014 Honoree

Oct. 1
By Monica Medina
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When Travis Ricks learned he had cancer in his right leg, he was a star football athlete in high school. Sports were his life. Later, when he had to make the decision whether or not to amputate the leg because his treatment options were dwindling, he said, "Let's cut it off. It's time to move on." Yet, if he could do it all over again, keep his leg and be cancer-free, he wouldn't change a thing. In losing his leg, he received something far greater: his relationship with his mother.

Disability Awareness Month Local Hero Alex Montoya ‘Swings for the Fences’

Disability Awareness Month 2014 Honoree

Sept. 30
By Monica Medina
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It began with a simple twist of fate: a chance encounter between Alex Montoya's uncle, Frank Callahan, and Harvey Fitzhugh, a man wearing a red fez.

Local Hero Myra Curiel Helps Aging Out Foster Youth with Move-in Kits

Hispanic Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

Sept. 15
By Monica Medina
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When Myra Curiel aged out of the foster care system and enrolled in Casa de Amparo’s New Directions transitional housing program in Oceanside, she received a welcome basket.

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