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Hey Neighbor!

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

Sophak Yem Stands Up For Human Rights

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

May 15
By Monica Medina
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There are little girls who dream of princesses, playing with friends, or discovering a new and exciting book. And, there is Sophak Yem. What she longed for were gooseberries, a bright green berry that grows wild in Cambodia and has a particularly tart taste. Gooseberries. How she loved them when served with a mixture of salt and chili mixture. For Yem, a 2013 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Local Hero honoree, growing up in a Cambodian concentration camp, gooseberries represented one of the few joys in her young life.

Elmer Bisarra Helps HIV Patients Heal

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

May 15
By Monica Medina
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Elmer Bisarra learned early on what was expected of him. As the son of a Filipino father and a Chinese Hawaiian mother, he knew that the man is supposed to be the provider for his family, and that women serve best as educators, healers and nurturers. He remembers how this belief was embedded in his culture, passed down to him by his parents.

And, The 2013 One Book Selection Is…

May 14
By Monica Medina
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The verdict is in. The new One Book, One San Diego selection has been chosen. Starting in October, this will be the book that the entire community will come together to read for one extraordinary purpose—to enrich our lives through reading, and discover new worlds while sharing a common experience.

Local Hero Sy Brenner Advocates for Veterans

Jewish American Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

May 1
By Monica Medina
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For years, Sy Brenner kept it bottled inside, blocking it out of his memory while moving on with his life. After all, the war was over, and he was no longer being held captive.

Yale Strom, A Champion for Klezmer

Jewish Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

May 1
By Monica Medina
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Listen to klezmer music and it will harken you back to another time. Rich with tradition, the haunting melodies are a testament to the Jewish people and all they’ve endured throughout the course of history. To me, klezmer has the capacity to reach into our hearts and stir us to feel its beauty and soul.

Savor San Diego with Su-Mei Yu

April 25
By Monica Medina
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For as long as she can remember, Su-Mei Yu’s dream was to leave her home in Thailand to come to America. So, when the opportunity arose at the age of 15, she seized it.

Here for Each Other When Tragedy Strikes

April 16
By Monica Medina
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Whenever tragedy strikes, in any part of our country, it affects us all. We go into shock, disbelief, sadness and grief. We become riveted to our television sets, radios, computers, and smart phones, craving every bit of news available. And, the horrors of the day are played over and over until they become embedded in our hearts and minds.

Frank Meeink: Transforming Hate

April 10
By Monica Medina, Ashley Rodriguez
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What does evil look like? Just ask Frank Meeink, who became a skinhead at age 13, and spent years struggling with the demons inside him—the ones that caused him to pick fights for no reason, sometimes beating his victims senseless. It took incarceration to help him turn his life around, a life that was captured in the film, American History X.

San Diego Cooks: El Borrego

April 3
By Monica Medina
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When Rodnia Novarro and her mother Rosario Sotelo opened El Borrego, a restaurant in the heart of El Cajon Boulevard nearly eight years ago, it was with one purpose in mind: to bring to San Diego the traditional cuisine of Southern Mexico, from barbacoa to green pozole.

Women’s History Month Online Screening

March 27
By Monica Medina
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I was but a little girl when I started hearing the first rumblings of the Feminist Movement. As I grew older it was fascinating to see it all unfold—from the Feminine Mystique, to the protests and marches on the nation’s capital, to Erica Jong’s best-selling book, “Fear of Flying,” and to the launch of Ms. magazine, and my very first copy at the age of sixteen.

San Diego Cooks: Flavors of East Africa

March 20
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June Owino, who hails from Kenya, is a gregarious man who loves telling stories and making people laugh. He arrived in San Diego in 2001, with the idea that he would find work as an accountant, which is his area of expertise. But when the downturn in the economy came and he found himself without a job, he began to look around to figure out what else he could do.

One Book, One San Diego—Nominate a Book!

March 13
By Monica Medina
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One Book, One San Diego is off and running. Or, to put it in the words of Sherlock Holmes, “The game is afoot!” All this month, you have the unique opportunity to help choose the next One Book.

Marcela Zhou: Face of the Young Undocumented

March 6
By Monica Medina
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Marcela Zhou, an engaging young woman, is a recent graduate from UCSD, who earned her B.S. in Human Biology in just three years. Soft spoken and polite, she smiles brightly when she thinks about all she has been able to achieve.

For Amina Sheik Mohamed, Women’s Health is First

Women's History Month: 2013 Honoree

March 1
By Monica Medina
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San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood is home to one of the largest Somali populations in the nation. Many arrived here as refugees in the early 1990s, during a time of civil war strife in Somalia. One of those who settled here at that time is Amina Sheik Mohamed. Today she is manager of the African American Campaign for the Network for a Healthy California operated locally from the University of California, San Diego. She is also a 2013 Women’s History Month Local Hero honoree.

Ginita Wall and Candace Bahr Teach Women to Become Financially Savvy

Women's History Month: 2013 Honoree

March 1
By Monica Medina
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Two decades ago, in the throes of my divorce, I discovered a workshop that became my lifeline. It’s called Second Saturday: Divorce Workshop for Women, and for me, participating in it helped me get through one of the most difficult, wrenching periods of my life.