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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

Andrea Skorepa Advocates for San Ysidro

Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

Sept. 13
By Monica Medina
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Andrea Skorepa is a Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero who lives and breathes San Ysidro – both as a passionate advocate, and as a life-long resident of the town by the border.

Vinnie Pompei Creates Safe Haven for LGBT Children

LGBT Pride Month 2013 Honoree

June 6
By Monica Medina
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Vincent “Vinnie” Pompei will never forget the first time he witnessed the bullying. He was a newly-hired teacher at a Los Angeles County middle school. It was recess, and when he heard the words one child shouted to another, it struck a chord deep inside, leaving him cold and shaking.

LGBT Local Heroes Max Disposti and Carolyn Bolton Achieve Success Together

LGBT Pride Month 2013 Honoree

June 6
By Monica Medina
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When it comes to collaboration, seems to me that the key to success is in finding balance. At least, that’s been the case for Max Disposti and Carolyn Bolton, who for the past five years have been working together effectively. And, the way they make it work is by building on each other’s strengths.

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy Online Screening Tonight

May 22
By Monica Medina
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As a kid from New York, you could say I grew up in the wings of the Broadway stage. After all, my mother took me to see many a Saturday matinee of Broadway’s best. By the time I was 12 I had seen my fill. “The Sound of Music,” starring Mary Martin, “My Fair Lady” with Julie Andrews, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” with Robert Morse, and “Fiddler on the Roof,” starring the incomparable Zero Mostel, to name just a few.

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.