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Local Heroes: 2014

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.

We're taking nominations for Hispanic Heritage, Disability Awareness and American Indian Heritage months until May 25, 2014.

Nominate a Hero Now

LGBT Pride Month Local Hero Robert Gleason Builds Consensus

LGBT Pride Month 2014 Honoree

June 16
By Monica Medina
Tease photo

Ask anyone who knows Robert Gleason what quality most defines him, and it's pretty much unanimous: consensus builder.

Local Hero Albert Ogle Advocates for LGBT Human Rights

LGBT Pride Month 2014 Honoree

June 13
By Monica Medina
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As a child in Belfast, the Reverend Canon Albert Ogle grew up in a place where being gay was criminalized. It was a violent time, filled with sectarian rioting, when Irish Catholics and Nationalists were demanding an end to years of discrimination. Ogle, a 2014 LGBT Pride Month Local Hero, wryly observes that despite the hostility between the factions, there was at least one item both sides could agree on.

Local Hero M.C. Madhavan Shines Light on India’s Culture & Traditions

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

May 16
By Monica Medina
Tease photo

Many of us have never been to India and chances are we never will. But it’s a country worth learning about, particularly when you consider that according to the World Economic Forum, India is expected to surpass Japan as the world’s third largest economy by 2015. What’s more, by 2030, it will supplant China as the country with the largest population.

Local Hero Dr. Allen Chan Preserves Asian Pacific Heritage

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

May 15
By Monica Medina
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Dr. Allen Chan leans in to explain to his guests, comprised of three adults and three children, the Chinese custom of finger tapping when served tea. We are sitting around a rather large, round table at the Jasmine Seafood Restaurant enjoying a bountiful meal of Dim Sum, and we also lean in order to better hear him above the din of the packed restaurant.

Local Heroes Helene Bortz and Myrice Goldberg ‘Give Good’

Jewish American Heritage Month 2014 Honorees

May 2
By Monica Medina
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Helene Bortz has just arrived. She’s in high spirits, exuding a joie de vivre and a sense of purpose, the kind that undoubtedly got her to where she is today. As she warmly greets her business partner of five years, Myrice Goldberg, a woman who seems reserved and low key in comparison, one can soon see how well they complement each other.

Local Hero Ed Samiljan Creates Jewish Continuity through Summer Camp

Jewish American Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

May 1
By Monica Medina
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Amidst the towering, aromatic pines of the San Bernardino National Forest is Camp Mountain Chai. Like most summer camps, it offers typical activities such as swimming, crafts and sing-alongs. It’s an experience that each summer draws hundreds of San Diego children, and in the process, they’re getting something else: a cultural identity.

Local Hero Vickie Turner Dreams With Her Eyes Open

Women's History Month: 2014 Honoree

March 3
By Monica Medina
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For Vickie E. Turner, becoming a lawyer wasn’t a childhood dream, but as an accountant for the Las Vegas Gaming Commission, she felt that something was lacking and wanted more. Then a friend told her he was heading to San Diego for law school. The thought intrigued her, so she went along, figuring she'd just test the waters.

Child of Nature, M. Eloise Battle, Works to Preserve Tecolote Canyon

Women's History Month: 2014 Honoree

Feb. 28
By Monica Medina
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Most people seem to have a phobia about rats, and that's just what the boys in M. Eloise Battle's school were counting on the day they tossed a large, dead one right into her bicycle basket. Battle, who was in the seventh grade at the time, didn’t notice at first, but when she did see the specimen in her basket, she exclaimed with glee, "Oh boy! I can practice mounting this!"

Montford Point Marines Jackson, Inge & Reavis: The Story Continues

Black History Month 2014 Honorees

Feb. 4
By Monica Medina
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The Montford Point Marines are a little known part of U.S. military history. Born out of necessity, when African American men were first drafted to serve in World War II, the legacy of the Marines who trained at Montford Point in North Carolina is a mirror of the times, back when segregation and discrimination were par for the course.

In the Presence of Greatness: Montford Point Marines Jackson, Inge & Reavis

Black History Month 2014 Honorees

Feb. 3
By Monica Medina
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True heroism. You can see it in their hands, brown and weathered. Their long fingers, slightly bent from the weight of the load they've had to carry. It's in their faces too, which exemplify a quiet dignity, and in their eyes, which glisten like gems from beneath the Pacific. An homage perhaps, to their time in Hawaii, Saipan, Guam and Okinawa. The crevices that line their faces and their somber, knowing smiles reveal a measure of the life they've lived.

Cosmetologist Tessie Bonner Saves Lives Through Breast Cancer Prevention

Black History Month 2014 Honoree

Jan. 31
By Monica Medina
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Tessie Bonner considers herself a "church lady," given that her religious beliefs are at the core of who she is and how she lives her life. But Bonner, whose friends and close associates tend to also think of her as "the little engine that could," seems to be so much more than any one label.