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Honoree Profiles

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.

Meet Black History Month Local Hero Makeda Marianne Cheatom

Meet Black History Month Local Hero Makeda Marianne Cheatom

Black History Month 2016 Honoree

Feb. 2
KPBS Local Heroes Project

Black History Month Local Hero Makeda Marianne Cheatom is a woman on the go. But there's one place in San Diego more special to her than others, and her work there led to this nomination.

American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero Stan Rodriguez

American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero Stan Rodriguez

American Indian Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

Nov. 1
KPBS Local Heroes Project

He’s a U.S. Navy veteran, a Native linguist, an inspired musical can rattler, devout educator and student of local Native culture. Meet Stan Rodriguez, 2015 American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero.

American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero Vickie Gambala

American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero Vickie Gambala

American Indian Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

Nov. 1
KPBS Local Heroes Project

She’s a Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma, a devoted leader of Native education in San Diego County, community uniter, mother of three, and powwow veteran. Meet Vickie Gambala, 2015 American Indian Heritage Month Honoree.

Disability Awareness Month Local Heroes William Stothers And Cynthi...

Disability Awareness Month Local Heroes William Stothers And Cynthia Jones Fight For Rights

Disability Awareness Month 2015 Honorees

Oct. 1
KPBS Local Heroes Project

Behind great challenges are committed leaders like Cyndi Jones and Bill Stothers — two masterminds behind the fight to break down ignorance and barriers for people with disabilities.

Disability Awareness Month Local Hero Stephen Wampler: Conqueror Of...

Disability Awareness Month Local Hero Stephen Wampler: Conqueror Of El Capitan

Disability Awareness Month 2015 Honoree

Oct. 1
KPBS Local Heroes Project

Known as the first person with cerebral palsy to climb El Capitan mountain, Stephen Wampler aims for a new challenge: opening a campsite where disabled children can have real wilderness experiences.

Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero Enrique Morones — Titan At The B...

Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero Enrique Morones — Titan At The Border

Hispanic Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

Sept. 15
KPBS Local Heroes Project

Free legal consultations for deported immigrants on the border. This is just one of the dozens of ideas engineered by human rights activist, Enrique Morones.

Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero Karemi Alvarez Champions Health

Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero Karemi Alvarez Champions Health

Hispanic Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

Sept. 15
KPBS Local Heroes Project

Students finally got clean drinking water at San Diego's Sweetwater High School. That's thanks to Karemi Alvarez — a rising voice for healthy lifestyles in needy communities.

LGBT Pride Month Local Hero Terry Cunningham Dedicates Life to Figh...

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

LGBT Pride Month 2015 Honoree

June 9
By Monica Medina

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 Lif...

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

LGBT Pride Month 2015 Honoree

June 8
By Monica Medina

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 Princi...

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

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...

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

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 Life...

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

Jewish American Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

May 4
By Monica Medina

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 P...

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

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 Sc...

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

Women's History Month 2015 Honoree

March 3
By Monica Medina

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 Local Hero Starla Lewis is a Champion for Love

Women's History Month 2015 Honoree

March 2
By Monica Medina

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.”