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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.

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

Nominate a Hero Now

Laurel Moorhead on Being 'One of Many'

Disability Awareness Month: 2012 Honoree

Oct. 2
By Monica Medina
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In the course of your life, there are moments that pass undetected, and moments that are life changing. The latter are the ones that can overwhelm you, give you hope or open a new door.

Danny Gutierrez Gets a Second Chance

Hispanic Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

Sept. 13
By Monica Medina
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It's hard to pinpoint the moment that propelled Danny Gutierrez's life into a spiral of self-destruction. After all, there was no singular instant that set him on a path of joining a gang, breaking the law, using drugs, and causing pain to those around him.

Louis Frick: A Life in 'Perpetual Motion'

Disability Awareness Month: 2012 Honoree

Oct. 2
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Louis Frick was living the California dream. As a young man, the San Diego surf was all he needed. In fact, you could say, the ocean was his life. Then tragedy hit.

Jeri Dilno

LGBT Pride Month: 2012 Honoree

May 30
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Jeri Dilno has spent her career working as a courageous political and social justice advocate on behalf of women’s and gay/lesbian rights. Her own military undesirable discharge in 1961 for being a lesbian led her to risk personal safety on behalf of gay and lesbian civil rights. Ms. Dilno is currently on the Board of Directors of LGBT Pride, serves as a member of the City’s Balboa Park Committee, which is an advisory board to City Council, and a member of the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee.

Larry T. Baza

LGBT Pride Month: 2012 Honoree

May 30
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Larry T. Baza’s career as a professional arts administrator and advocate has been driven by the belief that access to the arts “is vitally important to a civilized society.” His work has included directorships of many local nonprofits including the Centro Cultural de la Raza, Sushi Performance and Visual Art, California Pacific Theatre and others. He has also participated as a consultant, grant panelist, site visitor or board member for: National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, Arizona Arts Commission, City of San Diego Commission for Arts and culture, California Association of Local Arts Agencies and more.

Gussie Zaks

Jewish Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

May 10
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As a Holocaust survivor, Ms. Zaks speaks about the atrocities of hate crimes and racial and religious discrimination in the U.S. and the world. Ms. Zaks also speaks to schools and various organizations to help others learn about the Holocaust. She inspires young men and women to make a positive difference in their own and others’ lives. She has been recognized by many organizations including the Board of Education of San Diego City Schools, and she received the Channel 10 Leadership Award-2000.

Jill Spitzer

Jewish Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

May 10
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In 1984, Jill Borg Spitzer started at Jewish Family Service when the agency had a staff of 20, an annual budget of $500,000 and it focused primarily on family counseling. But, as CEO for the past 25 years, Ms. Spitzer began focusing on emerging social issues that were impacting the community including domestic violence, mentoring young boys and girls, senior centers and hunger. She holds a Masters degree from Columbia, and is a licensed clinical social worker. She is also a member of the Senior Women’s Basketball Association in San Diego.

Ikunosuke "Mike" Kawamura

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

May 10
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Kawamura was one of five production engineers from the Kyoto Ceramic Company, Ltd. ( now Kyocera Corporation), who left Japan in 1971 for a bold new assignment in California – opening the first manufacturing plant outside of Japan. Mr. Kawamura’s ideas and relentless efforts at Kyocera helped create a new generation of semiconductor packages that paved the way for the mass-commercialization of many important semiconductor technologies. In addition to his work as a chemist, manufacturing engineer and training/education professional, Mike Kawamura is actively involved in promoting intercultural understanding and harmony.

Dennis-Michael Broussard

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

May 10
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A New Orleans native, Mr. Broussard is the founder of Silk Road productions, an event management and production firm, through which he has created acclaimed special events and raised thousands of dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. He is responsible for bringing several important events to San Diego: the Asian Cultural Festival; the Filipino American Culture and Heritage Festival; and the AMP Music Festival. Mr. Broussard has a reputation for being down to earth, inspirational to others, a leader in the community and willing to take action for the benefit of the San Diego community.

Dr. Doris Howell

Women's History Month: 2012 Honoree

Feb. 24
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Doris A. Howell, M.D. is devoted to improving the lives of others, having practiced medicine for over 50 years. When first introduced to the hospice concept in 1968, Dr. Howell embraced this radical departure from the established way of dealing with the dying and their families. In 1977, Dr. Howell, along with a group of caring individuals, established San Diego Hospice, the first hospice program in the country. She has received numerous awards including a 2006 honor by the Moores UCSD Cancer Center for her pioneering work in hospice and palliative care nationally, and for inspiring a new consultation service called the Doris A. Howell Palliative Consultation Service.

Michelle Elise Houle

Women's History Month: 2012 Honoree

Feb. 24
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Michelle Elise Houle began her career in education as a substitute teacher at the Lindsay Community School, for pregnant and parenting mothers. This special school allows these women to finish their high school education while receiving on-site childcare. Ms. Houle is credited with creating an Early Childhood Program that has enacted significant change for many young women fighting the cycle of poverty along with their children. Plus, with a degree in Creative Writing, Ms. Houle has published numerous books including a biography of Cesar Chavez. Ms. Houle has also been recognized by the San Diego County Office of Education and was named the 2010 Site Teacher of the Year for the San Diego Unified School District.

JiAel Brownell

Black History Month: 2012 Honoree

Feb. 6
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JiAel Brownell is a teacher at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility. He also served in the U.S. Army as a translator in Korea and, with his background in linguistics and an appreciation for his country, he taught citizenship to recent emigrants. Brownell moved to Juvenile Hall to defend young people and help them succeed with the lessons he learned from his background in education, sports and fitness.

Roy Dixon

Black History Month: 2012 Honoree

Feb. 6
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Bishop Roy Dixon is the church pastor at Faith Chapel, which he started in 1985 with only six members. Bishop Dixon understands that a congregation of faith must participate powerfully in community life, and he is committed to helping the poor. Under Bishop Dixon’s leadership and community activism, Faith Chapel has grown to influence not only San Diego, but all of California.

Brandie Taylor

Native American Heritage Month: 2011 Honoree

Nov. 1

Brandie Taylor is the vice chairwoman of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, an Indian tribe in Northern San Diego County. Ms. Taylor has dedicated her life to advocating for tribal rights, preservation of tribal culture, improvement of health and safety of native peoples, and she is an avid supporter of higher education for youth. Ms. Taylor’s many accomplishments include securing funding for Iipay Nation’s Tribal Social Services, which handles child dependency cases and culturally focused assistance for family preservation.

Michelle M. Parada

Native American Heritage Month: 2011 Honoree

Nov. 1

Michelle M. Parada is the co-founder and lead teacher of All Tribes American Indian Charter School. Since 2001, All Tribes Charter School has provided culturally focused assistance to reduce the dropout rates among Native American students in San Diego by graduating 46 high school seniors to date. Ms. Parada has been a recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 2010 Educator of the Year from the National Indian Education Association and San Diego’s 10News Leadership Award.