Johnson is most widely known for being a world-class athlete,
having played in the NBA for 12 seasons with the Phoenix Suns
before retiring in May of 2000. During his storied career, he
was named to the All-Star team three times and received a gold
medal in the 1994 World Championship games.
Not so well known is the fact that he is a world-class philanthropist
and community activist, giving back especially to the Oak Park
neighborhood of Sacramento, California, in which he was raised.
Early on in his career, Johnson made a commitment to helping
children in the disadvantaged area.
In the summer of 1989, he founded St. HOPE Academy, an after-school
educational program in Oak Park that trains young people
to become leaders and provides them with opportunities for educational,
social and spiritual growth. He later spearheaded a fundraising
drive that culminated in the construction of a $1 million
for local students and their parents. In 1996, he also started
a branch of the Academy in Phoenix to serve junior high and
Kevin also started a foundation to provide educational grants
to students, and in 2002 he founded St. HOPE Public Schools,
a charter school district, which includes a 1,700-student
high school and a 200-student K-4 elementary school.
In addition to having contributed well over a million dollars
to organizations nationwide, Johnson served on the board
of directors for the Phoenix Suns Charities, Christian
Athlete Ministries, Phoenix Symphony and the School House Foundation. He also
speaks regularly to groups of school children and addresses universities
and community groups on economic development and public policy issues.
a student activist and a senior in life sciences at ASU West,
Arlene Tavizon is known for her many contributions to the campus
and the community at large. Her activities range from student
organizations and student advocacy committees to serving at food
banks and organizing conferences on human rights and youth issues.
She has long volunteered at Tonatierra Community Development
Institute, helping with English classes and a food bank. Each
week Arlene loads food boxes at St. Mary’s Food Bank
and takes them to Tonatierra to distribute to the hungry, the
and the frail. She helped plan the Tonatierra human rights
conference and works with residents to give them a voice.
Arlene is active in student government as a senator and also
in Native American and Latino organizations on campus, focusing
on motivating students to vote and promoting cultural events,
all the while maintaining a high grade-point average. As
a student representative at Arizona Town Hall, she promoted cultural
and minority access in higher education. She participated
a Native American book drive and fund raiser, helped run
voter registration drives and was active in children’s
activities for Dia de los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
known for rallying others to participate in the causes in
which she believes.
The descendant of Mexican farmers and ranchers, Arlene learned
from them about nature’s relationship with the elements,
plants and animals, and she is carrying that into a career as
a biomedical researcher. She plans to pursue graduate studies
in public health and epidemiology, hoping to be a catalyst in
developing natural medicines that may prevent and treat diabetes
and cancer, two diseases that have affected her family.
Link to text of Arlene Tavizon's speech at
the 2004 MLK Breakfast Celebration