2018 Community Servant-Leadership Awardee Philanthropic powerhouse Cindy McCain will receive this year’s ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Servant-Leadership Award for her work in combatting human trafficking.
Dedicating her life to defending individuals’ basic human rights, McCain’s leadership has proven invaluable in numerous organizations including the McCain Institute, the Arizona Governor’s Council on Human Trafficking, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Project C.U.R.E and many more. Still, her service on the frontlines, researching and working with vulnerable populations has helped her educate others on the signs of human trafficking, how to avoid falling prey and the myriad rippling impacts of the crime. McCain follows in Dr. King’s footsteps in helping to create a better world for her children and future generations.
Evvan Morton believes that with a better education, we can create a more sustainable world. A graduate student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Morton is working on her Ph.D. in the Science of Sustainable Engineering and hopes to use her education to help to bridge a gap between science policy and scientists. Morton will receive this year’s ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Student Servant-Leadership Award.
Morton is the president of the Black Graduate Student Association, winner of the Brown and Caldwell Women in Leadership Scholarship for women pursing environmental sciences and is an advocate for women, particularly black women, in science and engineering fields through her service and leadership experiences.
Morton hopes to one day pursue a career in government helping to make more sustainable environmental decisions. One of her goals is to work in the Department of State. Some of her role models include Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.
Native Arizonans Lattie and Elva Coor have a rich tradition of giving back to the community in a variety of leadership roles.
Lattie F. Coor, President-Emeritus and Ernest W. McFarland Arizona Heritage Chair in Leadership and Public Policy at Arizona State University, is chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona. For the past 26 years, he has served as a university president, first at the University of Vermont from 1976 to 1989, then at Arizona State University from 1990 to 2002. Before becoming a champion for education, Lattie graduated with high honors from Northern Arizona University and earned his Ph.D. in political science from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he later held faculty appointments and served as university vice chancellor.
Lattie received the Anti-Defamation League’s Jerry J. Wisotsky Torch of Liberty Award in 1994, the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Individual Award from the Greater Phoenix Urban League in 2000, the American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award in 2000 and both the American Jewish Committee Institute of Human Relations Award and Center City Starr from Phoenix Community Alliance, in 2001. He was also honored as Valley Leadership Man of the Year in 2005.
Elva Coor is a 5th generation Arizonan. While Coor held roles in government and political activities at the local, state and national level, she also founded a business which she managed for 20 years, and founded the Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Business Women. Elva has served on boards for organizations including the Arizona Historical Society, AWEE, Charter 100 and the Life Development Institute. She has also volunteered at the Phoenix Art Museum and other organizations.
After selling her business and marrying Lattie, she founded the President’s Community Enrichment Programs at ASU which aims to unite the university with its surrounding community. Elva also co-founded Building Great Communities, and founded an organization meant to increase the graduation rate of African American students at ASU. Later, she headed the effort to save Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s home from demolition. This experience inspired Lattie, to create a project called SpeakOut AZ, through The Center for the Future of Arizona, designed to increase civic participation throughout Arizona and include civics curriculum in schools. She was also honored as Valley Leadership Woman of the Year in 2015.
Her years of working in the political arena, business, academia, and nonprofits led her to value a well-informed and engaged electorate. The success of our great country depends upon providing every child with a good start and great education that prepares them for college, careers and their lives. Our political system is dependent upon that kind of success, and is dependent upon each of us being involved to help millions of people emerge from poverty.
Amber Poleviyuma is a community health student at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation. Her leadership and volunteerism efforts aimed toward increasing representation and awareness for Native American communities has impacted Arizona State University students and individuals in the surrounding community. Inspired by her family, members of the Hopi tribe in northern Arizona’s Moenkopi village, Poleviyuma aims to use her research to affect policy. In accordance with the Native American values of community and selflessness, she hopes to make a difference in the community, and expand communication and understanding across racial barriers.
While Poleviyuma is interested in addressing a wide variety of issues including environmental, government and health issues, she is especially focused on reducing the number of youth suicides on Native American reservations through culturally relevant preventative programming. In 2014, she worked with the Center for American Indian Resilience to conduct research for the Native American Cancer Prevention project, which explored the experiences of Native American cancer patients with healthcare providers. She helped found Native Americans for Academics, Success and Unity, an ASU club meant to help Native American students reach their academic goals while engaging with the community.
Poleviyuma also worked with the ASU Tribal Nations Tour to reach out to Native American students throughout the state and inspire and encourage these students to pursue a college degree upon completing high school. She is the vice president of the Tau Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Incorporated, and worked with the Moenkopi Youth and Family Life Enrichment Program to provide youth programs and family events for the residents of her village. She said Martin Luther King Jr. stood up for people who couldn’t stand up for themselves, and she hopes to do the same. She leads by example to create greater understanding among different peoples, and in this way, hopes to show that these issues aren’t just Native American issues—they’re shared issues.
Fatimah Halim is an artist born into a family of writers, storytellers and musicians. She has garnered success as a Special Events Coordinator, professional performance artist, pop vocalist, ethnic dancer, and inspirational author and speaker. She is the designer, facilitator, and author of Rites of Passage Programs for Phoenix area youth. This commitment to youth has driven her passion for over 20 years. Her dedication to promoting the development of women and girls is also evident in the Journey Home Program: An Arts Experience for Incarcerated Women; in her latest book, "Blueprint for Womanhood: A Rites of Passage Handbook for Growing Girls. In Zhenzhou, China, she was a guest of the Shanghai Women's Federation, where she presented a workshop on her Rites of Passage Program at Sias International University.
Her background in Economic Development includes working with the City of Phoenix Economic Development Department where she was responsible for the overall marketing and promotion of citywide economic development programs and activities impacting thousands of small businesses and advocacy organizations annually.
For over thirteen years, she has created and produced major cultural festivals and events for the City of Phoenix enhancing the cultural image of Phoenix on a national level.
Fatimah began her professional life in New York City as back-up singer for Laura Nyro and recorded with Jimi Hendrix as a member of Ghettofighters. She traveled to Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, Brazil, the Bahamas, and throughout the American South studying her art and performing her stories. She has toured, as a storyteller, with Rosa Parks, Mother of the modern day Civil Rights Movement and her highly acclaimed one-woman show "She's So G.H.E.T.T.O. – Chronicles of a Ghetto Girl Gone Goddess" has brought audiences to their feet in tears and laughter. She is currently wowing audiences with her new one-woman show "Juliette Must Die – A Story of a Woman in Conflict with Herself."
Alpha Kappa Alpha awarded her the 2012 Emerging Young Leaders award and the George Gervin Prep Academy presented her with the 2012 Community Service Award. In 2011, Fatimah was presented the Icon Award by the Worthy Institute; 2010 Links Living History Award for the Arts; 2010 National Council of Negro Women Award recipient; 2009 Hon Kachina Award; the YWCA's Tribute to Woman – Creative Artist of the Year Award; Phoenix College – Alumni of the Year; Phoenix College – Living Legend Award; Arizona Governor's Mentoring Award; Phoenix Human Relations Commission Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Living the Dream Award; Phoenix Black Community's Quiet Hero Award; ASU students' Nzinga Award; and BlackpoetVentures' Angaza Award. She was named "Best Goddess of the Sisterhood" in the New Times Best of Phoenix for her work with women and girls and recognized by the Phoenix Suns Organization for her work with youth.
Fatimah has also received one of the highest awards from the East Valley NAACP, honored at the 2015 Freedom Fund Gala with the Roy Wilkins Community Service Award.
Jasmine Anglen is the founder and president of the nonprofit, All Walks Project, to provide rehabilitation programs to survivors of sex trafficking in Arizona. Under Anglen's leadership, the program received the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative Award of $10,000 and is set to expand nationally.
Anglen is a Finance and Management dual-major at Barrett, The Honors College and the W.P. Carey School of Business and is set to graduate spring 2016.
As a Changemaker Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, Anglen was selected as one of the most promising and effective student social entrepreneurs at ASU. Other honors include; Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year Finalist, Social Venture Partners Fast Student Pitch Winner, Clinton Global Initiative University Delegate, W.P. Carey Business School Student Leader of the Year Finalist, Craig and Barbara Barrett Scholar, National Merit Scholar, Flinn Foundation Scholar, American Legion Auxiliary Scholar, Bests Buy Service and Leadership Recipient and Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation Scholar.
Anglen's community service is also evident in several other projects, such as organizing nearly a dozen university-wide service projects at ASU, volunteering at an orphanage in Romania, and her fundraising efforts for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society.
Anglen has served as a business consultant for small businesses through the Innovations Advancement Clinic and as the President of the Entrepreneurs@ASU club where she worked with novice, student entrepreneurs. She has interned with several startups and is enthusiastic about continuing to help entrepreneurs succeed in business. She hopes to one day run an incubator or accelerator program for startups.
Founder of the firm The Art Hamilton Group, LLC. Prior to the founding of the firm in 2008, Hamilton served 26 years in the Arizona House of Representatives, with 18 consecutive years as the Democratic leader in the Arizona House. A ground-breaker and a leader, Hamilton was the first African-American and only Arizonan to be elected President of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hamilton also led the NCSL task force to re-write state policies on how state governments deal with families and individuals wrestling with problems of the developmentally disabled. Before founding The Art Hamilton Group, LLC, Hamilton was a founding partner of another public relations firm. He also served as a senior public affairs representative at Salt River Project (SRP), from where he retired after 34 years of service. Hamilton has served on many boards including Phoenix Children's Hospital and Phoenix Sky Harbor Aviation Advisory Board. Hamilton has a school in the Murphy School District named after him. Hamilton is a native of Phoenix, and was educated at Carl Hayden High School and Phoenix College.
Community-based theatre artist focused in theatre as a means of cross-cultural communication. Currently in her second year at Arizona State University's MFA Theatre for Youth program, Rocchio continues to work throughout Arizona with people who are incarcerated and people whoare homeless. Rocchio believes in creating placemaking that allows for artistic communities to flourish.
The Victory Together coalition, spearheaded by a diverse group of community and business leaders in Phoenix and Tucson, recognized the importance of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and joined forces in the effort to set aside a day in honor of his memory. The coalition organized supporters and registered 75,000 voters. In November 1992, 61% of Arizona voters provided the support needed to approve the Martin Luther King, Jr./Civil Rights Day. The people of Arizona continue to benefit from the groundbreaking work of Victory Together.
Gabriel Cesar, a doctoral student in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, has been awarded the 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. Student-Leadership Award for his active work with foster children in the Free Arts of Arizona program.
The Detroit native was raised by his grandfather, a union worker, who helped him to understand the sometimes-harsh reality of life from a very early age.
“He would bring me with him to the bars and ball games,” Cesar said. "There were people from all different backgrounds and races. It exposed to me a lot, but he was honest with me and contextualized it in a way that I could understand. The most important thing he would instill in me was that you take care of the people around you."
Cesar transferred to ASU after earning an associate's degree from Henry Ford Community College and completing two years of his bachelor's degree at Wayne State University.
“Wayne State gave me good practice-based learning. The courses were taught by cops, so we had interrogation classes and learned all about the consent decree. ASU has a very strong theoretical program that has empowered me to learn about the social process. We're also strongly encouraged to get involved in functional research,” he said.
As a master's student at ASU, Cesar wanted to step out of the box and focus on qualitative research that looks at social learning among young people who are aging out of the Child Protective Services system. Mentor Travis Pratt, a criminology and criminal justice professor, was supportive of the bold move that went against the quantitative type of research normally completed by students.
“He said that he doesn't know how to measure it, but he would know if it sucked. I've always had strong ideas and that has never been feared or discouraged here,” said Cesar.
The research didn't quite go as he planned though. His intent was to learn about the children's role models and who they modeled their behavior after, in order to find factors that would determine whether they transition into successful adults. But the children he worked with reported they didn't have anyone to look up to; rather than role models, what mattered to them was having a stable place to go when they phase out and a way to pay their bills.
Like any good researcher, Cesar adjusted his research, but the experience stuck with him. Heeding his grandfather's teachings, he began volunteering with Free Arts of Arizona, a nonprofit organization that provides an artistic outlet for youth in the foster care system.
“When you're a kid in the system, no one is uniquely interested in you,” he said. “You're in a group home with 10 to 12 other kids. No one is making you go to school or is in charge of your well-being. The caseworkers try their best, but it isn't always enough.”
To combat this, he spends what little free time he has making sure they stay on track toward getting their high school diploma and college education. He even brought a group of mentees to his Hispanic Convocation when he earned his master's degree from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
“I wanted to take them to campus to meet the faculty here to see what's possible. They make jokes about being Hispanic and poor, so when you take them to convocation they can see all of these Hispanic people who are successful. There's no excuse,” he said.
Cesar also uses his own experiences to relate to them. He teaches them the importance of taking both positive and negative experiences and turning them into lessons that will shape them into adults.
“We forget that everyone on some level is just a scared kid like them. We all just want someone to take care of us. Free Arts has been great with letting me grow into the mentor inside of me,” he said.
Next on his plate is completing his dissertation that focuses on the implementation and funding of programs to better care for students in CPS like Free Arts. Cesar says he eventually would like to return to Michigan to help the community that raised him.
Earning the MLK Leadership Award will allow Cesar to show faculty and students this type of research is emerging in the criminal justice field. And, of course, his grandfather will proudly be in attendance at the MLK Breakfast Celebration in January at the Downtown Phoenix campus.
Antonio Bustamante has been selected to receive the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Servant Leadership Award. Growing up in Douglas, Ariz., Bustamante knew from an early age that his passion lies in civil rights and advocacy. Inspired by his mother's desire to stand up for what she believed in, Bustamante learned to fight for social justice, human rights and against discrimination. The ideals were only further engrained while watching the civil rights movement unfold on television, as leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. sought to bring peaceful change to members of the minority.
In the summer of 1973, Bustamente took up the plight of the United Farmers Workers Movement. He was thrust into Cesar Chavez's inner circle, and began learning from the man he grew to admire. “What do Latinos have in this world that is truly ours, that we can cling to and that was recognized as great? It was Cesar. Cesar was ours,” he said.
Megan Salisbury, a high-achieving student in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University, has been selected as a recipient of the 2013 MLK Student Servant-Leadership award for her work with homeless veteran and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. Salisbury decided to dedicate her life to service after the events of Sept. 11, 2001 made her realize that material possessions do not equate to a fulfilling life.
With a one-way ticket in hand, Salisbury moved to Arizona where she enrolled in ASU and Barrett, the Honors College to pursue a bachelor's degree in social work. She also began volunteering at Central Arizona Shelter Services, the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness, Mulligan's Manor, Arizona StandDown and Project H3: Vets. As part of her work, Salisbury frequently meets with shelter staff members to open discussion about the unique needs of the LGBT community and make suggestions about how to better serve this population.
Bob Ramsey and Jenny Norton have been awarded the MLK Servant-Leadership award for their work with the homeless and support of education. In the late 80's Ramsey and Norton founded the Ramsey Justice Foundation to serve the underrepresented and marginalized members of the community, as well as those in foreign countries and developing nations. Through the foundation, the couple work to feed the homeless in a rotating shelter and provide basic living needs. Norton also lends a helping hand to those in need as a volunteer chaplain at Tempe St. Lukes Hospital.
“I visit patients who are underinsured, access state insured or homeless. I help the homeless to get on access and after care so they don't return to the streets until they are completely well,” said Norton.
To further support the educational needs of the growing community, the Ramey Justice Foundation offers numerous scholarships and grants students at ASU, Maricopa Community Colleges, the Tempe Union High School District and the Phoenix Union High School District to name a few. “We offer scholarships for diversity, LGBT, research study and general studies,” said Norton. “Anyone that needs civil rights is on our list to help. I believe that just as the sun is the reason we have light, equality and education are the reasons we can live.”
In 2010 Ramsey and Norton were honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. They have also earned the support of Mayor Hugh Hallman and are currently working in conjunction to open the Evelyn Rose Hallman endowment, named after Mayor Hallman's mother. The endowment will be used to provide permanent supportive housing for participants in the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (IHELP). IHELP is a coordinated effort of various faith communities in Tempe that provide meals, shelter and showers for the homeless.
In the future, Norton says she plans to continue her work with homeless and hopes the homeless epidemic is brought to an end.
Graduate student Timothy Huffman has been chosen to receive the 2012 MLK Student Servant-Leadership award for his work with homeless and at-risk teens. The cause is particularly close to his heart, as Huffman intentionally chose to be homeless for six months of his life to gain a greater understanding of the world and himself. Upon moving to Arizona to attend Arizona State University, Huffman decided to get involved with StandUp for Kids, a national non-profit outreach that works to rescue at-risk and homeless youth. After volunteering his time with StandUp for Kids Phoenix, he decided to create StandUp for ASU to spread awareness among college students and impact the surrounding community. “There are a lot of students here and it created the opportunity to connect the ASU community with homeless youth in the area that needed a lot of help,” Huffman said. As an organization, StandUp for ASU actively provides food, water, clothing and hygiene products to those living on streets and homeless shelters. On the weekends, those in need may also take advantage of two safe houses in Downtown Phoenix where they can do laundry, eat a hot meal, shower and conduct job searches using the Internet. However, Huffman's personal goal for the club is to foster relationships with those who go otherwise unnoticed. “Everybody tries to make the homeless population invisible, so we reach across that barrier and engage in conversation with them,” Huffman said. “We also use this conversation to find out their needs and connect them with other organizations that may be able to help them find a job for example.”
Although he does not know where and what he will be doing in the future, Huffman states positively that he will continue to seek solutions to the greatest challenges of his community. “I care about people and I'm driving to help them,” said Huffman. “My goal in life to achieve the greatest possible good within the community I'm living in,” said Huffman.
A deep sense of fairness has made Herb Ely a tenacious fighter for the underdog his whole life. In more than 50 years as a practicing trial lawyer in Phoenix, he has stood up for the rights of individuals who lack money or power to pursue issues of social and human justice.
He continues to represent citizens in all walks of life, both within his law firm and on a pro bono basis. His passion for advancing equality spans race, age, religion and life circumstance.
When Ely arrived in Phoenix in 1958 he immediately joined the Phoenix Council for Civic Unity, which worked to eliminate discrimination, and he became legal counsel and vice president for the local NAACP. Soon he was providing counsel to black youths who participated in sit-in demonstrations, and he often joined them on picket lines.
Ely drafted Arizona's civil rights bill that was signed into law on April 1, 1965, prohibiting discrimination in voting, employment, labor union membership and places of public accommodation
He was active in the Phoenix Anti-Defamation League, launching a successful fight to eradicate restrictions against Jews at Arizona resorts. He participated in boycotts, pickets and strikes with Cesar Chavez and others in the struggle to improve working conditions and pay for farm workers in Arizona.
Ely also won the case that established that Native Americans could use peyote in religious ceremonies. He has successfully fought for the rights of nursing home patients, veterans and the mentally ill. The list goes on and on.
His legacy in Arizona was cemented in 1974, when he co-founded the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, the most successful non-profit public interest firm in the United States. For this and for his other service to the public, he received the American Bar Foundation's first Pro Bono Award.
Most recently he received the American Jewish Committee's 2009 Judge Learned Hand Community Service Award, for his sustained contributions to the advancement of equality and democratic principles. ASU is proud to honor his lifetime of service with the 2011 Martin Luther King Servant-Leadership award.
Inspired by the example of mentors in his life, Alex Wilson taught free swim lessons to 20 children in the summer of 2009 and donated more than 800 cans of food to the local shelter. At the time he was working full-time, running the city swimming program for his hometown.
Last summer he took the funds he'd saved and went to Tanzania, where he taught in a community about health and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and tutored in an orphanage. The experience made him dream even bigger.
Now the ASU pre-med senior is raising funds to build a trade school in Tanzania, and he plans to move there to start construction following his graduation in May. He'll have a degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in human physiology, and a minor in non-profit management. Eventually he plans to get an M.D. and Ph.D. so he can practice in third world countries and teach part-time.
Wilson has been chosen for the 2011 MLK Student Servant-Leadership award, for his commitment to leading others through volunteer service. He also is on the dean's list and works as a biomechanical obesity researcher in the lab of ASU Professor Devin Jindrich.
To further his efforts overseas, the energetic, goal-driven young man has founded a non-profit organization. He'll raise funds by taking a 120-mile pledge walk in January near his hometown of Cape Cod, Mass., and by riding his bike across the United States next summer, from San Diego to Boston. He also hopes to get other students involved in the Tanzanian project, and he's selling wrist bands on a website and applying for grants.
Wilson plans to create partnerships between schools in the United States and those in Tanzania, for tutoring activities and a language exchange via laptop computers and video cameras. He'd like to recruit young adult volunteers to teach for a period of time in Africa. He hopes eventually to establish trade schools in other African countries, to encourage education and entrepreneurship in struggling communities.
Dr. J. Eugene Grigsby, Jr. is an artist, educator, author and community servant whose rich contributions to Arizona and the nation are legendary. Having grown up in a segregated society, he has achieved much throughout his life and has reached out to help others all along the way.
Grigsby earned degrees from Morehouse College and Ohio State University before serving as master sergeant in an ammunition company under General George Patton. Honored with the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, after World War II he wrote, produced and directed a hit musical comedy that entertained U.S. soldiers stationed in Germany.
By 1946 he was in Phoenix teaching at the all-black Carver High School until 1954, a landmark year that closed the school and ended educational segregation in Arizona. He was art department chairman at Phoenix Union High School for 12 years before joining the ASU faculty, serving as professor in the School of Art for more than 20 years.
Throughout his career he has worked to inspire and uplift African Americans as well as the larger community, playing leading roles in scores of organizations. He founded COBA, the Consortium of Black Organizations and Others for the Arts, and he also was a founder of Artists of the Black Community/Arizona, the Garfield Organization for downtown revitalization and the Neighborhood Housing Service.
Grigsby served as president of the Arizona Art Education Association and vice president of the National Art Education Association, and the latter organization named its meritorious service award after him. In September 2007, the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, D.C. honored him with the Award for Distinguished Contributions to African-American Art and Education.
At 91, he continues his involvement with the organizations he helped found, in addition to the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center and other community groups. His work is displayed all over the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Phoenix Art Museum.
In the future, Norton says she plans to continue her work with homeless and hopes the homeless epidemic is brought to an end.
Dominick Hernandez, a senior in business at the Polytechnic campus, has become a student leader within only two years of enrolling at ASU. He brought with him a wealth of experience, having spent six years in the U.S. Army and five years in the business world, and he has put that experience to good use.
Hernandez didn't intend to get involved in campus activities, but when he was asked to join the Campus Environment Team he found he enjoyed it. Soon he was approached to create a poetry jam, since he had performed poetry in New York, and instead he expanded the event to an Artist Mic Night, which was a smash hit and will be a continuing event.
Since then he has helped found a student group for sustainability, recruiting other students to join him in green efforts. He co-founded a leadership and success society and began organizing events. He marched on the state capital to demonstrate against educational budget cuts.
This year he became director of Polytechnic's Associated Students at ASU, and he was selected as part of the ASU Homecoming Court and also a representative to Arizona Town Hall. It's a far cry from his work as an Army supply manager at Fort Polk, or as a director of franchise relations for a trophy company.
One of Hernandez's leadership strengths is his ability to rally others, encouraging them to get involved in the ASU community. He has changed the tone of the Polytechnic campus, expanding the number of first- and second-year students who take part in campus opportunities and events.
Masaji Inoshita was 22 and farming with his father in California when FBI agents knocked on the door and handcuffed his father to take him to an internment camp. Pearl Harbor had just been bombed, and the government was afraid Japanese-Americans would collaborate with the enemy.
Inoshita and his parents and eight siblings spent four years at the Gila River Relocation Camp south of Phoenix. But instead of being bitter, he has spent his adult life as a historian and civil rights advocate, teaching about the need for diversity of races and religions in the workplace, schools and society.
His family had to give up their 55-acre farm and all their animals and equipment. Neighbors couldn't speak to them. But Inoshita enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Army Intelligence as a translator in Burma, India and China.
After World War II ended, he returned to Arizona to farm, getting married and raising three children. He became active in the Japanese American Citizens League and the Arizona Buddhist Temple Board, and eventually he began speaking at local schools, churches and civic groups about his experiences in the internment camp.
Since then Inoshita has spoken before many national groups and is a frequent guest lecturer for the Arizona Historical Society and the universities. He has won awards for workshops on race relations. His audiences are fascinated by his stories, but his main lesson is one of love and respect for fellow man.
Now 89, Inoshita has won many awards, including the U.S. Army Presidential Merit Citation and the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. On the local level, he was named outstanding Washington School District volunteer for serving as a full-time volunteer librarian for six years. ASU is proud to honor him as the 2009 MLK Servant-Leadership Award winner.
Elodie Billionniere is an extraordinary young woman who was raised in Paris, France by a French West Indian mother without a high school diploma who worked several jobs to provide for Elodie and her brother. When Elodie came to America in 2001 she wanted to achieve her mother's dreams of a higher education.
Blessed with her mother's work ethic and a keen intellect, Billionniere has proved herself not only an exceptional student but an unselfish leader who extends herself personally to others in every aspect of her life.
Currently she is pursuing two graduate degrees at ASU. She is studying for a master's of education and a Ph.D. in computer science. Even more unusual is her example of service, serving as president of the Black Graduate Student Association, reaching out to students at all four campuses to support their educational, cultural and social needs.
Billionniere volunteers regularly to watch children at a YWCA Haven House shelter for abused women, nurtures a child as a Big Sister, held workshops at First Institutional Baptist Church on resources available to homeless persons, organizes community service projects at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, mentors undergraduate students studying science, technology, engineering and math, and has worked with refugee families through the COAR advocacy group.
Her energy and dedication are inspiring. She single-handedly raised funds for a Women's Empowerment Speaker Series, working with organizations across ASU, and she founded an annual community service project called WE Care : YOU Care, to help the homeless population in Phoenix with housing, health, education and employment services.
Billionniere believes in the worth of every individual, regardless of race or gender, and she demonstrates ethical leadership in all her efforts toward service. ASU is proud to honor this exceptional student with the 2009 MLK Student Servant-Leadership Award.
Peterson Zah, former president of the Navajo Nation, has continued to work as a senior statesman among Native Americans and is considered one of the 100 most important Native Americans in the last century. He has been a key leader in bringing students from tribal communities to ASU and helping them succeed.
As an adviser to the ASU president for 14 years, he has helped double the Native American student population, traveling to remote villages to talk to families about ASU and the importance of education. He helped create ASU's Native American Achievement Program, a partnership with tribes to provide scholarships, mentoring and advising to students.
Born in 1937 on the Navajo Reservation, Zah left his home and family as a teenager to attend Phoenix Indian School, earning a bachelor's degree from ASU 10 years later. He returned to his homeland as a vocational educator and later directed a nonprofit legal services program.
Zah became chairman of the Navajo Tribal Council in 1982, leading the movement to restructure and modernize their governmental system from a council to a nation. He was elected the first president of the Navajo Nation in 1990.
Throughout his career he has made education his first priority, and he has worked for 30 years to defend the interests of all Native American people. Largely because of his intense focus on education, the Navajos have made great progress toward achieving their goal of an enhanced and sustainable future. Three years ago he received a lifetime achievement award from the National Indian Education Association.
Today students can be found in his office asking for his advice, finding encouragement and help. He was chosen Graduate Mentor of the Year by the ASU graduate student body four years ago. Zah continues to inspire all ASU students to reach their highest potential.
Kelley Stewart, a senior dual majoring in applied psychology and multimedia writing and technical communication at the ASU Polytechnic campus, has personally invigorated student life at the campus through her commitment to community service and her leadership example. She has made a mark wherever she has been.
After working for several years for retail and automotive businesses—where she quickly rose to management—Kelley went another direction, earning her associate's degree from Mesa Community College in 2004 and enrolling at ASU. Meanwhile she continued to work as a community response volunteer for the Mesa Fire Department, providing grief support and family advocacy and training other volunteers. She completed two 900-hour term commitments to AmeriCorps.
At ASU she helped organize a career fair, led a student health council and became a student senator, serving on many committees that helped energize student life. Meanwhile she continued to volunteer for the fire department, led a youth group at her church and worked with the Girl Scouts. This year she is president of the Associated Students at the Polytechnic campus.
For the last four years, Kelley also has played a pivotal role in the success of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life East Mesa event hosted by ASU Polytechnic. This 20-hour event annually raises more than $100,000, hosts about 2,500 participants and requires more than 100 volunteers. It is Kelley's ability to encourage others to get involved in community service that has helped the event succeed.
She fosters a spirit of cooperation among the volunteers, many of them junior high and high school students, and encourages them to take leadership roles in the planning and the execution of tasks. She also has expanded the number of volunteers at the Mesa Fire Department.
Kelley's energy, commitment and selfless leadership make her an ideal recipient of the ASU 2008 Student Servant-Leadership Award.
Dr. Pearl Tang, whose service to public health helped improve the survival rate for infants in low-income Arizona families, received the 2007 Servant Leadership Award from Arizona State University at a Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast celebration. President Michael Crow hosted the annual event at the Tempe campus Memorial Union, inviting about 600 campus and community leaders and more than 30 schoolchildren who won ASU's annual MLK poster-essay contest.
As one of the first female physicians in Arizona in the 1950s, Dr. Tang developed an immunization program for all children in Maricopa County schools and started prenatal care clinics in rural areas. After she became chief of the Maricopa County Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, it was largely through her leadership that the infant mortality rate in the county decreased by over 67 percent from 1960 to 1984.
She also developed a screening program for breast and cervical cancer in county clinics, worked with the Phoenix Union High School to develop health care and education for pregnant adolescents, and helped establish medical and dental services for preschool children in Head Start centers.
Alix Hornyan, an ASU junior who sets an example for other students with her optimism, determination and passion for service, will receive the Student Servant Leadership Award. She is co-chair of the student Community Service Coalition and has organized and recruited students for many service events.
Jack Pfister is a builder and shaper of Arizona whose quiet service has made him a strong, steady influence in the growth of the state. He has been an engineer, a lawyer, a utility executive, a professor, and a key board member for many civic endeavors that have made an imprint on Arizona. He was a driving force behind Victory Together, ensuring statewide recognition of a Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
A fourth generation Arizonan, he began his career as a lawyer in the Phoenix firm of Jennings, Strouss and Salmon and later joined Salt River Project (SRP), becoming its general manager six years later. During his tenure there, SRP grew from a local water management and hydro-electric power company to one of the nation's largest power providers. Establishing a tradition of community involvement, he served on the Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona Town Hall, Flinn Foundation, Girl Scouts, YMCA, Arizona Humanities Council, Maricopa Community College Foundation and many others, and encouraged SRP managers and employees to do the same.
After leaving SRP, he served ASU as president of the ASU Research Park and as vice president of Institutional Advancement. He also was a professor in ASU's School of Public Affairs, teaching courses on management, leadership, and ethics. When Jane Hull became governor, she asked Pfister to be a member of her transition team, and he chaired her Growing Smarter Commission. It is hard to imagine what the development of Arizona would be like without the service and leadership of Jack Pfister.
Bridgette Gomez is a dynamic ASU student who consistently dedicates her time and efforts to helping others. Those who work with her say she always has an exceptional attitude toward lending a helping hand, regardless of how busy she is with her schoolwork or how many commitments she has.
Bridgette first came to the university as a high school student, participating in the ASU Math-Science Honors Program for underrepresented students. She showed a high aptitude for math and became a peer counselor for the program, later serving as a math tutor. Because of her love for math, she finds innovative ways to share her interest, working with younger children in the schools and developing a Math Anxiety Workshop for ASU students.
Besides serving as a leader in more than half a dozen student organizations, Bridgette facilitates academic workshops on time management, note-taking, reading, test-taking strategies and study skills, and she mentors other students one-on-one in organization and goal setting. She is an energetic whirlwind of activity, yet she makes each person feel they have her undivided attention.
She volunteers regularly with homeless children in the Salvation Army Mind Wizards, helping children ages 6–10 learn about new subjects through interactive activities, stories and crafts. Bridgette holds a 3.9 grade-point average in secondary education with a specialization in math, and was named the Outstanding Scholar for the ASU Maroon and Gold Scholarship program. Soon she will be a dedicated classroom teacher, and a role model for young students.
Eddie Basha, Jr. is a man whose advocacy for children and education is legendary. For many years he has donated his leadership, time and financial support to projects for education, the homeless and hungry, health care and the arts. As a proponent of quality education, he has served on the Arizona Board of Regents, the State Board of Education and the Chandler School Board, and his family-owned supermarket chain continues to raise funds for countless charities.
Anshantia Oso, a senior Communications major, levies her time between various social and community service projects. She is the president of the Arizona Youth and College Division of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), serves as a mentor within the Minority Achievers Program, and is the creator of Diaspora Magazine.s
Kevin 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 facility for local students and their parents. In 1996, he also started a branch of the Academy in Phoenix to serve junior high and high school students.
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.
As 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 elderly 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 diversity and minority access in higher education. She participated in 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. She is 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.
For six decades, Betty H. Fairfax has been an outstanding teacher, counselor, children's advocate and reformer. After teaching for 10 years in Cleveland, she came to Phoenix as a teacher at the segregated all-black Carver High School in 1950, later moving to Phoenix Union and then Central High School as a counselor and dean of students.
She is renowned as a no-nonsense but caring counselor who lays down the law to kids, sometimes making “home visits” in the wee hours of the morning. She demands accountability by schools, responsibility by students and active involvement by parents.
Her extensive commitment to public service includes serving on the boards of Teach for America, the Genesis Program, the Center for Developing Older Adult Resources, the Arizona Learning Center and the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.
She and her sister Jean caused a stir in 1987 when they adopted the 8th grade class at the Mary McLeod Bethune School and promised college scholarships of $1,000 a year to all of the 92 graduates of the inner-city school who finished high school and went to college.
Among her other philanthropies are a scholarship at Kent State University for African-American students committed to careers in urban education, a fund for educational equity at the Arizona Community Foundation and two funds at the Cleveland Foundation that support public education.
She has won the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Phoenix, the Hon Kachina Award for volunteerism, The Horace Steele Child Advocacy Award from Children's Action Alliance and the YWCA Tribute to Women.
A leader in education, civil rights and philanthropy, Jean. E. Fairfax has been actively involved throughout her life in addressing critical social issues. She began her professional career in 1942 as dean of women at Kentucky State College and Tuskegee Institute.
For 20 years she had major assignments with the American Friends Service Committee, serving as a relief worker in Europe after World War II, then as a director of college programs and an administrator of civil rights programs. She directed a division of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 1965 to 1985.
As a leader in the civil rights movement, she was involved in many significant crises and developments: the closing of all public schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia by white officials, the first desegregation of schools in Mississippi, and the integration and restructuring of higher education systems throughout the South.
Jean participated in launching the World Council of Churches' program to combat racism, in drafting the Patient's Bill of Rights by the American Hospital Association, and in promoting reforms in the national school lunch program to include all needy children.
She has been a leader in philanthropy for 30 years, founding the organization Women & Philanthropy and serving on the board of the Council of Foundations. She has been especially involved in promoting black philanthropy, serving as a trustee of the Black Legacy Endowed Fund and a director for the Association of Black Foundation Executives. She has endowed many charitable funds with her sister, Betty.
Jean's awards include the Radcliffe College Lifetime Achievement Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Conference on Black Philanthropy, the YWCA Tribute to Women award and the Kent State University President's Social Responsibility Award.
I am a senior majoring in Social Work with a minor in Family Studies, with a passion for helping the homeless community. Both my parents instilled in me that it is what you give to others that matters the most. Volunteer work has been important to me since I was young, and I believe it has shaped me into who I am today.
I also work with PATH (Pro-active Allies for Tempe's Homeless), a group dedicated to serving the homeless community of Tempe. Each Friday evening we prepare food bags to distribute to those who are in need of food. Handing out the bags is a small part of the evening for me. I have the pleasure to sit and converse with those who feel like shadows to the rest of society. It is amazing to see how their faces light up.
I have also volunteered with many other groups including Tempe St. Luke's Hospital, the Andre House, ASU's Student Speakers Bureau, ASU Cares, and AIDS Awareness Week. Service is very important to me, and I strive to share the passion with others in hope that they too see how important it is to give. I remind myself that I am here fulfilling my dreams because others have seen the potential in me to succeed.
Socorro Hernandez Bernasconi was born and raised in Guadalupe, Arizona, an impoverished community on the outskirts of Phoenix that is approximately 45 percent Yaqui Indian and 55 percent Latino. A mother of seven children, and one of the first people from Guadalupe to obtain a college degree, Bernasconi says she never considered taking the rewards of her education anywhere but back to Guadalupe.
She became the first Latina counselor in the Tempe school district serving Guadalupe, and later she founded an alternative, tri-lingual school that emphasized the cultural heritage of its students. When the school closed 10 years later for lack of funds, she became the director of Refugio De Colores, a shelter from domestic violence that used traditional cultural practices and values to respond to the needs of minority women and children.
At the shelter she organized an annual month-long art exhibit for victims to display artworks that transformed their anger and fear into self-expression and community education. To expand the shelter, she went door to door through the community with a contractor's list of materials needed.
It was the tragedy of her 19-year-old son's suicide that caused her to change her focus to at-risk teens and gun violence. Bernasconi left her job at the shelter in 1995 to found a community group called GLAAD (Guadalupe Libre Alcohol, Armas & Drogas), urging teenagers to give up their firearms in exchange for rewards. She got local businesses to give computers, bicycles and guitar lessons for the traded-in guns. The exchanged firearms are then given to local welders who turn them into tools and artwork, such as candlesticks for the altar of a Guadalupe church.
In addition to the gun redemption program, Bernasconi has organized vigils at the scenes of violent crimes and instituted a ride-along program for youth and community leaders to accompany policemen on their beats. She also started a college scholarship fund for Guadalupe youths that has raised thousands of dollars.
She was one of four candidates chosen nationally to win a 1996 Petra Award for making a “distinctive contribution to human freedom,” and was honored in 1999 as a Peacemaker at the National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution. Bernasconi also was one of 30 community leaders from across the nation given a scholarship to attend the Fifth Meditation Retreat for Activists of Color.
Sarah Renee Lindstrom is an ASU senior from Scottsdale, majoring in Biology and Society and minoring in Women's Studies. She was selected to receive the ASU Student Servant-Leader Award primarily for her work with Camp Sparky, a student organization that works with students at Title I elementary schools. She describes her work:
“About 12 times a year, Camp Sparky members visit elementary schools where over half of each school's population participates in federally funded lunch programs, to provide alternative educational opportunities to fifth graders. We try to engage students in their education through fun, hands-on activities that extend their school curricula. These structured, theme-centered activities are affectionately called ‘day camps.’
“I have been involved with Camp Sparky since my first semester of college, when the organization was only a semester old. To participate in the growth of Camp Sparky has been an extremely rewarding experience. I take pride in being the first newsletter editor, the first day camp director to host a field trip, and the first silent auction director in Camp Sparky history, traditions that have continued. The organization thrives because it instills in us the passion to be educational advocates to students that might not consider higher education because of their social inequalities.
“For the past two years, Camp Sparky has worked with Flora Thew Elementary School and the Tempe Elementary School District to conduct a weekend camp. This year Erin Torkelson and I discovered that students struggle with the transition from fifth grade at Flora Thew Elementary School to sixth grade at Connolly Middle School. One teacher believes they have difficulty for three reasons: (1) the students' minority background, (2) the multiplicity of teachers the students encounter in middle school, and (3) the lack of community support. Erin and I wrote a proposal that was accepted for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Scholar-Citizen grant, Empowerment Through Education: Encouraging Fifth Graders to Succeed in Sixth Grade. We plan to address these problems as the focus of our weekend camp held at the end of May, just before the fifth graders are promoted to sixth grade.
“It is not for purely selfless reasons that I am active in Camp Sparky. I have experienced the satisfaction and delight of watching students grapple with a concept until they finally have an epiphany of understanding. I have had the opportunity to present new information to students and watch them make connections, clarifying a portion of their understanding of the world. Hopefully, I have instilled a passion and a craving for knowledge in at least one of the students I have encountered.”