Union Bank, KQED Honor Asian Pacific Americans as ‘Local Heroes’

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Paul Osaki

Takashi Tanemori

SAN FRANCISCO — As part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Union Bank has partnered with KQED to honor four Northern Californian Asian Pacific Americans as local heroes for their exemplary leadership and dedication in serving their communities.

This year’s honorees are: Gregory Fung, Paul Osaki, Takashi Tanemori and Donald Young. The awards will be presented on Wednesday, May 4, at 6 p.m. at KQED in San Francisco.

The honorees will be formally recognized as part of the 16th annual Local Heroes Awards, which Union Bank sponsors in conjunction with public television station KQED. Union Bank and KQED created the awards to help celebrate the national commemorative heritage months for the African American and Asian Pacific American communities. The awards honor outstanding individuals in the community who strive to enrich the lives of others and have expanded in San Francisco to also recognize honorees as part of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month in June.

“Union Bank is proud to join with KQED to celebrate this year’s local heroes,” said Union Bank Senior Executive Vice President Pierre Habis, head of community banking. “Once again, these extraordinary individuals have made enormous contributions to their communities, and they exemplify our core values of diversity and community involvement. We are pleased to continue our partnership with KQED and to recognize the honorees for their dedication and tremendous efforts.”

“KQED is honored to again partner with Union Bank in recognizing four incredible local heroes,” said John Boland, president and CEO of KQED. “These individuals exemplify a tireless commitment to the Asian Pacific American community and to the Bay Area community at large. We are pleased to introduce them to our viewers through the video profiles airing on KQED throughout Asian Pacific American Heritage Month as we also celebrate with programming that focuses on Asian Pacific American themes and culture.”

Following are profiles of the 2011 honorees:

Gregory Fung, M.D. is a gastroenterologist by day and dedicated community health advocate and theatre group volunteer member by night. As a physician, he has been involved with many community health organizations, including Glide Health Services, where he was the founding medical director. He also works with the Delancey Street Foundation, a national rehabilitation and re-entry program where he runs a free medical clinic and conducts stress reduction seminars with his brother for the residents. Fung and his five siblings also founded a community theater group — “Friends Of…” — that stages free, original theatrical productions for 5,000 youth, senior citizens and community members annually.

Paul Osaki is the executive director of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC). He has a 33-year history of dedication and commitment to the Japanese American community and has worked with many community organizations, committees and boards, including the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council, an organization representing Japanese American organizations statewide. Osaki has organized several interactions between leaders of Japan and the U.S. and is also a strong advocate for improving the relationship between the two countries. He is also coordinating the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, which was established to help with the relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Tohoku region of Japan.

Takashi Tanemori is the founder of the Silkworm Peace Institute. Having faced great hardships in his life, including surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, losing his family during the attack and enduring physical and emotional adversity, he found himself angry and eager for revenge until, in 1985, he realized he had a higher calling. He has since devoted himself to fostering forgiveness and helping others live in “heiwa” — peace, with harmony and equality. Tanemori has dedicated his life to helping others overcome the barriers he once faced to help make the world a safer and more peaceful place to live.

Donald Young has been at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), formerly the National Asian American Telecommunications Association, since 1996, and is currently director of programs. He has dedicated his career to advancing the Asian American community’s involvement in the media industry, and throughout his career, he has worked with many of the community’s vastly talented storytellers in an effort to convey the untold pieces of America’s culture and history. At CAAM, he heads production and national PBS broadcasting efforts, manages the Media Fund and Digital Media departments and supervises the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Young has produced numerous films and documentaries that showcase the Asian American community.

Throughout the month of May, KQED will air video profiles of each honoree, highlighting how they made a difference in their community. The spots, along with program listings and descriptions of the programs celebrating Asian Pacific American themes and culture, can be viewed on the Web at www.kqed.org/community/heritage/.  For more information about the Local Heroes Awards, visit http://unionbank.com/heroes.

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