Tempe Honors Diversity Champions at its MLK Diversity Awards Breakfast
The 16th Annual City of Tempe Human Relations Commission MLK Diversity Awards Brunch, presented by APS, will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, January 20th, at The Buttes Resort, 2000 Westcourt Way, Tempe. The awards brunch will honor community members and groups who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in Tempe. The brunch and awards ceremony will feature keynote speaker Dr. Matthew Whitaker. Attendance at the event is by RSVP only, and available seats are very limited. The cost of the brunch is $5.00. To check on seating availability please call 480-350-8979.
The following people/groups will be recognized at the Diversity Awards Brunch.
Gregg Smith – Individual Adult
Gregg Smith volunteered his time as a facilitator for the City of Tempe’s Diversity Dialogue Program. Over the past five years Gregg volunteered his time facilitating both the spring and fall sessions every Tuesday for seven consecutive weeks each session. His passion for wanting to expose people to dialoguing and how it can make a difference in peoples’ lives and our community was exemplified every week in the program. He led every session with the goal of educating individuals, who have differing opinions, to be respectful and courteous to others. Gregg was also a trained Eleventh Hour Companion through Hospice of the Valley, where he patiently and lovingly sat with people in the active dying process, giving relief to family members. Gregg received special recognition from the Office of the Governor for his volunteer services after being nominated by Hospice of the Valley. Gregg passed away on June 13, 2013.
Constance Kennedy – Individual Youth
Constance Kennedy is a senior at Marcos de Niza High School, where she is active in the Stand and Serve Club, 1n10, and community service programs. Constance is a caring friend, and responsible bystander. She has intervened on multiple occasions and sought guidance on how to help friends from harming themselves, or who have been harmed. By speaking up and helping others, Constance demonstrates the leadership and courage necessary to make our world a safer and more respectful place for everyone.
Laraib Mughal – Individual Youth
Laraib Mughal is a senior at Corona del Sol, where she has been committed to teaching inclusion to her peers. Laraib participates in the Unity Club, where she was a Unity Leader her sophomore and junior years, and was also President of the Unity Club her junior year. As a Unity Club leader, she participated in intense training to learn how to facilitate discussions on race, religion, social justice and tolerance. Laraib completed training every Wednesday night over the course of several years, while participating in all the regular club events as well. As a leader at events, her focus on leading discussions about religion has been very popular among other students. Finally, Laraib was a counselor for the diversity camp, MiniTown, organized a fundraiser for a battered women’s shelter, and organized “Mix It Up Lunch Day” at Corona del Sol last October.
Dania Simpson – Individual Youth
Dania Simpson is a senior at Tempe High School where she is a peer educator in the Stand and Serve Club. In that role Dania serves as a leader for both middle school students and for other peer educators who are just getting started. Dania has made several presentations to youth and adults about youth action in the prevention of violence. In addition, Dania is involved in the school Marching Band, Color Guard Captain, Robotics, International Baccalaureate Program, Student Council, Alta Mira President, International Club, Hope, Scrapbooking Club, Band Council and the Math Team. She is dedicated to making a change within herself and those around her.
Darryl St. Yves– Individual Youth
Darryl St. Yves is a senior at Tempe High School where he is an active member of the Stand and Serve Club. In addition to being a part of the Stand and Serve Club, Daryl is a defensive lineman for his school’s football team. Not only does Darryl work with his high school peers to foster a culture of acceptance and identity respect, but he inspires his peers to promote diversity. Darryl is looked up to, and his peers frequently approach him for advice.
Charles Calleros – Educational
Charles Calleros is an Arizona State University professor and advisor for several student organizations, including the Chicano/Latino Law Students Association. In 2006, Professor Calleros laid the foundation for a new mentoring program, the ASU/HNBA Mentoring Program, which connects lawyers, law students, undergraduates, and high school students. This program works at each step of the ladder to higher education: high school students are exposed to information about college; pre-law students learn about the law school admission process, and law students get an inside view of the practice of law with their attorney mentors. Professor Calleros has brought law-related inspiration, knowledge and experience to thousands of ethnically diverse students from middle school through law school.
City of Tempe Police Department School Resource Officers – Educational
The Tempe Police School Resource Officers (SROs) are uniquely dedicated to serving the youth of our community. The SROs partner closely with the school district, school administrators, teachers, parents and caregivers to keep students and school campuses safe. The SROs provide a police presence on school campuses, perform criminal investigations, counsel and mentor students, and teach hundreds of hours of early intervention and crime prevention programs. Above and beyond school safety and security, the Tempe Police SROs work hard to earn the trust and respect of students, building relationships that have a powerful, positive influence on the direction of young lives.
Dr. Gabriel Escontrias, Jr. – Educational
Dr. Gabriel Escontrias, Jr. is a consummate diversity advocate by coordinating, participating in, and publicizing events that feature diversity themes for ASU students, faculty, staff and the community. He serves the ASU community as a Mentor in the President Barack Obama Scholars Program, as Development Chair of the ASU/Chicano/Latino Faculty & Staff Association, as a member of the Committee for Campus Inclusion, as the Academic Advisor to Tau Psi Omega Fraternity, Inc. – Alpha Chapter, and as the President of the LGBT Devil’s Pride Chapter, ASU Alumni Association. Gabriel has developed and supported change within ASU to make the campus a more friendly and respectful environment.
The Church of the Epiphany -- Tempe – Community Group
The Church of the Epiphany is committed to serving the needs of the local, state, national and international communities through the many programs it supports throughout the year. This small, 300-member congregation participates in and/or supports the Child Crisis Center, East Valley Wildlife, Habitat for Humanity, Paz de Cristo, Matthew’s Crossing green food bags, Assistance for Independent Living (Meals on Wheels), United Blood Services, Lenten Cereal Drive, Back to School Drive for New Pathways for Youth Project, Angel Tree Prison Ministry, Arizona Humane Society, Sock Drive for homeless at Paz de Cristo, Adopt a Family Christmas wishes for ten Thew Elementary School families, and financial support for the Grammen International, Heifer International, Venture International and Evangelicals for Mid-East Understanding. The Church of the Epiphany—Tempe has been quietly making a difference in the lives of other for over 50 years.
Temple Emanuel of Tempe – Community Group
Temple Emanuel of Tempe places importance on Tikkun Olam (pronounced teekoon ohlum). This is Hebrew for “making our world a better place”. The congregants are leaders and participants in the I-HELP program, serving meals twice a month in addition to Christmas dinner to Tempe’s homeless. Their Social Justice group participated in a series of Latino/Jewish dialogues and listened to the experiences of their Latino neighbors to offer their voices and energy toward plausible solutions to immigration in our state. They continue to meet and develop ideas through the Real Arizona Coalition. Temple Emanuel volunteers staff their weekly Tempe Community-Supported Agriculture program, which is open to all members of the community. In addition, congregants volunteer at Project Cure, UMOM Read to Me, Treasures for Teachers and Habitat for Humanity.
(This event will be filmed and replayed throughout the month on Tempe’s Channel 11. Photos of the award winners are available for the press.)