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2010 Black History Month Heroes

2010 Black History Month Heroes - KCET

As part of the Union Bank Heritage Month celebrations, we are proud to sponsor the Local Heroes Awards and to honor various individuals for their positive contributions in the African American community.

The honorees will be formally recognized as part of the 13th Annual Local Heroes Awards, which Union Bank sponsors in conjunction with public television station KCET. The station will also broadcast video profiles of the honorees throughout its Black History Month programming from February 1 through 28.

Congratulations to our 2010 Local Heroes of the Year:

Shonte Henderson     Shonte Henderson
      Los Angeles County Superior Court
      Bellflower, CA 

      Watch video

Shonte Henderson is a judicial assistant to Judge Leland Tipton of the Los Angeles County Superior Court in the Bellflower courthouse. With a master's degree in public administration and 20 years' experience, Ms. Henderson brings a strong knowledge of the judicial system to her position. However, it is her personal victory as a four-time breast cancer survivor and her fund-raising efforts for breast cancer awareness and research for which she is most proud. Ms. Henderson is an avid breast cancer advocate and has helped raise more than $6,000 for breast cancer initiatives. As the leader of Team Shonte, she has helped raise $5,300 individually for Avon Breast Cancer Walks. An inspiration to those around her, Ms. Henderson was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 25 and has persevered with a passion to continue helping others through her example and fund-raising efforts.

MillicentHillBHM.jpg     Millicent Hill 
     Mama Hill's Help
     Los Angeles, CA

     Watch video

Millicent "Mama" Hill is CEO and founder of Mama Hill's Help, an after-school program started in her own home to help troubled students in the Los Angeles area. With a 40-year background as a Los Angeles Unified School District schoolteacher, Ms. Hill educates and empowers at-risk children who need the most guidance in her community. She estimates having saved nearly 2,000 children from death due to violence. Ms. Hill was the driving force in creating and popularizing a special museum dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. at Crenshaw High School, and she continues her outreach and leadership programs, focusing on gang prevention and intervention as well as voter registration outreach. During 2010, Ms. Hill will lead a weekly seminar on Black History/Brown History/Life Skills.

ArevaMartinBHM.jpg     Areva Martin, Esq.
     Special Needs Network, Inc.
     Los Angeles, CA

     Watch video

Areva Martin is president and founder of Special Needs Network, Inc. (SNN), a nonprofit launched to support families with special needs children. A graduate of Chicago University and Harvard Law School, she is also a managing partner of Martin & Martin, LLP, recognized as one of the premier African-American, woman-owned law firms in Los Angeles. Through grassroots outreach programs, SNN's efforts have led to significant gains in the quality of diagnosis and treatment options available to thousands of families of special needs children in South Los Angeles, including Ms. Martin's own family, as her son was diagnosed with autism. SNN has received commendations from the U.S. Congress, mayors, county supervisors, and the city's top leaders. Ms. Martin has appeared on programs such as Fox News, NPR, and Court TV, and she has also contributed her expertise to the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Redbook, and Heart and Soul magazine. In 2010, Ms. Martin will oversee SNN's partnership with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital opening in South Los Angeles.

Billy Mitchell     Billy Mitchell
     Scholarship Audition Performance Preparatory Academy
     South Pasadena, CA

     Watch video

Fueled by a passion for jazz, Billy Mitchell is executive director of the Scholarship Audition Performance Preparatory Academy (SAPPA). He founded SAPPA in 2002 to teach young, talented musicians how to hone their musical skills in a professional atmosphere. SAPPA's success also came from helping students build character, self-esteem, and discipline while encouraging excellence. Other groups took notice, and SAPPA eventually partnered with the Music Center Education Division, LAUSD's Beyond the Bell program, and the NAACP ACT-SO program. SAPPA's programs have earned Mr. Mitchell several awards, including the Pasadena Arts Council's "Gold Crown" award and America West's "Jazz for the Next Generation" award. Mr. Mitchell is also the music director of the Music Performance Academy, an international music network based in Alhambra, California. He plans to continue his advocacy during 2010 as the executive director of the newly formed Watts-Willowbrook Music Conservatory.

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