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UNION BANK AND KCET HONOR LOS ANGELES AFRICAN AMERICANS AS LOCAL HEROES
For Immediate Release
Honorees named to help kick off expanded cultural diversity partnership
LOS ANGELES (February 15, 2011) - As part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity, Union Bank has partnered with KCET to launch a year-long program designed to celebrate local heroes who are making a difference to enrich the lives of others. The 2011 Cultural Diversity Partnership will recognize and pay tribute to 10 Angelenos who are making a difference by improving their workplace, profession, neighborhood, community, region and the world.
The program kicks off with the 2011 Black History Month Local Heroes to include: Pastor Ruett Stephen Foster and wife Rhonda Foster and Charmaine Jefferson.
Joining the Black History Month Local Heroes, honorees will also be identified during Women’s History Month (March) and Jewish American Heritage Month (May), marking an expansion of the annual celebration. Honorees will continue to be recognized during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May) and Hispanic Heritage Month (September/October). The year-long celebration of diversity will culminate in an awards ceremony in October, where recipients will be formally recognized as part of the 14th Annual Local Heroes Awards, which Union Bank sponsors.
Union Bank and KCET will also identify Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month (June) Local Heroes as part of the expanded initiative and honor them during a similar event in June.
"Union Bank and KCET share a rich history together, and we are honored to again partner with one of Southern California’s greatest treasures," said Pierre Habis, senior executive vice president and head of Community Banking at Union Bank. "The Local Heroes program honors the contributions of outstanding individuals who have contributed so much to the Los Angeles community, just as KCET has done for decades. This year we have expanded the program to recognize honorees as part of Women’s History, Jewish American Heritage and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Months. Our Local Heroes program has grown to more clearly reflect the diverse and vibrant community we serve."
"KCET is proud to continue its longtime affiliation with Union Bank on this new Cultural Diversity Partnership initiative," said Al Jerome, KCET president and CEO. "Expanding the Local Heroes celebration to better reflect the diversity of our region emphasizes the contributions of all those who dedicate their lives to improving our communities, and celebrates each culture’s unique and vibrant heritage."
For each heritage month, KCET will ask for nominations of local community members in the arts, business, community activism, education and/or social services. You may visit www.kcet.org/heroes to submit a nomination.
The 2011 honorees for Black History Month are:
- Charmaine Jefferson is the executive director of the California African American Museum. She is deeply dedicated to enriching her community and the lives of others through the promotion of artistic endeavors. Her innovative advocacy of arts education and programming has earned her wide acclaim in both the private and public sectors. Ms. Jefferson is also very committed to charitable works and philanthropic organizations. Her advisory board and consulting memberships is as varied as it is extensive, and she is particularly involved with the California Institute for the Arts, Arts for LA, and the California Arts Council.
- Pastor Ruett Stephen Foster and Rhonda Foster. Pastor Foster has over thirty years of experience as a teacher, counselor, and an advocate for the children, youth and families of Los Angeles. For the past thirteen years, he has served as an ardent public activist for violence prevention. He became an assiduous advocate after the tragic and senseless loss of his innocent seven-year-old son, Evan, to gun violence in 1997. Pastor Foster and his wife, Rhonda, have partnered with several causes in the hopes of eradicating youth violence by instilling empathy and cultivating emotional growth in incarcerated youth.
Rhonda Foster has dedicated her life to helping children reconcile with their families and their communities as a whole. She and her husband Pastor Foster established the Evan Leigh Foster Foundation in memory of their son to provide care and services for children who have perpetrated crimes against society as a result of being separated or estranged from their families. Her commitment to youth is reflected in her position as the case manager for Community Build and the Gang Reduction Youth Development Program of Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa’s office. She coordinates therapy, tutoring, sports, arts activities and life coaching for children between the ages of 10 and 15.
For more information on the Local Heroes Awards, please also visit unionbank.com/heroes.