On Sept. 27 at the City of Santa Clara’s “State of the City,” held at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts, the City Council honored this year’s District and Citywide Community Award recipients.
For the District 1 Community Award, Council Member Kathy Watanabe recognized the docents who volunteer at the Agnews Historical Museum and Cemetery – Kathleen Lee, the late Pat Hannum, the late Norm Holder and his wife Judy, Gretchen and Jim Hill, Jeff Mardesich and Angela Vrbanac-Libby.
“Originally opened in 1889, Agnews was established as a treatment facility for the mentally ill until tragedy struck when the 1906 earthquake decimated the building, killing over 100 patients,” Watanabe said. “Nestled inside the bustling tech campus of Oracle, Agnews is a reminder that our remembrance of the past is not automatic and only through the dedicated work of these museum docents is this history translated into the future.”
For the District 2 Community Award, Council Member Raj Chahal recognized John Brooks.
“For so many years, John has been involved in arranging one of the biggest neighborhood parties during the City’s annual National Night Out,” Chahal said. “His leadership and involvement has brought residents of his street and nearby areas together as one big family…”
For the District 3 Community Award, Council Member Karen Hardy recognized Todd and Shanti Dickson for the couple’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“250 volunteers from across the Bay Area and statewide joined their not-for-profit project, Sewing 4 Good, to design, cut, sew, inspect, box and ship over 5,000 washable water-repellent breathable isolation gowns to medical personnel and community workers across the country for free,” Hardy said.
For the District 4 Community Award, Vice Mayor Kevin Park recognized Kelly and Jonathan Ernst, Spencer Davis and Carol Bryson from the Killarney Farms Swim Center.
“Kelly and Jonathan Ernst have shown extraordinary dedication advocating for this cherished neighborhood pool serving as treasurers of the swim center and working tirelessly to keep the facility alive for the community to enjoy,” Park said. “Spencer Davis served on the board for the swim center… he has gone above and beyond to keep the pool maintained, safe, and swimable…I would also like to recognize Carol Bryson, board president, for her leadership in exploring all possible options for keeping this facility funded as well as taking on a variety of responsibilities.”
For the District 5 Community Award, Council Member Suds Jain recognized Jonathon Evans, the current president of the Old Quad Residents Association (OQRA).
“Jonathon also serves as Chair of the Santa Clara Library Board of Trustees…He also served as a representative to the Bart Phase Two Community Working Group,” Jain said. “As president of OQRA, Jonathon keeps close tabs on real estate developments in the district working hard to preserve quality of life for the residents.”
For the District 6 Community Award, Council Member Anthony Becker recognized Wesley Mukoyama, for what he described as Mukoyama’s campaign to change the City’s former voting system.
“Along with his several assignments for the Peace Corps, Mr. Mukoyama also volunteered for the Red Cross, served on a dozen community boards and worked as a chaplain for inmates at the County jail for decades,” Becker said.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor recognized Diana Ding, CEO of Silicon Valley Community Media and Ding Ding TV, with the prestigious Citywide Community Award.
“Diana has elevated the Asian American community in both historic and meaningful ways,” Gillmor said. “An incredible community leader, she has organized civic leadership forums and through her ongoing commitment to collaboration, has brought communities together in solidarity against Asian hate both on and off the screen.”
“This award is a recognition of not just my efforts, but of the hard work of all Asian Americans, ethnic medias and the dedication of the many organizations and individuals who have supported me along the way,” Ding said.
Last year, working alongside Joel Wong, Ding gathered 70 community vocalists, including 20 public elected officials, to participate in the production of a music video called “All of Us Belong Right Here” to advocate for stopping AAPI hate. Ding is also the organizer of the Civic Leadership Forum in Silicon Valley. Ding also chairs the Asian American Stories Video Contest.
“Also, at the end of last year, we produced the documentary film, ‘Builders of the Silicon Dream,’” Ding said. “We collaborated on this with professional Hollywood filmmakers. This aired on PBS. This film was just selected by the Chinese American Film Festival as a candidate for the best documentary film. People don’t really know how much Asians and American Americans have made contributions to America. So, this film educates people.”