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Supervisors Present Unity in Diversity Awards to Community Members and Organizations

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Today, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors proclaimed May 1, 2012 as "Unity in Diversity Day." Five community leaders and organizations received Unity in Diversity Achievement Awards from the County Supervisors for building unity in the community.

“Santa Clara County is one of the most diverse counties in the nation,” said President George Shirakawa, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “Today we are celebrating some individuals who contribute to making the County a place where everyone is valued and welcomed.”
Supervisor Mike Wasserman, District 1: Juan Gil Garcia, director and producer
In a voluntary capacity, Juan Gil Garcia has directed and produced six original short films that raise awareness regarding human rights issues related to undocumented students and young women and transgender youth. His films represent a brave new look at personal and social implications of the U.S. immigration policy, anti-immigrant sentiment, future of undocumented students, homophobia and society’s assignment of gender roles and gender identities.

In a professional capacity, Mr. Garcia has worked with Catholic Charities Immigration and Citizenship Program for the past 10 years. He has helped hundreds of immigrants file citizenship applications and provided legal guidance regarding naturalization and other immigration issues. The focus of his work in Gilroy has been on the farm workers who have limited access to resources and education.
Supervisor George Shirakawa, President of the Board, District 2: Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce San Francisco Bay Area (TCC-SFBA)
TCC-SFBA is a non-profit organization that helps to connect the Taiwanese and local businesses and provide opportunities for the business communities to give back to the community. 
TCC-SFBA educates second generation Taiwanese immigrants by helping youth participate in a wide variety of programs and events such as donation programs, Thanksgiving luncheon (serving 700+ homeless persons annually for more than a decade), and services for the needy.
Supervisor Dave Cortese, District 3: Megan Williams, Project Michelle
Megan Williams has spent much of her time and energy to increase the deficient number of minority bone marrow donor registrants in the national registry. Through her effort, 18,157 people have registered. She worked with local and state legislators to help pass the SB 1304:”Michelle Maykin Memorial Donation Protection Action” in January 2011, which provides an employee up to five days paid leave for the purpose of bone marrow donation.

Megan William hosts educational programs to inform the community about bone marrow, Hep-B, colon cancer and lung cancer issues. She promotes awareness of these issues on-air and invites specialists to educate the general public on AM 1120.

Each year during Thanksgiving, she collaborates with others to provide a nice luncheon for the youth in juvenile hall. She also volunteers her time to help women and children from the shelter.
Supervisor Ken Yeager, District 4: Ira Greene PACE Clinic
The Ira Greene Partners in AIDS Care and Education (PACE) Clinic is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS care in Santa Clara County. Currently, the PACE Clinic serves about 1,300 patients. Because HIV/AIDS can affect anyone from any ethnic or cultural background, the PACE Clinic serves patients from all walks of life.  Furthermore, PACE is the only HIV/AIDS service provider that accepts patients without insurance.
The PACE Clinic offers patients in all stages of HIV infection state-of-the-art primary care in a friendly and compassionate environment. At the clinic they offer a variety of programs that allow doctors and patients to work together to address the increasing complexity of HIV treatment, as well as the real-life challenges of dealing with the disease. The clinic stresses a holistic approach that includes a comprehensive range of on-site services, from clinic treatment to nutrition and psychotherapy.
Supervisor Liz Kniss, District 5: Zohar – IndepenDANCE Program
In 1985, Ehud Krauss initiated the IndepenDANCE Program for at-risk youth in East Palo Alto and gave them the opportunity to take dance classes and discover the benefits that studying, practicing and performing can bring.
The program started with 30 middle school students and expanded to include a majority of the schools in East Palo Alto and schools in Redwood City and San Jose. In 1995, Krauss began teaching incarcerated youth at Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall and the program helped break down barriers among gang members. In 2000, the program opened to children with special needs.
The IndepenDANCE Program has grown tremendously throughout the years. The constant dedication to providing for the communities’ needs and creating a better future has always been at the organization’s core. Its expansion to include a variety of individuals demonstrates dancing’s versatility, diversity, and ability to facilitate acceptance.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119
Posted: May 1, 2012