Dozens honored at ‘We Are Portland’ Awards

Discover the four categories of awardees lauded for their service to Portland’s immigrant and refugee community …

Guests and those honored at the 2013 We Are Portland awards enjoy a light brunch before the ceremony begins.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For the second time, “We Are Portland” Awards have been presented to individuals involved in neighborhood engagement, New Portlander leadership, empowering youth, and preserving the cultural heritage of immigrants and refugees who now make Portland their home.

On the sunny morning of July 26, awardees and celebrants traveled to the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), located in outer East Portland, for this unique awards ceremony.

“We Are Portland” awardee Anne Downing, a David Douglas ESL teacher, talked with Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz – herself in line for an award – before the ceremony began.

While attendees noshed on fresh fruit and croissants, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, one of the awardees, spoke with East Portland News about the event.

“It is very lovely that I’m being awarded,” Fritz smiled. “But more importantly, I was honored to have founded the City of Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights, and was, in the past, in charge of the City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement. ONI– and IRCO is one of our valued partners.

About having ONI taken from her office’s portfolio, Fritz commented metaphorically, “Just because your child goes off to college doesn’t mean you don’t still love them. I will continue to be a supporter of both of these offices through my involvement with Portland Parks & Recreation, and Development Services. These Bureaus [now in my portfolio] also need a lot of diverse community engagement, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing how we can encourage that.”

City of Portland New Portlander Programs Program Coordinator Ronault L.S. “Polo” Catalani kicks off the awards program by welcoming guests and honorees, with the assistance of Asian Family Center Director Lee Po Cha.

Getting the program started, City of Portland New Portlander Programs Coordinator Ronault L.S. “Polo” Catalani introduced his co-presenter, Asian Family Center Director Lee Po Cha, noting that he was the first Asian president of the Roosevelt High School Roughriders.

“The City of Portland does so many things well,” Catalani began. “Through the New Portlander Programs and Office of Equity, we’ve tried to do very good things – delivering services in an equitable way. I am grateful, and I say this from the bottom of my heart, for all those who help bring Portland services to the anxious moms and hard-working dads in our vulnerable neighborhoods.”

Many are in attendance in the IRCO gym for this year’s ceremony.

City of Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights Executive Director Dante J. James, Esq. and Center for Intercultural Organizing Executive Director Kayse Jama present the first category of awards, “Building a Bigger Us”.

Center for Intercultural Organizing Executive Director Kayse Jama said about the first category of awardees, “Neighborhood Engagement: Building a Bigger Us” addressed the group.

“These are the champions of our community, proclaimed Jama. “They do not seek permission; they just go off to do the work.”

This category of honorees, he said, “are those community activists and City staff who together designed and delivered very valuable City services to our energetic neighborhoods. Among these are involved in community policing, parks and recreation services, and environmental and livable neighborhood services.

“We are recognizing you and we’re thanking you for working with each other, then for together delivering Equity to us all,” Jama said.

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz receives her award.

Those in attendance who receive a “Neighborhood Engagement: Building a Bigger Us” award gather for a photo.

Neighborhood Engagement: Building a Bigger Us category:

Arlene Kimura ~ City Commissioner Amanda Fritz ~ East Precinct Commander Michael Lee
Sarah Miliron ~ Lore Wintergreen ~ Eliza Lindsay ~ Linda Robertson ~ Jeff Milkes
East Precinct Capt. Mark Krueger ~ Jennifer Devlin ~ Cameron Herrington
Jeri Williams ~ Deborah Stein ~ Janis McDonald ~ Greg Raisman ~ Abra McNair
Carolina Iraheta ~ Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong ~ Rekha Koirala ~ Claudia Carrillo
Kim Calame ~ Laura Lirette ~ Luke Bonham ~ Rosa Hernandez ~ Tom Lewis
Zuzana Molcanova ~ Natalya Sobolevskaya ~ Marty Stockton ~ Deborah Cockrell
Nicola Winchester ~ Ski Ter Say ~ Deepak Lamichhane ~ Nicole Brown
Cristina Palacios ~ Leslie Lum

New Portlander Leadership category

Here are your 2013 New Portlander Leadership Award honorees.

The “New Portlander Leadership” category of awards was presented next.

“Leading hearts and minds, then leading policies and practices, in both Portland’s mainstream and in our City’s many ethnic streams, takes great discernment and courage,” Catalani said about this category. “This honors our newcomer community elders and activists, who stepped out of their respective ethnic enclave leadership roles to embrace participatory democracy, Portland-style.”

Through the City of Portland’s ethos of neighborly governance the following leaders are leading their communities into a new world of self-determination:

The Hon. Hongsa Chanthavong ~ The Hon. G. Thang Khan Mung ~ Pastor King Zam
Chhabi Koirala ~ Suliasi Laulaupeaalu ~ Kayse Jama ~ Ronault LS. Catalani
Lee Po Cha ~ Dr. Pei-ru Wang ~ Rukia Mohamed ~ Salome Nanyenga
Gudeta Wak-Woya ~ Koffi Jean-Piere Dessou ~ Ahmed Amin Abi-Mohamed
Oleg Kubrakov ~ Mohamed Abdiasis ~ Nga-My T. Vuong ~ Kathy Wai
Anna Volkova ~ Pam Pham

Empowering Next Generation Portland category

Presenters and awardees of the Empowering Next Generation Portland category gather for a photo.

Next recognized was a group of individuals for Empowering Next Generation Portland, for “engaging our next generation of household, business, religious, civic, government, and education, leaders – essential for a robust City.

Those honored included:

Alejandro Vidales ~ Teacher Anne (Downing) ~ Abinnet Haile ~ Eder Kamanngu
Hameda Dil Mohamed ~ Ganga Bhattarai ~ Jamal Dar ~ Lindsay Hook ~ Kris Bell
Andrew Land ~ Marius Ibuye ~ Daya Shakya ~ Sumitra Chhetri ~ Jan Wolford
Sheila Akushia Amoo ~ Diem Phuong Huynh ~ Margie Cooper
Matt Krueger ~ Lea Wilson

Anchoring our Cultures category

These honorees of the Anchoring our Cultures awards gather for a photo with the presenters.

The “Anchoring our Cultures” category recognizes that immigrant and refugee family integration has historically been the work of faith communities, like Catholic Charities, Lutheran Community Services, and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. Locally it’s also been the role of civil society organizations like IRCO, CIO, Latino Network, and APANO.

This category honors those women and men who by maintaining our cultural traditions in Portland, at the same time preserve the dignity of their elders and ancestors:

Nim Xuto ~ Som Nath Subedi ~ Kolini Fasitua ~ Alicia Hammock
Michael Walsh ~ Anna Gindlesperger ~ Eloise Damrosch ~ Tonisha Toler
Jody Lim ~ Evelyn Liu ~ Tommy Meanea ~ Maria Rubio

East Portland News congratulates all of this year’s honorees of the We Are Portland Awards.

> On our Front Page: Bhutanese community leader Rekha Koirala shows her We are PortlandNeighborhood Engagement: Building a Bigger Us” category award.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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