|Recap of the 17th Annual
City of Tempe
Human Relations Commission
MLK Diversity Dinner
MLK Diversity Awards Dinner
(walk-ins cannot be accommodated)
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Check in and reception at 6:00 p.m. (no host bar)
Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.
Tempe Mission Palms Hotel
600 E. Fifth Street, Tempe, AZ 85281
Jevin Hodge, America's Leading Young Agent for Change.
2015 MLK Diversity Award Winners
Randy Keating – Individual Adult
Randy Keating is an eloquent spokesman and activist for diversity in Tempe. His passion for social justice will find him working for immigration and the plight of undocumented Americans, voter engagement, specifically with the Hispanic community, anti-discrimination laws, LGBT rights, gun responsibility, and gender equality. Randy raised funding for the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program, providing funding for five students to gain legal status, and he recently worked to promote the passage of Prop 475, which made Tempe the first city in Arizona to include sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status in the city charter as protected classes from employment and housing discrimination
Dr. Jed Maddela – Individual Adult
Dr. Jed Maddela has an unrelenting passion and commitment toward ensuring the wellness of his community. He has an acute sense of culture, difference, and an ability to help. Aware that the health industry is wrought with disparity, and this disparity seemingly predisposes certain demographics to chronic health concerns, Dr. Maddela’s life work has been to serve as the joiner for these disparate communities. He is Mountain Park’s first physician to serve as a Diversity Site Champion where he communicates issues and opportunities to Mountain Park staff and community stakeholders concerning best practices to provide tailored care to patients of all races, ethnicities, religions, ages, gender identities and sexual orientations. Dr. Maddela understands that being inclusive of patients from all backgrounds makes his practice a more compassionate, efficient and wise healthcare organization.
Jeff Procter-Murphy – Individual Adult
Jeff Procter-Murphy is the Senior Pastor of Dayspring United Methodist Church. Each week during the Worship Services, regardless of the particular sermon topic, Jeff’s call to action is to go out into the world and welcome, nurture, strengthen, and sustain others. The importance of treating each person with dignity and embracing those who may be different than us is a consistent theme throughout each service. This past fall at the Wednesday evening fellowship classes, Jeff facilitated a class on the Muslim faith. He invited Muslim leaders in the community to teach and share their experiences. The class built a bridge of mutual respect and understanding between people, cultures and faith traditions. Also, this past October during LGBT History Month, Dayspring welcomed a transgendered guest speaker to deliver the sermon at both services who shared their life journey with the Dayspring community. Jeff Procter-Murphy leads by asking, “What are you doing for others?” He challenges his congregation to embody the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. : respect, courtesy, social justice, commitment, courage and inclusion.
Safiya Aden – Individual Youth
Safiya is a senior at Marcos de Niza High School, where she is a member of the Unity Club, president of the Health Occupation Students of America, and a member of the Key Club. She is also an active member of the Tempe Teen Diversity Dialogue Program. Safiya is a student at school who makes everyone feel welcome. An example of this is when she befriended a new student from Pakistan who did not understand the American culture and was struggling to fit in. Safiya walked her through the ins and outs of high school social life and helped her make the decision to apply for ASU and continue in her journey within American culture. Safiya is one of the few students at her high school that chooses to show her commitment to her culture and religion by wearing a traditional hijab. This open dialogue with others she comes in contact with on campus.
Olivia Altamirano – Individual Youth
Olivia is a senior at Tempe High School where she is a member of a violence prevention program, Stand and Serve, which works with high school youth, families, neighborhoods, and communities to cultivate safety, equality and respect as norms in order to prevent violence before it begins. Not only does Olivia work with her high school peers to cultivate diversity, she also serves as a Peer Educator for middle school youth in the Stand and Serve program. Olivia also volunteers at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital and is an active member in Tempe High’s Theater, HOPE, International Baccalaureate, the National Honor Society and the Gay-Straight Alliance.
Elijah Quin Chevalier – Individual Youth
Elijah is a senior at Tempe High School, where he is a Peer Educator for Stand and Serve, a program that ends violence by cultivating positive community norms. He is also active on his campus as part of the Gay-Straight Alliance, Paw Prints (an animal welfare club), and the Tempe High Theater Troupe. Eli volunteers annually for the City of Tempe at the Tempe Tardeada, the annual MLK Diversity Awards, the Unity Walk, and was a participant in the Tempe Teen Diversity Dialogue Program. He also speaks publicly and does trainings for various agencies and organizations in Tempe in order to promote the safety, respect, and welfare of Gender Romantic and Sexual Minorities (GRSM), especially those in the trans community.
Selena Urbalejo – Individual Youth
Selena is a senior at Marcos de Niza High School, where for the past three years she has been an active member of Stand and Serve, a community-based program committed to violence prevention and positive youth development. For two of these three years Selena has committed to being a Peer Educator, where she has been trained to empower and educate others on issues they are facing. Selena loves to be involved in her community and volunteers at the Tempe Tardeada, Unity Walk, and the MLK Diversity Award Brunch/Dinner. She also volunteers at UMOM, St. Mary’s Food Bank, and the Wilson Street Community Garden.
Kathleen M. Espinoza – Educational
Kathy dedicated her life to being a teacher, a friend and a mentor to other teachers. Throughout her 30-year career, Kathy often worked in schools that were rated as being impoverished, and always talked about “my kids”, without any distinction of race, color, gender or ethnicity. She embraced and loved every student and teacher she ever worked with or taught. For a number of years Kathy was a teacher rep and later a Union representative as well. She fought for the rights of teachers and served as a voice of the teachers. After her retirement she was approached by a group of teachers, requesting that she run for an open position on the Tempe Elementary School Board. She served for a short time after being elected, again a leader in the community and serving as a voice for education and for the betterment of teachers. Kathy’s physical health was such that she was in constant pain, yet no one would ever know it. She eventually lost her mobility. Kathy passed away in July of this past year.
Juneteenth Subcommittee – Community Group
This award honors Pastor Anita Bullock, Michelle Brooks-Totress, Kim Dartez, and Louanna Faine, from the Juneteenth Subcommittee of the Tempe African American Advisory Committee. These four ladies worked together to make the first City of Tempe Juneteenth event happen in Tempe in 2014. The event was very successful, with over 500 people in attendance. The planning and implementation was done in less than two month, with no formal budget. The women used their community contacts to bring in entertainment and in-kind resources. Having an event such as this gives great pride to the African-American community of Tempe, because for many years residents of Tempe had to travel to surrounding cities to celebrate their heritage.
TCAA Food Pantry Volunteers – Community Group
For nearly 50 years, TCAA has worked in partnership with the City of Tempe to provide a variety of anti-poverty services supporting working poor families, children, seniors and the homeless. The Food Pantry, led by coordinator Kathy Estrada, exemplifies a commitment to diversity through its community volunteers and accessibility to community members in need of food resources. TCAA recruits and manages approximately 100 volunteers to support the Food Pantry from a variety of resources. Pantry volunteers may consist of ASU students, homeless clients from the I-HELP shelter in pursuit of gaining transferable workforce skills, retired residents giving back, disabled individuals, faith based congregation members, and those needing to complete court ordered community service. This wide spectrum of the community works side by side sorting food donations, packaging food boxes, and distributing food to the clients in need.
The Dhaba/Indian Plaza – Business
Raveen Arora was born into the civil war-torn Punjab region of India in the 1940’s. His family lost everything, and he saw devastation and suffering throughout the country. After completing college and working in India and England, Raveen and his wife Clara immigrated to the US. Once settled they wanted to create a multicultural center that would bring their native India closer to Tempe. Their vision was based on the values of childhood: to build a business based on integrity, transparency, honesty, and commitment to equality and diversity. Central to this is the belief in and practice of “Atithi Devo Bhava,” a Hindu phrase which loosely translates to “Customer is God.” The Dhaba/India Plaza opposes all kinds of oppression, not just physical aggression, but all forms of discrimination against gender, race, color and religion. The Aroras are original pledgers of One Community, recognizing the LGBT community. Their workplace is the model of diversity, with most associates minorities from India, the Orient, Oceania, and Africa.
For a list of past Diversity Award Recipients click here.