Major Lee, Author Kingston Top OCA Honorees
Washington, D.C.–OCA has announced the honorees for the OCA Outstanding Citizen Achievement and Pioneer Awards, to be presented at OCA’s National Convention in Las Vegas on August 2-5.
This year’s Pioneer Award honorees are Major Kurt Chew-Een Lee, USMC (Ret.) and author Maxine Hong Kingston. J.D. Hokoyama, Floyd Mori and Karen Narasaki will receive OCA’s Outstanding Citizen Achievement Awards.
“We are proud to honor a diverse and legendary group of APA leaders who have made impactful contributions to the community and their respective fields,” said OCA National President, Ken Lee. “Their courage and leadership have paved the way for countless APAs in the arts, education, military, and civil rights.”
OCA is a national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).
The 2012 National Convention, GOTV2 - Get Out To Vegas, Get Out The Vote, will take place at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.
The Pioneer Award and Outstanding Citizen Achievement Awards will be presented during the Gala Awards on Saturday, August 4. At this year’s convention, OCA will also recognize the achievements of its own members with the Chapter of the Year Award and the Unsung Heroes Awards.
Major Kurt Chew-Een Lee, USMC, Ret., holds the distinction of being the first Asian American to be commissioned as a regular officer in over 200 years of proud Marine Corps history and was the first Asian American to be assigned command and staff billets in combat units.
Major Lee grew up in Sacramento, California and was inducted into the Marine Corps in 1944 at age 18. As a Marine, he undertook a self-imposed mission to consciously demolish the fallacious thinking spread by Hollywood movies and by the weakness displayed by the effete Ching government against depredating Western powers during the colonial period that the Chinese, as a race, are too meek, obsequious and subservient to make good soldiers.
By distinguishing himself as an effective, fearless leader in battle under the harshest of combat conditions, he opened the Marine Corps towards accepting more racial minorities into its officer ranks.
Maxine Hong Kingston is the author of The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey, and The Fifth Book of Peace, among other works. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal, and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. For many years a Senior Lecturer for Creative Writing at UC Berkeley, she lives in California.
Outstanding Citizen Award
J.D. Hokoyama is a consultant specializing in leadership training, coaching and mentoring, board governance and organizational development, diversity and inclusion, and the Asian & Pacific Islander community.
In November 2011, J.D retired as the President and CEO and founding Board member of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. after 30 years.
A former Peace Corps volunteer serving in Ethiopia and educator, he speaks and trains nationally on topics such as becoming a 21st century leader, understanding cultural values, risk taking and breaking the glass ceiling and developing effective nonprofit boards.
Floyd Mori graduated from Brigham Young University with a dual major in Economics and Asian Studies, followed by a Masters degree in Economics and Political Science, also from Brigham Young University.
Later, he taught Economics at Chabot College in Hayward, California, for ten years. He was elected City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Pleasanton, California, in the Bay Area in 1972 and later served as Mayor. He was also elected to the California State Assembly in March 1975 and served for six years in that capacity as one of the first two Japanese Americans to serve in the Assembly.
In addition, Floyd has been highly involved in various local and national positions for the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, including eight years on the National Board with four years as National President.
He was hired as Director of Public Policy (formerly called the Washington, D.C. Rep) for the JACL in 2005 and became the Interim National Executive Director in late 2006, followed by the assignment to become the National Executive Director and CEO of the JACL, retiring in May 2012.
Karen K. Narasaki is a national civil and human rights leader. She is the immediate past President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice and one of the nation’s premier civil rights advocacy organizations.
Under Ms. Narasaki’s leadership, AAJC helped to lead the successful effort to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, defend federal affirmative action programs and expand federal hate crimes protection to cover people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals and women.
AAJC also led successful national census outreach campaigns in 2000 and 2010; and has worked for fair immigration and broadband policies. A well-known advocate for the Asian American community, she has held a number of leadership positions in the civil rights and immigrant rights arenas.
She was vice chairwoman of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest and broadest civil rights coalition; chair of the Rights Working Group, a coalition of human, civil and immigrant rights groups working to address the erosion of civil liberties and basic immigrant rights since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; chair of the Asian American Media Coalition; and chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.
OCA’s National Convention is one of the preeminent annual events for the APA community, drawing hundreds and thousands of people from around the country for educational, cultural, and networking events.
This year’s National Convention: GOTV2 – Get Out To Vegas, Get Out The Vote will feature three days of workshops, youth and college programs, tracks designed for small business’ and professional leadership development, and many notable speakers and guests.
The workshops and community resource lounge are free and open to the public. A full listing of all events is online, and you may also register to become a member of OCA and receive special discounts. Tickets for all meals and special events, including the Gala Awards, are available for purchase on its website at www.ocanational.org.