Ange Hwang of Asian Media Access a nominee

Two artistic directors, a civil rights coordinator and a reverend were among the community members nominated for the third-annual Facing Race Ambassador Award. Dr. Ghafar Lakanwal, founder and executive director of the MultiCultural Development Center (MCDC), will be honored as this year’s award recipient at an April 27 ceremony in Oakdale along with nine other nominees.

Ange Hwang of Asian Media Access a nominee

Two artistic directors, a civil rights coordinator and a reverend were among the community members nominated for the third-annual Facing Race Ambassador Award. Dr. Ghafar Lakanwal, founder and executive director of the MultiCultural Development Center (MCDC), will be honored as this year’s award recipient at an April 27 ceremony in Oakdale along with nine other nominees.

Lakanwal designated the US$10,000 cash award grant to MCDC to further its work in creating an anti-racist East Metro community. Nationally renowned anti-racism activist Dr. Peggy McIntosh will deliver the keynote address at the event.

Since 2002, the Facing Race initiative of The Saint Paul Foundation has generated discussions among people of all backgrounds to provide a greater understanding of race issues and what the community as a whole can do to make it a more open and equitable society. The Facing Race Ambassador Award was created to honor individuals who excel in creating opportunities for people of all races to understand the impact of racism.

One of the nominees this year was Ange Hwang, founder of Asian Media Access. Advancing equality for immigrants and refugees—with a special focus on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community—is a lifelong goal for Ange Hwang. As executive director of Asian Media Access, she strives to create an anti-racist community through social change. Asian Media Access specifically works to dismantle institutional racism by empowering AAPI communities to utilize media and information technology for communicating ideas and preventing potential community problems. Using various forms of media as a conduit, Hwang works to engage AAPI individuals in active public dialogues with the mainstream community.

“I founded Asian Media Access in order to advance a movement to end violence and racism through information exchange and critical dialogue,” says Hwang. “We certainly want to spread positive messages directly through our media work, but there’s also a strong focus on developing a comprehensive framework and better organizing efforts to end racism.”

To that end, Hwang writes, produces and directs East Meets West, a monthly television series that examines cross-cultural issues. The program teaches production techniques and builds leadership skills for AAPI youth—helping them use media as a tool for challenging racism and fighting the traditional isolation of AAPI communities.

“One of the most powerful rewards of anti-racism work is seeing our youth stand up for themselves and being proud of their bi-cultural or multi-cultural heritage. Ultimately, the greatest reward would be seeing Asian Media Access cease to exist because our work with immigrant rights and racial justice is no longer needed,” adds Hwang.

Other nominees include Lou Bellamy, founder and artistic director of Penumbra Theatre Company; Joann da Silva, Civil Rights Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Human Services; Dwayne Gibbs founder of Berean Missional Church: a multi-ethnic, multi-class, intergenerational and racially-reconciled church for at-risk East metro youth and their families; Metric M. Giles, I , public policy organizer for the Community Stabilization Project; and Barbara Corti Hermann co-chair of the Diversity Committee for the Northern Star Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

 

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