June 27, 2013

2013 Dr. Lee Award: June Arima Schumann

2013 Dr. Phyllis S. Lee Award Winner

by Dr. Phyllis S. Lee

APANO is pleased to honor June Arima Schumann, whose life long work exemplifies one who has committed herself to social justice, empowerment and the advancement of equity and access for Asian and Pacific Islander communities and all Oregonians. When June joined the board, her extensive organizational and community experience, reasoned judgment, quiet determination and passion was immediately apparent, and she was soon elected co-chair of the board, serving with Thomas Ngo. She accepted the challenge of leading APANO through what could be seen as its difficult “teen-aged years,” as we thought we were all grown up and ready to take on any and all comers affecting the well-being of the API communities. And lead us she did, helping us grow and mature, to become the successful and influential organization we are today.

I first met June over 25 years ago when we were both on a Multnomah County committee to bring culturally appropriate services and programs to senior citizens. In the early 70’s, it was a newly recognized need - that traditional social service policies, programs and services were neglecting some of the most fragile and vulnerable residents. She brought her background of professional and life knowledge and experiences to this committee, influencing the establishment of inclusive programs and services throughout the county. (Senior centers now served rice!)

June is a role model in the truest sense of the term for young and elder members of API communities, for those in transition, those learning to settle into new homes in a new land, those becoming established in thriving communities within the larger society, and also for those of us from earlier immigrant generations. She demonstrated, guided, and led APANO in working together and with partner organizations to achieve common goals. She knows what she is saying and doing. June was born in Japan of a Japanese American mother and a Japanese national father. When she was 11, she came to the United States and was deemed an alien, although her mother was a U.S. citizen. Her experience of growing up in a new land, learning a new language, establishing a life in a new and meeting the professional and personal challenges of inclusion in this country Is not unlike the experiences of many in this room, our families, and our communities.

June has walked the walk, talked the talk, and most importantly, integrated the walk and the talk of social justice, advocacy and empowerment throughout her professional and personal life

♦ as an advocate for civil rights for all Americans;

♦ in navigating the politics of public life including current service on the New Portlander Policy Council and three decades as policy and program planner in the field of gerontology;

♦as one of the founders and then first Executive Director of the Oregon Nikkei

♦in representing APANO in the very important Coalition of Communities of Color;

♦in her personal activities including working with and serving on the board of Portland Taiko; and Fund with Equity Foundation; and Nikkei Legacy Center;

♦ in overseeing her philanthropic work through the Arima Schumann Endowment

♦ in providing leadership and service through many volunteer activities.

June inspires us with her passion and commitment to social justice, her unflagging determination to build relationships and coalitions that advocate, empower, and bring social justice to all, and by so generously sharing her skills and talents through many years. She is someone who leads us many of us say, “When I grow up, I want to be just like June Schumann!”

APANO is pleased to honor June Arima Schumann with the 2013 Dr. Phyllis S. Lee Award for her significant commitment to social justice, empowerment, and the advancement of equity and access for Asian and Pacific Islander communities and all Oregonians.