Past Award Recipients

2016 – Thach Nguyen

Thach Nguyen has worked with youth and families for more than 30 years. Before his recent retirement, he managed the Juvenile Probation Services Section of the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice. At the same time, he has been a community activist
and served on numerous boards and committees. He has extensive experience working with a wide range of communities: cultural, ethnic, language, immigrants and refugees.

He has relentlessly worked with a broad network of partners- institutions and communities, to develop a clear and strategic vision for how public schools, non-profits, and community, as systems, can address inequitable outcomes in our education. He taught local school districts how to apply the RRI to monitor racial and ethnic disparities in school suspension and expulsion. Portland Public Schools and a few other school districts have adopted this tool to track their progress in correcting their discipline policies to close the achievement gaps and to address the school to prison pipeline epidemic.

From 1998-2006 Thach served as the President of the International Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) Board of Directors. He helped raise the profile of the agency and strengthen partnerships with other organizations, businesses and communities as well as assured financial stability and increased fundraising capacity. Couple notable recognitions for his work include the 2010 Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee‘s Sy Award he received for a lifelong commitment to justice, access, and equality for underserved and underrepresented citizens in Multnomah County; and in 2013, he was selected as one of “Freedom Fighters” by Roosevelt High School students and recognized for his courage to take a stand for social justice and worked tirelessly to serve others.

2014 – Ronault LS Catalani (Polo)

Ronault CatalaniPolo is the second of his Manado mother and Catalan father’s four sons. Their family was expelled from Indonesia, asylumed in the Netherlands, then resettled in the US. His undergrad and graduate work was in documenting human migrations into Western Europe, out of East Africa and the Middle East. He is a Fellow of the International Court of Justice, a Howard University Reginald Heber Smith Fellow, and a William Stafford Literary Arts Fellow.

Polo is an activist lawyer on the West Coast, the Midwest, and Southeast Asia. That work has been broadcast on PBS Imaging America and on Religion & Ethics; on Wisconsin and Oregon Public Radio; it has been featured in New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Wisconsin Journal, and The Oregonian. His work for the City of Portland has received 13 local, state, national, and international honors, in eight years.

Polo is the author of Counter Culture, Immigrant Stories told from Portland Cafe’s Counters – and The Asian Reporter just published his 1000th column.

2013 – June Schumann

2012 – Inaugural: Dr. Phyllis Lee