FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2014
For More Info: Ken Inouye 949-586-6640; Rusty Kennedy 714-567-7465
Ken Inouye Elected Commission Chair
The Orange County Human Relations Commission elected Laguna Hills CPA, Ken Inouye, as Chair at the regularly scheduled meeting on June 12, 2014
Inouye is a Huntington Beach resident who has served as a representative of the OC Board of Supervisors to the Commission since April of 1993 including various leadership roles. He was appointed to the Commission after he became aware of hate crimes that were being perpetrated against members of his Japanese American community. His outrage was turned to action and he set upon a journey to bring together all victims of hate crime and the good folks of Orange County to eliminate hate crime.
An effective advocate, Ken also has the diplomacy to work will all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or other arbitrary aspect of their being. After a hate crime murder followed by a near murder within a year, Ken worked with the Commission and the Huntington Beach City Council and Police Department to lead a newly created Huntington Beach Human Relations Task Force which continues today.
Ken was especially proud of the fact that the Huntington Beach City Council recognized various Pride Months including Gay and Lesbian pride month. He felt this was indicative of his vision for Orange County where ALL people are safe, valued and included.
Inouye has long served in various local civic organizations and served a term as the National President of the Japanese American Citizen’s League, the oldest and largest Asian American organization in the United States.
“As Orange County continues to undergo dramatic demographic changes, I have confidence that our diverse community leaders, police, elected officials and the public can come together to realize a future where ALL are included and respected.” Inouye said.
He went on to say, “As Chair of the Commission I would like us to go out and continue our “Listening Sessions”, where we learn about the life experiences and stories of our diverse communities. And these insights can be shared countywide to build mutual understanding.”
Becky Esparza of Stanton was elected Vice-Chair of the Commission.
Becky has the distinction of being the longest serving human relations commissioner in the State of California. She has served 32 years as a Orange County Human Relations Commissioner!
Esparza has been a resident of the Stanton Barrio, “Crow Village” for 43 years. She and her husband Robert Esparza (a construction worker) raised their four sons in that home. Robert died of cancer in 2010. Becky’s promising educational achievements were cut short when, as a devout daughter, she dropped out of high school in order to take care of her ailing mother. In later years, while raising a family and working to make her community safe for young people, she did pursue higher education at Fullerton Community College where she was an honor roll student and was awarded their prestigious “Woman of Distinction” Award.
Becky, now a grandmother to seven, has been Godmother to this low-income predominately Latino barrio for over 30 years. Her cool head and courageous heart prevailed when drive-by shootings and inter-barrio warfare threatened to destroy her neighborhood and family. In a tragic incident her son was critically injured in a drive-by shooting, so the issues of peace and violence are near and dear to her heart.