Meet the Local Heroes 2019 Honorees

Alison Suffet Diaz and Stephen “Cue” Jn-Marie are 2019’s two Local Heroes honorees. They were chosen from a group of 17 outstanding individuals nominated by KCET and PBS SoCal’s Community Advisory Board (CAB). Read more about their work in the community below.


Alison Suffet Diaz is the Founder of Environmental Charter Schools (ECS). Under Diaz’s leadership as the Executive Director & CEO for the majority of the last 20 years, ECS has flourished into an award-winning educational institution with a dynamic team of commended staff members. A teacher and lawyer by training (and mother at heart), Diaz set out to create a different kind of educational experience for students, which has evolved into a model for schools across the country.  Environmental Charter High School is ranked in the top 3% of U.S. public high schools by U.S. News & World Report, and was chosen as one of three national finalists in President Obama’s Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. In June 2019, Diaz transitioned into the role of Director of Growth and Sustainability for ECS.


Stephen Cue Jn-Marie founded The Row LA – also called “The Church Without Walls” 13 years ago. The former Virgin Records rapper turned evangelist, activist and organizer, left the music business in 1994 to follow a religious calling. The Row congregation gathers every Friday night on the corner of 5th St and Wall in Downtown LA’s Skid Row, feeding people both spiritually and physically. Pastor Cue is also affiliated with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), The Black Jewish Alliance (BBJA) and the “We Will Live” coalition. Cue’s work includes helping to address unjust public policy issues in Los Angeles, as well as advocating for the rights of homeless people, immigrants, Muslims and countless other groups.