Regional Activists, Educators and Visionaries Dedicated to Making a Difference in the Community Recognized by KCET and PBS SoCal




Amanda Martin

2019 Local Heroes and Community Spotlight Award Honorees
To Be Feted at Holiday Community Celebration Dinner

Pictured (from l to r): Local Heroes Honoree 2019 Pastor Cue Jn-Marie, Local Heroes Honoree 2019 Alison Suffet Diaz and the D.A.D. Project founder Donald P. Williams III and program director Daniel Polanco.

Burbank, Calif. – Dec. 6, 2019 – PBS SoCal and KCET announced today the individuals named as the 2019 honorees for their Local Heroes initiative as well as the organization to be recognized with the 2019 Community Spotlight Award. The awards honor the accomplishments of those who are dedicated to making a difference in the community: recognizing activists, educators, community leaders and visionaries doing critical work that often goes unrecognized in the Southern California region. The 2019 Local Heroes honorees named are Alison Suffet Diaz and Pastor Stephen Cue Jn-Marie while the D.A.D. Project was announced as the 2019 recipient of the Community Spotlight Award. The honorees will be recognized at a private Holiday Community Celebration Dinner at the City Club Los Angeles on Dec. 10 which will bring together the Board of Directors, Community Advisory Boards and Community Councils of both KCET and PBS SoCal.

For this year’s Community Spotlight Award the organizations chose the D.A.D Project. Founded in 2016 by two young fathers, Donald P. Williams III and Daniel Polanco, the D.A.D. Project is a non-profit organization committed to empowering fathers to play an active role in their children’s education and encourage them to lead their families and community. The D.A.D. Project promotes active parenting participation for young men through fatherhood workshops, Man Cave events, gender and masculinity workshops and School Readings themed events.

This year’s two Local Heroes honorees were chosen from a group of 17 outstanding individuals nominated by KCET and PBS SoCal’s Community Advisory Board (CAB). Pastor Stephen Cue Jn-Marie was selected for his role as founder and pastor of the Row LA – The Church Without Walls – which serves the homeless of Downtown LA’s Skid Row, as well as for his work advocating for the rights of homeless people, immigrants, Muslims and other disenfranchised individuals. Alison Suffet Diaz was chosen for her work as 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.

Short films on both Local Heroes Pastor Cue Jn-Marie and Alison Suffet Diaz produced by KCET’s SOCAL CONNECTED can be viewed online at and and will begin running as interstitials on both KCET and PBS SoCal early in the new year.

PBS SoCal and KCET’s community engagement efforts with its viewers and supporters would not be possible without the help of their Community Advisory Board (CAB). This active group of volunteer leaders is the stations’ eyes and ears of the community. The organization plays an integral part in the planning and implementation of many outreach programs including the Local Heroes initiative.

Other 2019 Local Heroes nominees include Lois Arkin/CRSP Institute for Urban Ecovillages; Marta Khadija Felicitas Galedary/Latino Muslim Association; Ken Fong/Asian Amerca: The Ken Fong Podcast; Marsha Garnett/AT&T Pioneers; Mynor Godoy/Power California; Alfred Herrera/UCLA Center of Community College Partnerships; Jerry Herrera/San Gabriel Junior Golf ; Don Larson/Clean Streets, Clean Starts; Sam Lewis/Anti-Recidivism Coalition; Mari Morales-Rodriguez/One For All; Nina Yang Bongiovi/Significant Productions; Mary Vu Iammarino & Steve Kim/Project Kinship; and Congress Members Nannette Barragan & Jimmy Gomez. The full list of the 2019 KCET/PBS SoCal Local Heroes nominees, their profiles and photographs, can also be found at and

On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its 54-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs, its outreach and community services and its website, KCET is a donor-supported community institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit Select original programming from KCET is also available for streaming on Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon and Roku platforms. For more information please visit KCET is a content channel of the Public Media Group of Southern California.

PBS SoCal is a donor-supported community institution that is a part of Public Media Group of Southern California, the flagship PBS station for 19 million diverse people across California formed by the merger of PBS SoCal and KCETLink Media Group.  PBS SoCal delivers content and experiences that inspire, inform and entertain – over the air, online, in the community and in the classroom. We offer the full slate of beloved PBS programs including MASTERPIECE, NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Independent Lens, a broad library of documentary films including works from Ken Burns; and educational PBS KIDS programs including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Curious George. Our programs are accessible for free through four broadcast channels, and available for streaming at, on the PBS mobile apps, and via connected TV services Android TV, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.