Hazel Miller Foundation, community activist Kinuko Noborikawa to be honored during Jan. 18 virtual MLK Day event

The Hazel Miller Foundation and Everett community activist Kinuko Noborikawa are the 2021 recipients of the Lift Every Voice Legacy (LEVL) Beloved Community Awards. The recipients are being recognized for more than a decade of advancing values that lift the standard of well-being of marginalized citizens throughout Snohomish County. 

The awards will be presented at the 3rd Annual Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Jan. 18 virtual event that was recorded at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.  Registration for the free event can be found at https://BIT.LY/LEVLBRAVE and on LEVL’s webpage https://beloved4all.org 

“Since its founding a little more than a decade ago, the Hazel Miller Foundation has enriched communities and touched the lives of thousands of citizens through its support of charitable grants to area charities and non-profits organizations to the tune of $500,000 annually,” said Donnie Griffin, the founding principal of LEVL, who announced the award recipients on behalf of the group’s board of directors. “In the education area alone, the foundation has provided critical assistance to college students of color and has helped to breathe life into the Teachers of Color Program, which is significantly changing the demographics of teachers in the Edmonds School District, where a majority of its student population are youth of color,” Griffin added.

Other programs that have been enriched by the Hazel Miller Foundation’s recent support include:

  • The Cocoon House South County Advocate — a non-profit that conducts outreach to, and provides short- and long-term housing for homeless and at-risk young people, including their children.
  • Leadership Snohomish County’s STEP UP – Moving Racial Equity Forward Conference in Lynnwood — a one-day conference designed to raise awareness and provide knowledge and skills to advance racial equity in Snohomish County and beyond.
  • Four area food banks: Edmonds, Lynnwood, Concern for Neighbors, and Homage, which provide an important community resource to a growing number of citizens in need of food and nutrition for themselves and their families.
Kinuko Noborikawa

In conjunction with the Communities of Color Coalition (C3), LEVL also decided to honor one of C3’s founders, Everett’s Kinuko Noborikawa, with a second Beloved Community Award this year.

“Each of the seven founders of C3 brought unique talents to the shaping of our organization in 2005, but Kinuko was the most prominent member,” said Jacque Julien, C3’s current executive director. The mission of the community-based non-profit is educating and advocating for social justice for underrepresented groups that have been systemically oppressed.

Noborikawa “was a force of greatness,” Julien said. “She attended many civic meetings and when necessary disrupted city councils, school board sessions and sometimes attended multiple meetings within minutes of each other, assuring the voiceless in our communities did not go unrepresented. It remains the foundation of our work today,” she concluded.

Both awards will be presented officially at the virtual event Jan. 18, the national holiday commemorating the birth of the iconic civil rights leaders, and will be available for viewing through Jan. 31.

Seattle Pacific University professor of reconciliation studies, Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, will be the program’s featured speaker. Returning performances by Seattle R&B and jazz singer Josephine Howell and Shoreline’s Northside Step Team will be additional highlights to the virtual program. Storytelling by 50-year Edmonds resident Cirila Potter along with 18-year-old Mikayla Weary will also be featured. Al Price, a favorite Northwest banjo and bluegrass performing artist, will debut a song he wrote especially for the event.  

“This is the third consecutive year we seek to encourage, engage and inspire the audience through avenues of song, spoken word and dance to be caring citizens by loving our neighbors as ourselves and promoting a community standard free of hatred, injustice and poverty,” Griffin said.  “Coming off a year of deep political divisions, a novel coronavirus pandemic and a reckoning on racial injustice, perhaps this is the right time to realign some of our values and focus on a basic call to action — respecting each other and caring for our neighbors however differently they may show up to us. This is the legacy Dr. King left for us and I am hopeful we all can live up to it in 2021.”

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