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OCA Announces 2013 OCA Unsung Heroes Awardees

Tuesday, June 11, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sophia Ng
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OCA Announces 2013 OCA Unsung Heroes Awardees


10 June 2013


Tom Hayashi | Executive Director

202 223 5500 | 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is proud to announce its 2012-2013 OCA Unsung Heroes presented by Buick. This year, OCA will honor five individuals whose time and effort towards advancing equity and equality for Asian Pacific Americans are not often publicly recognized. 

The awardees will be acknowledged during the Gala Awards held on Saturday July 20, 2013; during OCA’s 40th Year Anniversary National Convention in Washington, DC.  OCA members will learn about the significant contributions each Unsung Hero made in 2012 and help celebrate the spirit of volunteerism and advocacy.

"OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates would not exist as not only a national organization, but a community based social justice network  today if it were not for the commitment of its chapters, members and volunteers. These Unsung Heroes exemplify dedication and selflessness in advancing OCA’s mission,” said Clifford Yee, OCA Vice President of Chapter Development. "We thank these individuals for their commitment to building strong communities.” 

"Buick is honored to return as the sponsor of the OCA Unsung Heroes Award.  We are proud to recognize all the deserving volunteers who work to advance the Asian Pacific American community and celebrate their accomplishments,” said Eric Peterson, Vice President of GM Corporate Diversity. 

The 2012-2013 Unsung Heroes Awardees are as follows:

Suzie W. Lee (OCA-East Bay) immigrated to the United States from Taiwan in 1969 following her graduation from Chinese Cultural University in Taipei.  It was during her early years in the States when she recognized the vast differences between eastern and western cultures and the challenges it created for many first generation immigrants, including herself.  Her fascination with the subject inspired her to complete a Masters in clinical psychology with an emphasis on cross cultural specialization.  During her work in the counseling field Suzie became increasingly involved in the Oakland community, working with the East Bay Chinese School and local organizations advocating on behalf of Asian Americans.  One such organization is OCA, where she served as Secretary on OCA’s National Board and has been an active board member of OCA- East Bay since the beginning.  Her involvement in the Asian community has garnered many prestigious awards such as the "Medal of Achievement," award from Congresswoman Barbara Boxer and the "Mother of the Year" award from Asian Woman's Association of San Francisco. Suzie currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of YHLA Architects, an architectural firm founded by herself and Yui Hay Lee.

Dr. Wah Sang Lee (OCA-New York) grew up in a dual cultural environment in Brooklyn, NY where he learned that change is possible. Dr. Lee decided to become a doctor because he finds the challenge of helping people rewarding.  He went to Boston University for his undergraduate degree and later graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (P.C.O.M.). It was there that he founded the Asian Medicine and Health Association (A.M.H.A.), which later became the local chapter of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (A.P.A.M.S.A.).  After his graduation, Dr. Lee became a practicing Doctor of Osteopathy and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Osteopathic Board of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine. Dr. Lee is also a member of the American Osteopathic Association, American Academy of Osteopathy, and the Armor and Arms Club of New York.  In 2007, Dr. Lee opened his first office in Manhattan’s Chinatown and a second office in 2010. As a lifetime member of OCA-NY, Dr. Lee served as Secretary for 2 years from 2010-2012, and remains an active board member.
Susan McKee
 (OCA-Greater Sacramento) has been State Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg District Director since he was elected to the Assembly in 1998. Her responsibilities include managing the district office and its seven employees and 10-20 interns.  Susan serves as the liaison between the Capitol office and the district office, assuring that the two offices are working compatibly, communicating with one another. As District Director, Susan manages the case work that everyone in the office carries out, helping constituents with problems as wide-ranging as issues with the Department of Motor Vehicles to being evicted from their homes to immigration issues. In addition, Susan sits on the boards of directors for the OCA-Greater Sacramento Chapter, Francis House Center, The Power Inn Alliance, the California Colorectal Cancer Coalition, and the Sacramento Cancer Coalition for the Underserved. She is also actively involved in the Interfaith Service Bureau and the Council of American Islamic Relations.  Along with her fellow OCA-Greater Sacramento Board member, Susie Wong, Susan founded the Sacramento Coalition for Tolerance.  Prior to working for the California State Legislature, she worked for two different Congressmen, Tom Lantos of San Mateo, and Vic Fazio of West Sacramento, and was a practicing attorney.   Susan practiced law in Washington, D.C., in the Mine Safety and Review Commission.  In California, she worked with a private law practice doing personal injury and family practice.   Susan has three grown children who live in Southern California. 

William Tran (OCA-Greater Los Angeles) serves as Counsel, Legal Affairs at NBCUniversal. He advises clients on intellectual property, defamation, privacy, contract, newsgathering, and regulatory issues; drafts production-related agreements (including indemnity agreements, participant agreements, and appearance releases); vets rough cuts; and handles claims prior to litigation. Prior to joining NBCUniversal, he practiced in all areas of labor and employment law in the Los Angeles office of the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP. William received his B.A. in 2003 from Swarthmore College, where he graduated with high honors and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He then received his J.D. in 2006 from the University of Michigan Law School, where he graduated cum laude. At Michigan Law, William served as an editor on the Michigan Law Review and was active with both the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and Outlaws. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of OCA-Greater Los Angeles, William is former Chair and current Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center (APADRC). William is also a general member of API-Equality Los Angeles, a non-profit organization dedicated to achieving marriage equality.

Dr. Xin Zheng (OCA-Westchester and Hudson Valley) graduated from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA/ISAS) Trieste, Italy in 1991.  He has been a biomedical researcher for over 20 years, with experience in both academic and industrial environments. Dr. Zheng, currently  serves as the Director of the Research Informatics Core of the Harold & Muriel Block Institute for Clinical & Translational Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, integrating research and healthcare data to advance medicine. For the past 10 years, Dr. Zheng has been an active volunteer in the Asian American community,, served two terms as PTA chair and one term as board member at Huaxia Chinese School in  New York. He joined OCA- Westchester and Hudson Valley six years ago and has served as a board member, Vice President, and Executive Vice President. He has been a mentor for many Asian American children and young OCA members in the Westchester, NY area, in both an academic and career perspective and in a community service context. He has also served as a reviewer of OCA’s National Scholarship Program. Dr. Zheng has also led various programs and events that OCA-Westchester and Hudson Valley hosts such as the annual Student Leadership Award Program, Rising Stars Music Program, and the Asian American Heritage Festival. He enjoys working with his dedicated colleague board members to build a better and stronger Asian American Community.

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