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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Transgender Activist Karina Samala Honored with WeHo’s ‘Keeper of the Dream’ Award

By Karen Ocamb -

Karina Samala
The City of West Hollywood, in an annual commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, awards the “Keeper of the Dream” Award to individuals who embody Dr. King’s philosophy and principles of justice, equality and peace, which the city embraces as core values.
Each year, the MLK Committee selects a quote from Dr. King and then asks the WeHo community to nominate people they think best reflect that sentiment. This year the quote was:
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence… Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
After considering all the nominations, the MLK Committee selected civil rights activist and transgender advocate Karina Samala, a member of the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board, as this year’s “Keeper of the Dream” award honoree.
The award will be presented to Ms. Samala tonight, Thursday, Jan. 13, as part of the City’s official launch of “Get on the Bus,” a community-based creative arts/education initiative dedicated to the empowerment and enrichment of the City’s youth.  There is a reception at 6:00pm with the official ceremonies starting around 7:00pm and the Pacific Design Center’s Conference Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., in West Hollywood. (Parking is $8 in the PDC).
Prentis Bonds, chair of the city’s MLK Committee, says this:
“Karina Samala  has not only demonstrated exceptional community leadership, but she has undertaken the labor of uplifting with painstaking excellence. She has not taken for granted that human progress is inevitable.
Karina Samala was born in the Philippines and obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering at Mapua Institute of Technology. After settling in the Los Angeles area, she wasted no time in making her personal mission to help others work through their personal struggles of finding “one’s true self” and campaigning for human rights and transgender equality.
Buddy Goldman, Commander, Office of the Undersheriff, wrote, “Ms. Samala has educated and guided executive members of the Los Angeles Police Department to improve our service to the Transgender Community and to the public at large.  Through her efforts, we have made positive changes for both our employees, the public and for those community members who are unfortunately incarcerated.”
Rodney Scott, CSW President, Board of Directors wrote, “Karina is a driving force in the Southern California Transgender Community and is regularly called upon to help younger transgender people in crisis from lack of housing, employment, hospitalization, discrimination, and incarceration.
Since 1997 Karina has received many awards and honors.  She lives her life with grace and dignity.”

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