Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tucson Citizen Remembrance of Hank Oyama

Dr. Henry "Hank" Oyama Eulogy

Here is the eulogy delivered at the funeral of Henry "Hank" Oyama by Councilmember Richard Fimbres. This eulogy was written by Richard and Mary Fimbres. Mrs. Ann Oyama, the Oyama family and distinguished guests. We are here to say goodbye to a dear friend AND leader in our community. It is a great honor to stand before you today to honor a man of integrity, an excellent role-model and mentor to many of us. In his life, Hank distinguished himself in education, military service to his country, civil rights and service to our community. Very few of us in our lifetimes, will be remembered as bridge builders. However, when Hank was named Tucson Man of the Year in 1993 by the Metropolitan Tucson Chamber of Commerce and at the dedication of the Henry "Hank" Oyama Elementary School in 2003, much attention was given to Hank being a "master bridge builder." Hank has built linguistic, cultural and legal bridges between communities and countries. His effective contributions have been recognized by the Hispanic, African American, Pan Asian, Jewish and Caucasian Communities. Hank Oyama's achievements can be said to have started with his military service in the Counter Intelligence Corps of the U.S. Army. Ironically, his military service, Jan- 1945 to June1947, took place after having been detained a year and a half, along with his mother and sister at the Poston Internment Camp also known as War Relocation Camp. This camp held some 20,000 Japanese-Americans. Hank believed “it doesn’t really matter what happens to you, what matters is how you react to what happens to you.” In spite of this negative life experience Hank retired with the rank of Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He was a true patriot of this country. Another notable achievement took place when in September 1959 Hank and Mary Ann Jordan wanted to marry. They were denied a marriage license because an Arizona law prohibited interracial marriages. He fought a successful legal battle to repeal Arizona’s Anti-miscegenation law all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court. For this civil rights milestone, the University of Arizona recognized him with an Honorary Doctorate of Law and on March 20, 2009 the ACLU also recognized him at the 50th anniversary of the repeal of the law. In our community Hank was known as one of the founding fathers of bilingual education. It all started in 1955, when Hank was selected to be part of the original faculty at the new Pueblo High School. While at Pueblo, Hank was part of a team that planned and executed a curriculum for native Spanish speakers to improve their abilities in both Spanish and English. Their efforts contributed to Pueblo receiving national recognition. Because of their efforts at Pueblo, and their study and report on Mexican-American students' education, two U.S. Senators introduced legislation creating funding for Bilingual Education. I had the pleasure of working with Hank on several community projects including the founding of the Hispanic Student Endowment Fund of the Pima Community College Foundation, but with Hank’s passion and tenacity, he single handedly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship monies for students enrolled at Pima Community College. Hank achieved much in other areas of service to the community, the nation and internationally. Just a partial listing includes HPAC Rotary Club of Tucson Founded the 1st LULAC Council in Tucson Marshall Foundation Hispanic-Jewish Dialogue Luz Social Services and Luz Academy Amistades Los Descendientes del Presidio de Tucson Arizona Historical Society Mexican Consulate of Tucson National Board of Directors of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges Advisor to the Overseas Liaison Committee of the American Council on Education Tucson Pima Public Library Board of Directors TUSD Latino Advisory Council Department of State delegate to Madrid, Spain on bilingual education Hank received many awards and recognition too numerous, but just a few I will mention gives us an indication of the high regard others in the community have for Hank: UA Dr. Martin Luther King “Distinguished Leadership Award” UA Asian American Faculty, Staff and Alumni Association “Outstanding Alumni Award” HPAC “Lifetime Achievement Award” Arizona Minority Bar Association “Champion of Diversity Award” Pan Asian Community Alliance Man of the Year Vice President Emeritus, Pima College LULAC National Presidential Citation Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave Award” Hank would always say that there would always be opposition or barriers to prevent you from reaching your goals, but not to let it stop you. That you had to keep trying and to keep moving forward. Believe in yourself. He led a very successful life, but not without sacrifices to make it happen. Ann, thank you and the family for sharing Hank with our community for all these years that he was out there trying to improve the quality of life for our educators, students and the citizens of the City of Tucson. Hank has truly been a great community activist and leader. He has been a great role-model and mentor to me and I’m sure for many others here today. If you knew Hank the way I had the pleasure of knowing him, though he passed on to his reward, his memory is very much alive in our hearts, and in our minds. We can honor Hank by remembering his family and loved ones in our prayers. Let us honor him this day, and every day we have the occasion of thinking of the man he was and, if we will let our lives be tempered by the example that he lived by, the memory of Hank will live on in everyone of us, and in the lives of all of those we touch. The following poem was reportedly inscribed on the wall of Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta, and attributed to her. It was also reported that the original version of this poem was written by Kent M. Keith. ANYWAY People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered, LOVE THEM ANYWAY If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives, DO GOOD ANYWAY If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies, SUCCEED ANYWAY Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable, BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY What you spent years building may be Destroyed tonight, BUILD ANYWAY If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; BE HAPPY ANYWAY The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow, DO GOOD ANYWAY People really need help but may attack you if you help them, HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough; GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU’VE GOT…ANYWAY. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; IT WAS NEVER BETWEEN YOU AND THEM ANYWAY.

Monday, March 11, 2013

CM Fimbres Response to 3/10/13 Article in Arizona Daily Star


To the Editor of the Arizona Daily Star:

I am troubled and saddened that this publication wrote a story about the good efforts of a volunteer-driven organization, who works to better the lives of the children of Southern Arizona by trying to taint these efforts and harm both the organization and the children they try to help.

The writer failed to mention the intent and purpose of the dinner in question, that other groups and organizations received similar deals, as well as inferring I personally benefited from a special deal, this from a claim from a former employee fired for misusing funds, double booking events and questionable record keeping, as this reporter had reported previous but failed to mention in this article.

The timing of this story is also questionable since the investigation took place last year.  The LULAC Youth Leadership Conference has started and that I had announced my intentions to seek a second term as the Ward 5 Councilmember.

There were no special deals and as I said previously, I had asked to have my name removed from the contract when I had been elected to the Tucson City Council in 2009, something that both ARAMARK and Obermaier failed to do.  This was one of several instances, previously reported by this writer, of Obermaier’s failure to keep records concerning events held at the TCC.

LULAC is one of the largest and oldest civil rights and educational organizations in the United States, operating at more than 900 LULAC councils nationwide.  LULAC is a non-profit, volunteer driven organization so to say that one person benefited was not true.

LULAC Council 1057 has worked in Southern Arizona to improve the graduation rates in schools by hosting the annual Youth Leadership Conference, to motivate students, between the 8th and 12th grades, to show that education is the key to success and that they needed to graduate.  LULAC has worked well with many of the educational institutions, as well as the Metropolitan Education Commission.

Every year the Educator’s Banquet is held, where students are recognized for their achievements, as well as community leaders and educators for their work.  The Banquet is organized by members of LULAC Council 1057, as well as members of the community with a passion and commitment to education and our youth.

Proceeds raised by the annual Educator’s Banquet, allows LULAC to sponsor students to attend the Annual LNESC Washington Youth Leadership Seminar and provide scholarships in coordination with LULAC's National Scholarship Foundation. Additionally, monies are raised to support the Manuel de Jesus Alvarado Scholarship Fund for local students. 

In addition, Food Boxes are also provided to the most needy by LULAC, the organization has supported the annual Rosa Park’s event, the FBI Community Service Awards and several Knight's of Columbus events.

Other monies raised from the Banquet also help to support the annual LULAC Youth Leadership Conference held in March of each year.  Both the Conference and Banquet were created in 1988. 

To date, the conference has hosted more than 100,000 participants, sending students to Washington D.C., and close to 400 young people have received scholarships to help out with their education. 

The City of Tucson and ARAMARK were both sponsors of the Banquet.  These sponsorships allowed underprivileged youths and their families to attend the Banquet. At past Banquets, both were recognized for this.   In addition, they were also recognized at the Youth Leadership Conference as well at the LULAC FBI Community Service Awards Luncheon. 

It is unfortunate for Obermaier that his career with the City of Tucson ended as it was reported by this writer but it is more unfortunate that the writer, who claimed his spouse is a member of LULAC, wrote such an article, tainting the efforts of a group of committed community volunteers working to better the lives of our children in Southern Arizona by referring to such claims as fact, when the person who made them, admitted he couldn’t back them up in the testimony the writer referred to.

This effort is not about one individual, but a group of committed volunteers who work to help better the lives of children through educational attainment.   It would be unfortunate that the article would damage this effort of this organization and in turn, hurt the lives of children it is trying to help.

Other non-profit organizations, such as the League of Mexican American Women, the Metropolitan Education Commission, the Tucson Mariachi Conference and Chicanos Por La Causa, to name just a few, work to better the lives of children and hold fund raising events to promote these efforts.  All these organizations use to hold their fund raising events at the Tucson Convention Center under similar arrangements.  Now the LULAC Educator’s Banquet will join these groups and hold their event now at a different venue, to continue to help support the efforts of the youth of our community, in an atmosphere which is more welcoming to helping to better the lives of the youth of Southern Arizona.

Richard G. Fimbres

Friday, March 8, 2013

DM Memorial

From COT Media Inquiries Re: Resolution No. 22006 Supporting DM - Various Media

City Attorney Mike Rankin spoke with the media, as well as multiple individual requestors, in response to inquiries about the effect of the Mayor and Council approval of the Resolution in support of DMAFB, approved on February 20.  Mike explained that the Resolution is an expression of support for DMAFB and its leadership.  It doesn't approve any agreement, or action, and it does not give any authority to DM that it doesn't otherwise have. Mike also answered questions about the emergency clause, and explained that the emergency clause makes the resolution go into effect immediately; without the emergency clause, ordinances and resolutions do not go into effect for 30 days and publication in the newspaper.   The emergency clause does NOT equate to a declaration that the City is in a state of emergency, or that it has been placed under martial law.