The YMCA mixed things up with this year’s AK Guy Award for community service. For the first time, instead of honoring one person or a family, they honored four individuals – Larry Gossett, Bob Santos, Bernie Whitebear and Roberto Maestas.
The Y said it best, calling this fantastic foursome “among the most influential and charismatic leaders in our community. Their activism for social justice and civic rights has changed the face of leadership in the Puget Sound region. Their vision for fully integrating minorities into the area’s social, economic and political life has inspired generations.”
Bonus: because these four have mentored so many emerging leaders through the years, Boeing and Microsoft sponsored extra tables so younger (and presumably broke-er) people could be there for the awards for free. Bring on a group from Seattle Works!
I knew a little bit about these four, but considered the luncheon to be not only a way to honor them, but a great local history lesson.
I mean really, would anyone ever have expected a hotel ballroom full of people in business attire recognizing people for civic involvement at an event where the words “black power” were mentioned?
I managed to video their acceptance speech, kicking off with “Uncle” Bob Santos doing what else… but karaoke, his signature form of creative expression. (Somewhat) more serious remarks follow. Worth a listen.
Video is in two pieces due to YouTube’s 10 minute limit. It’s about 15 minutes total.
Also, if you’re interested in learning more, KUOW did an interview morning of the event: http://kuow.org/program.php?id=18759