Showcasing Unsung Heroes of Los Angeles County

Portraits of Compassion photography exhibit at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes through April 3

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: March 8, 2016

Showcasing Unsung Heroes of Los Angeles County

We are pleased to announce the opening of a photography exhibit that elevates incredible stories of significant – yet unrecognized – contributions across Los Angeles County and demonstrates how everyday individuals are creating social change.

Portraits of Compassion showcases 30 "Unsung Heroes" of Los Angeles County who are working to improve our region, with original photography by L.A.-based photographers Sam Comen, Stella Kalinina and Noé Montes. The exhibit will run through April 4, 2016 at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. The Unsung Heroes were nominated by the community and selected by the California Community Foundation (CCF) to uplift examples of people performing selfless acts that are making a positive impact in Los Angeles County.

Conceptualized and commissioned by CCF, the exhibit is a gift to Los Angeles County residents in celebration of the foundation's 100 years of service to the region. The nation's third-oldest community foundation, CCF was established as a permanent philanthropic resource to respond to the needs of our region, both now and in the future. Whether in the areas of housing, education, health, immigrant integration or the arts, CCF is committed to improving quality of life for all Angelenos.

"We want this exhibit to turn inspiration into action," said Antonia Hernández, president and CEO of the California Community Foundation. "The Unsung Heroes teach us that acts of kindness, compassion, generosity and courage have a ripple effect that will multiply over countless lives."

"Photography is a universal language that speaks to people from all walks of life," said photographer Noé Montes. "The passions of these Unsung Heroes are as diverse as Los Angeles, and they are transforming our region for the better. By capturing these portraits, we wanted to convey that anyone can make a difference in their communities."

The Unsung Heroes run the gamut from educators to farmers to cooks to activists. They are dedicated volunteers like Steve Danz, who pilots low-income patients to urgent medical appointments. They are social workers like Yasuko Sakamoto, who have founded institutions critical to our community's well-being. They are compassionate people like Robert and Jeanne Segal, who have turned personal tragedy into triumph by helping others in need. A common theme to their actions is a deep desire to build a better Los Angeles.

The Unsung Heroes are:

1. Daniel Adler, Long Beach Polytechnic High School
2. Kaz Ando, AIDS Project L.A., Koreatown Youth and Community Center
3. Damiek Barrow, Washington Preparatory High School
4. Shaunelle Curry, Media Done Responsibly
5. Steve Danz, Angel Flight West
6. Sister Margaret Farrell, Covenant House
7. Theresa Farthing, L.A. Kitchen
8. Andrea Flores, The Beat Within
9. Hayward Gray, Jr., People Coordinated Services Senior Center
10. Isabel Guillen, Chavelyta's Pink Hood
11. Umar Hakim, ILM Foundation
12. John Hwang, Skid Row Stories
13. Ann Jackson, West Park Terrace Block Association
14. Rebecca Joseph, and California State University, Los Angeles
15. Gloria Lazalde, Proyecto Mariposa
16. Jimmy Lizama, Bicycle Kitchen
17. Mollie Lowery, Housing Works
18. Eduardo "Lalo" Marquez, PIECES
19. Mud Baron, John Muir High School Ranch
20. Cynthia Mendenhall, Watts Neighborhood Advisory Council
21. Sylvia Miller, CASA of Los Angeles
22. Santiago Ortega, St. Francis Medical Center
23. Kaci Patterson, Building Leaders and Cultivating Change (B.L.A.C.C.)
24. Rosalie Portillo, Plaza de la Raza
25. Michael Quill, L.A. Waterkeeper
26. Yasuko Sakamoto, Little Tokyo Service Center
27. Robert & Jeanne Segal,
28. Harry Shabazian, Students Run L.A.
29. Maria Sipin, Multicultural Communities for Mobility
30. Wesley Walker, Jr., Los Angeles Community Action Network

Portraits of Compassion is open to the public free of charge through April 3, 2016 at
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (501 N. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).

For more information, please visit and follow along on social media with #LAheroes.

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