News & Updates

Four honored for their advocacy at Sioux City ceremony

Sioux City Journal | 10/06/16
Photo by: Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | Four new sculptures have been added to a collection honoring some of Siouxland’s most dedicated lifelong community advocates.

Community members packed the first floor of the Martin Luther King Transportation Center Thursday afternoon for the dedication of phase two of the Celebrating Community Project, which is recognizing 13 Siouxlanders advocates who have dedicated their time advocating for the marginalized in Siouxland.

Honorees recognized Thursday were Nguyen Thi Hong Cuc, George Boykin, Richard Owens and the late Tomasa Salas.

Hong Cuc came to U.S. as an immigrant from Vietnam in 1981 and counseled Asians moving into the United States. She was honored Thursday for her work.

“She is a woman who saw the good in every person that she had ever met,” said George Youi Sayavong, who spoke during the ceremony. “She was born to serve.”

Boykin, a South Sioux City native, is a former Woodbury County supervisor and executive director of the Sanford Center. He retired in June after 48 years. Thursday, he was honored for his work on behalf of children.

“He dedicated his life to making the lives of young people better in this community,” said Fitzgerald Grant, current executive director of the Sanford Center, who presented Boykin the award.

Owens was honored for his work helping the cause of disabled Americans, worked to secure adequate funding, education and employment for the disabled in Siouxland. During the ceremony, he credited the effectiveness of teamwork.

“When people come together, great things can happen,” Owens said. “As I stand here today, I’m only a symbol of a great bunch of people.”

Salas was honored for her work with Latino Americans, and the long hours she translating and helping fellow Latinos overcome barriers into their communities. She died in 2013 at the age of 61.

“Her goal was to help our communities communicate with and understand each other so that there would be one less difference to divide us,” said her daughter Natalie Atkins, who spoke on her mother’s behalf during the ceremony.

Flora Lee, who heads the Celebrating Community Project and the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the project is meant to showcase the heroism of local people.

“So often we always tell our children look for a mentor, look for a hero, and we look nationally, or on a world-wide level,” she said. “We forget that we have local heroes and she-roes right here in our local community.”

The four sculptures, created by local artist Mark Avery, will be added to five sculptures unveiled last year during phase one of the project.

The project is funded through donations and grants. The Celebrating Community Project is a partnership between the NAACP and the Celebrating Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

As shown in Sioux City Journal’s 10-07-2016. Please visit Sioux City Journal – article for full article and photos.