We are excited to congratulate PHN alumna Aileen Suzara for her receipt of the 2016 Thomas Yamashita Prize. This award is granted to an activist for social change in California each year. Passionate about integrating ecological and cultural education, she is currently working to resolve health inequities faced by Filipino Americans, and has launched and supported several local initiatives.
Aileen helped start Bahay Kubo, a garden in Union City that supports youth leadership through growing and sharing healthy Filipino food, in collaboration with Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ). This project has placed first in the Big Ideas@Berkeley competition while she was a student. She is an advisory member to the Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity and an eco-culinary educator with Sama Sama Cooperative, which aims to “reclaim language, culture, and land-based traditions.” She also recently helped to launch a new youth-run kitchen for the Ceres Community Project. And she is developing Sariwa (which means “fresh), a sustainable Filipino food business. She developed the plan as a pop-up restaurant through Berkeley’s Eat.Think.Design health innovations course, and is now participating in the La Cocina women’s food incubator.
Aileen was recognized by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at an award ceremony at Anna Head Alumnae Hall on October 31, 2016.