Rob Arias, E'ville Eye
Representations of organizations throughout Assembly District 18 packed the auditorium at the Emeryville Center of Community Life on Friday, October 27th for the second annual AD18 awards celebration.
The event recognized orgs and individuals making a difference in their communities. It was attended by a swath of local councilmembers and mayors from Alameda, Oakland & Emeryville and emceed by District Director Rowena Brown.
The district is represented by Assemblymember Mia Bonta who won the seat via a special election in 2021.
Bonta, a former Alameda Unified School Board President, ran to fill her husband Rob Bonta’s vacated seat when he was appointed to State Attorney General following the resignation of former AG Xavier Becerra.
Bonta’s district includes Alameda and most of Oakland. Emeryville had previously been part of Assembly District 15 represented by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks but redistricting shifted the boundaries to encompass Emeryville in 2022.
These are the ten Emeryville organizations and individuals honored at the event:
Small Business of the Year: Emeryville Public Market
Public Market VP & Head of Development Lauren Krause was on hand to accept the award on the Market’s behalf. While Public Market owners Oxford Properties are clearly not a “small” business, the marketplace leases stalls to a variety of small food tenants such as Pig in a Pickle, Shiba Ramen and Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery.
Their partnership with SF’s La Cocina nonprofit has helped elevate women-owned food businesses such as Minnie Bell’s and Nyum Bai by providing discounted space to establish their brand and grow their customer base.
They have also supported the city and its residents by donating space for the annual Celebration for the Arts the past two years.
Coalition of Excellence: Emeryville Citizens Assistance Program
It’s been a rewarding year for ECAP founder Nellie Hannon and her brother Bobby Miller who broke ground on a new facility and supportive housing project in June.
The 86-year-old Hannon is a former Emeryville City councilmember who has spent the nearly four decades feeding those in need in the Emeryville & West Oakland area.
Arts & Festival of the Year: Fishnets & Film Queer Festival
Robby Kendall and his drag persona Ms. Sweet Nothing brought the city its first drag performance last year and he hasn’t looked back. He leveraged the success and interest of this event bringing trivia nights and a queer-themed film festival to the city.
He’s since added drag-themed shows at Tipsy Putt at Bay Street with the help of a City of Emeryville community grant and continues to dream up new performances for residents in the city.
Community Advocates: Emeryville Health Center
The Emeryville Health Center, a School-Based Health Center (SBHC), opened its doors on October 2016 to provide age-appropriate, confidential and comprehensive medical, behavioral, and oral health services to Anna Yates Elementary School and Emery Secondary School students.
The center is located on the Emeryville Center of Community Life (ECCL) campus and was established with the collaboration between the EUSD and LifeLong Medical Care.
Outstanding Organizations: 45th Street Artist Cooperative
Longtime 45th Street Artist Cooperative resident Sharon Wilchar was on hand to accept the outstanding organization award for the 45th St. Artist Cooperative where she has lived since its inception.
The unique artist housing model is a hub of volunteerism within the city and Wilchar has dedicated her life to promoting the arts within the city.
Youth Leadership Award: Chad Howard-Simons
Emery High grad turned City of Emeryville employee Chad Howard-Simons was honored with the youth leadership award for his unwavering dedication to mentoring youth within the city.
Howard-Simons was the student representative on the School Board and is currently employed as the pool manager at the ECCL.
Trailblazer of the Year: UPSIDE Foods
Marketplace headquartered UPSIDE Foods was honored as the “Trailblazer of the Year” for their lab-grown meat products.
UPSIDE’s EPIC facility has the capacity to produce 50,000 pounds of cultured meat annually.
Local Hero: Dianne Martinez
Two-term Emeryville City Councilmember Dianne Martinez was honored as a “local hero” at the event. Martinez departed council in 2022 opting not to seek a third term.
Martinez now sits on the Emeryville Planning Commission and lists her employment as director of the Oakland-based nonprofit The Garfield Foundation that lists its mission as “advancing a sustainable and resilient future.”
Educator of the Year: Dr. Quiauna Scott
Emeryville Unified Superintend Quiauna Scott was acknowledged for her efforts leading Emeryville’s tiny school district that hovers around 700 students.
Scott was brought on board in 2018 to help elevate the performance of the district that has experienced its challenges over the decades.
Lifetime Achievement: The Emeryville Historical Society
Emeryville Historical Society co-founder Don Hausler was honored with a lifetime achievement award for his 35 years of selfless work capturing Emeryville’s notorious history.
The organization was dealt a significant blow last year with the passing of fellow co-founder Nancy Smith at the age of 86.
The E’ville Eye founder Rob Arias joined the organization in 2017 helping it regain nonprofit status, build a new membership driven website & social media presence and facilitated the archiving of their vast collection of journals and photos among other efforts.
The organization expects to launch their first self-guided walking tour with financial assistance from a City of Emeryville Community grants program this month.
Health Champions: Innovative Training Academy
Innovative Training Academy (I.T.A.) founder Archie Gilbert was honored for his org’s commitment to giving back to underrepresented youth and the local community. Gilbert is a personal trainer, nutrition advisor and baseball coach.
His expertise and the foundation of his fitness philosophy were developed during his eight-year career in professional baseball.