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Local LGBT activists Larry Baza and Jeri Dilno are recognized as Local Heroes

SAN DIEGO – Longtime local gay activists Larry Baza and Jeri Dilno are being recognized as 2012 Local Heroes in an annual celebration of LGBT Pride Month sponsored by Union Bank in partnership with KPBS in San Diego.

The 2012 Local Heroes campaign is designed to celebrate and pay tribute to extraordinary members of the community who are making a difference by improving their workplace, neighborhoods, region and the world.

Dilno said it was difficult to put into a few words what the Local Heroes award means to her.

"I owe much of my history to others who have guided me and helped me. We build our community strength and progress on the efforts of so many. I have been fortunate to work with and be supported by great friends and colleagues." Dilno said.

"I am honored to be named a Local Hero and thank all those who have been the foundation of my achievements," she said.

Baza did not respond to SDGLN's email in time for publication.

Earlier this year, honorees were identified during Black History Month (February); Women’s History Month (March); Jewish American Heritage Month (April/May); and will also be identified for Hispanic Heritage Month (September); Disability Awareness Month (October); and Native American Heritage Month (November). Honorees are formally recognized during celebration dinners, which Union Bank sponsors with KPBS.

“Union Bank is very proud to partner with KPBS to celebrate these remarkable community leaders,” said Union Bank senior executive vice president Pierre P. Habis, head of Community Banking.

“The Local Heroes program represents our vibrant and diverse communities, and we are pleased to recognize these outstanding individuals who contribute so much and have greatly enriched our community,” Habis said.

“We are privileged to partner with Union Bank to acknowledge the work of these incredible individuals,” said Tom Karlo, KPBS general manager. “We are delighted to feature each honoree in our programming as their stories are unique and moving and demonstrate how they are inspiring change in our neighborhoods.”

Meet Larry “Tito” Baza

Larry "Tito" Baza is an arts administrator and advocate who has been driven by the belief that access to the arts is vitally important to a civilized society.

Baza’s work has included assisting with the establishment of Chicano Park and directorships of many local non-profits, including the Centro Cultural de la Raza, the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, among others.

Currently, Baza is executive president of the predominantly gay and lesbian San Diego Democratic Club, a board member of Honor Pac (a statewide Latino LGBT political action committee), an advisory committee member of the Women’s History Museum, and a member of the San Diego LGBT Center’s Latino Services Advisory Council.

In 2011, he was honored by Lambda Archives San Diego for his work to advance LGBT civil rights and culture.

Meet Jeri Dilno

Jeri Dilno began her LGBT activism in Philadelphia when she helped organize the city’s first pride march in 1972. Since her return to San Diego in 1974, she has spent her career working as a political and social justice advocate on behalf of women’s and LGBT civil rights.

She was the first female executive director of The San Diego LGBT Community Center (then called The Gay Center) and was editor of the now-defunct Gay and Lesbian Times, as well as one of only six openly lesbian delegates from California at the 1977 International Women’s Conference.

Dilno served as president of the San Diego Democratic Club for four terms, has been a delegate to three National Democratic Conventions and served as co-chair of the LGBT Caucus of the California Democratic Party in 1994.

Currently on the board of directors of LGBT Pride, Dilno serves as a member of the City’s Balboa Park Committee and is a member of the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee.

The details

Throughout the respective commemorative heritage months, KPBS will air video profiles of the winners, highlighting how they made a difference in their community. To view the videos and to nominate future heroes, click HERE. For more information on the Local Heroes program, click HERE.

About UnionBanCal Corp. and Union Bank

Headquartered in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corp. is a financial holding company with assets of $92.3 billion at March 31, 2012. Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. The bank operates 407 branches in California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, New York and Illinois as well as two international offices. UnionBanCal Corp. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG, NYSE:MTU), one of the world’s largest financial organizations. Visit HERE for more information.

About KPBS

KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University, serving the region with TV, Radio and Internet content that is educational as well as entertaining-and free of commercial interruption.