Over the past few weeks, I discovered that my editorial cartoons won two awards: the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism for Newspaper Under a Circulation of 100,000 and the Robert F. Kennedy Book and Journalism Award. I’m honored and thrilled to receive both awards. When I create my editorial cartoons, I never know what effect they will have to the readers. I do a lot of research and talk to a lot of Filipino American activists to try to learn more about issues affecting the Filipino American community. I try to highlight issues that affect the poorest and most marginalized members of the community, those that are often voiceless and overlooked.
Dating back to 1932, the Sigma Delta Chi awards originally honored six individuals for contributions to journalism. The current program began in 1939, when The Society of Professional Journalists granted the first Distinguished Service Awards. The honors later became the Sigma Delta Chi Awards.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, The Society of Professional Journalists promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.
Robert F. Kennedy’s career in public service was distinguished by his willingness to join local activists in demanding change. Whether aiding the Freedom Riders in Alabama, encouraging anti-Apartheid students in South Africa, or breaking bread with Cesar Chavez in California, Robert Kennedy believed in standing with those who stood against oppression.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights continues his legacy of joining the brave women and men on the front lines of the struggle for justice. Led by human rights activist and lawyer Kerry Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights includes lawyers, advocates, entrepreneurs, and writers, united by a commitment to social justice.
Robert Kennedy is one of my biggest heroes and I’ve always admired the Kennedys for their work for social justice. When I found out last week, I was happy but also stunned. I’m a bit nervous about meeting Ethel Kennedy and Kerry Kennedy, but happy as well. I tend to put my foot in my mouth when I get star struck, and I’ll definitely get star-struck meeting Ethel and Kerry. Lisa will be with me and I hope she calms me down from being too nervous.
I first learned about Kennedy during the 1980s when I watched the PBS documentary series Eyes on the Prize. One of the episodes focused on 1968 and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign and Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. That is when I first found out about how RFK spoke out for the poor and those who are marginalized. Then in the late 1980s the Sunnyvale Public Library got the book RFK: the Collected Speeches and I used to check it out all the time to read Kennedy’s words. Sadly the book was discarded a long time ago, but it had a profound influence on me.
If you would like to see some of my cartoons, I have collected my cartoons into two books that I am self-publishing through Createspace. The first book Hard Knocks collects my editorial cartoons from 2008 to 2012. Tough Times collects my editorial cartoons from 2013 to 2015.