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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Community members honored in late alum’s name

By Ryan Shelton

Pete Suazo, a U alumnus, made a name for himself in the state Senate for fighting for the rights of Utah’s minority populations. He was killed in an ATV accident seven years ago, but his name and what he stood for are far from gone.

Members of the College of Social Work and the family of the late Sen. Suazo honored three individuals and four organizations for their dedication to social change during the 7th annual Pete Suazo Social Justice Awards banquet on March 14.

All proceeds from the awards banquet help fund the Pete Suazo Social and Economic Justice scholarship, which is granted to one U student who demonstrates a strong commitment to and leadership potential in issues of social and economic justice.

Rep. David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, who was recognized for continuing Suazo’s effort to toughen the state’s hate crime laws, said the senator was a champion of the people who’s integrity continues to set an example at the Capitol.

“I almost feel cheated for not getting to know him more,” said Litvack, who served with Suazo for one legislative session before his death. “His work was in line with the other civil rights activists throughout American history, and he always did it with a smile on his face.”

Lynn Lee, the former dean of the College of Eastern Utah, received a lifetime community service award for his work to bring higher education to the rural population of San Juan County. Most notably, Lee fought for state and federal financial aid for the area’s Native American population.

Adjunct U law professor Mary Jane Ciccarello was honored for providing legal aid to Utah’s elderly community and often protecting them from financial scams.

The Inclusion Center for Community and Justice was recognized for its work in training Utah’s teens how to peacefully resolve issues of bigotry and prejudice in schools.

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon was honored for establishing the country’s first Mayor’s Office of Diversity Affairs.

Larry Smith, General Manager of KUED, accepted the Public Awareness and Education award for his station’s efforts to give Utah’s marginalized groups a voice on public television.

The Utah Pride Center was also recognized for its continued work to serve the state’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities.

“(Suazo’s) legacy has helped us to do our work,” said Valerie Larabee, the center’s executive director. “His determination and belief in social change was, and still is truly inspiring.”

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