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2022 Asian American Hero of Colorado Recipients

May 21, 2022

Happy Living and Wellness Center

Congratulations to the 2022 Asian American Hero of Colorado Awardees!

Joanne Liu

  • Co-Founder & CEO, Asian Girls Ignite

  • Chair, Colorado Asian Pacific United

  • Commissioner, Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission


Dr. William Wei

  • State Historian, History Colorado

  • Boardmember, Colorado Asian Pacific United

  • History Professor, University of Colorado


Gary Yamashita

  • Chief Executive Officer, Sakura Square LLC

  • Executive Director, Sakura Foundation

  • Community Grantmaking Committee, Rose Community Foundation


Mimi Luong Ye

  • Co-owner, Truong An Gifts in Far East Center

  • Founder, Sweetest Day CO

Deborah Yim

  • Owner & Managing Attorney, Primera Law Group

  • President-Elect, Asian Pacific American Bar Association

  • Commissioner, Denver Immigrant and Refugee Commission

  • Legal Counsel, Asian Real Estate Association of Greater Denver


Young Hero Award: Alyssa Nilemo

  • Executive Director, Asian Chamber Foundation of Colorado

  • Dharma School Superintendent, Denver Buddhist Temple

  • Mirai Generations Leadership Program Graduate, Sakura Foundation


Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Sumiko Tanaka Hennessy

  • Founding boardmember and former Executive Director, Asian Pacific Development Center

  • Co-founder, Asian Chamber of Commerce

  • Co-founder, Crossroads for Social Work (for mental health professionals in Japan and the U.S.)

  • Former boardmember, Women's Foundation of Colorado

This year's awardees were selected by: Asian Chamber of Commerce, Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Asian Pacific Development Center, Aurora Asian/Pacific Community Partnership, Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network, Colorado Dragon Boat, Community Organizing for Radical Empathy, Sakura Foundation, Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, National Association of Asian American Professionals Colorado.

Asian American Heroes of Colorado Awards

The Asian American Heroes of Colorado Awards Ceremony was established in 2009
to recognize deserving Asian Americans in Colorado, who are unsung heroes that
selflessly reach out to help those around them. Nominations are submitted at the
beginning of each year. In April, a selection committee comprised of Asian-American
organization representatives select the award recipients. In May, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Asian American Heroes of Colorado are featured in Asian Avenue magazine and recognized at the Awards Ceremony.

From 2009-2020, 70 community leaders and volunteers have been awarded. See the list of past recipients.

Each award recipient will be presented an award and be featured in the May cover story of Asian Avenue magazine. There are two special awards: Lifetime Achievement Award and Young Hero Award (under age 35).

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Roger Liu receives the 2019 Asian American Hero of Colorado Award.jpeg
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