BERKELEY — Patricia Kinaga was awarded the prestigious Peter E. Haas Public Service Award from the University of California by Berkeley’s Chancellor Robert Birgeneau on April 30.

This award is bestowed annually university-wide to one distinguished alumnus per year who has made a significant volunteer contribution in the U.S., and comes with a generous grant to a charity of the honoree’s choice.

Kinaga was recognized for her nearly 30 years of pioneering work in multiple areas, including domestic violence, dispute resolution, breast cancer and disabilities advocacy.  She has requested that the grant be provided to Asian Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California (APIDC), which she chairs and co-founded.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau presents the Peter E. Haas Public Service Award to alumna Patricia Kinaga. (UC Berkeley photo)

“It is with deep appreciation that I accept this most wonderful honor. The grant will be enable APIDC to continue raising the visibility and contributions of APIs with different abilities,” Kinaga said following remarks presented on campus to hundreds of students, professors, and dignitaries.

She stood before the audience “in memory of my father, Thomas Kinaga, who was a proud alumnus of Cal.” She shared that her passion for civil rights was in many ways fueled by the experience and messages passed on by her parents, including her mother, Rose, who was in the audience, following their incarceration, and her father’s service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Prior to the awards ceremony, a special invitation-only luncheon for about 50 was held at the chancellor’s residence. Following introductory remarks by the Birgeneau, Kinaga shared with Mimi Haas, the widow of Peter E. Haas, how the grant will foster APIDC’s short- and long-term goals.

Kinaga stated, “In addition to information-sharing so Asians with disabilities and their families can access services, we are particularly focused on creating supportive networks for young adults who may be particularly in need as they transition into adulthood.”

APIDC is the country’s first advocacy organization to support Asian and Pacific Islanders with disabilities. Kinaga has also produced a ground-breaking, Emmy-nominated film on domestic violence, co-founded a transitional shelter for domestic violence survivors, produced an educational film on breast cancer, and co-founded the country’s first community-based mediation program for Asian adults and youth.

The university cited Kinaga’s long track record in community organizing for social change, tackling complex, sometimes controversial issues, while mobilizing scores of volunteers with her compassion and commitment.

She received her B.A cum laude at UCLA; a master’s in city planning at UC Berkeley; and her J.D. at Georgetown University. Kinaga, her husband, Peter Wong, and their children, Brandon and Emily, are long-time residents of Pasadena.

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  1. Access, affordability to University of California Berkeley is farther and farther out of reach. UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau is outspoken on why elite public universities, like Cal, should charge Californians much more. With Birgeneau’s leadership number 1 ranked Harvard is less costly (all in costs) than Cal. Chancellor Birgeneau’s charge much more tuition to Californians makes Cal. the most expensive public higher education in our country!

    Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) likes to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar expected. The Chancellor’s ‘charge Californians more’ tuition skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12 academic years. If Birgeneau had allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most middle income students. Increased funding is not Cal’s solution.

    Public UC Berkeley is to maximize access to the widest number of California students at a reasonable cost with a mission of diversity and equality of opportunity. Birgeneau’s and Provost George Breslauer’s ($306,000 salary) ‘charge Californians more’ tuition denies middle income Californians the transformative value of Cal’s higher education.

    A sad unacceptable legacy for politicians, parents, and children.
    Opinion to: UC Board of Regents and Calif. State Senators and Assembly members.