Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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The Immigrant Heritage Award was inaugurated in 2010 by AIISF to honor those individuals and organizations whose work and lives celebrate the important contribution immigrants have made to the United States.  Awardees are selected by the AIISF Board of Directors and the honorees are recognized at the annual gala fundraising dinner.

Award recipients in 2016

falseKanwal Rekhi was the first Indo-American Founder & CEO to take a venture-backed company, Excelan, public on the NASDAQ. In addition Mr Rekhi co-founded Inventus, a leading early stage venture company. In 1995 he co-founded TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit support network to provide advice, contacts, and funding to Indian Americans hoping to start businesses.  Born in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Mr Rekhi came to Amreica in 1967.






Community Leaders
falseAl Cheng and Steve C. Owyang Leaders of the Him Mark Lai Family History Project
For 25 years, retired educator Al Cheng has led hundreds of Chinese Americans back to China to search for and visit their ancestral villages. With the late Him Mark Lai, Mr. Cheng founded the program which involves a year-long commitment to researching one’s Chinese American family history and genealogy, and culminates in a visit to their paternal and/or maternal ancestral villages in China.

Steven C. Owyang is a co-leader at the Him Mark Lai Family History Project.  He served as an administrative law judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings, State of California, from 2005 to 2012.  Actively involved in the community, he previously served for more than 20 years as the executive officer of California’s civil rights agency, the Fair Employment and Housing Commission, where he was responsible for the Commission’s adjudicatory, regulatory, and legislative functions.

falseLarissa Constantinovna Krassovsky was born of Russian parents in Harbin, China before moving to Shanghai where she started her community service work at 16 years old organizing events to raise money for uniforms for a local women’s hockey team. Her boundless energy and a lifetime devoted to volunteerism with the Russian-American Women’s League and the Russian Orthodox Church have made her a beloved and valued figure in the Russian community.











falseProfessor Marn J. Cha, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus of political science at California State University, Fresno where he taught over forty years. Professor Cha has documented and written extensively about Korean immigrant heritage in Central San Joaquin Valley. His effort has produced the seminal book, Koreans in Central California: A Study of Settlement and Transnational Politics by University Press of America, in 2010. He is a founding president of the Central California Korean Historical Society.










Lifetime Achievement
falseDisney legend Tyrus Wong arrived at the Angel Island Immigration Station at nine years old. A painter, muralist, ceramicist, lithographer, designer and kite maker, Mr. Wong was the lead artist on Disney’s groundbreaking animation classic, Bambi.  In addition he was with Warner Brothers for 26 years as a film production illustrator drawing set designs and creating storyboards.  He also worked with Hallmark, having designed a Christmas card that sold more than 1 million copies.


Award recipients in 2015


Award recipients in 2013


Award recipients in 2012


Award recipients in 2011


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