Monday, August 11, 2014

YWCA Announces 2014 Racial Justice Award Recipient – Lorna Touryan Miller

It is with great excitement that the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley announces that the 2014 Racial Justice Award will go to Lorna Touryan Miller for her years of racial justice work locally and across the globe.  The award will be given at the 12th annual Women for Racial Justice Breakfast on October 20, 2014.

Ms. Miller is Armenian by nationality and the daughter of two survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.  She immigrated to the United States at the age of eleven from Beirut, Lebanon. She is the co-author of “Survivors:  An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide” and “Armenia:  Portraits of Survival and Hope.”

Ms. Miller’s research and programmatic activities, both locally and internationally, have been based on extensive interviews with people who seek justice, equality, and a public voice in decisions related to their welfare and future. Since 2001, she and her husband have been conducting oral history projects in Rwanda in partnership with local widow and orphan genocide survivor associations. The Millers are currently writing a book on Rwanda based on 260 interviews, documenting how survivors cope in the aftermath of genocide, focusing specifically on healing and forgiving.

For 25 years, Ms. Miller was the Director of the Office for Creative Connections, a community development program of All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. She began her tenure at OCC by investigating the health care needs of children which she summarized in the report “The Health of Pasadena’s Children: An Assessment of Needs and Resources.” Her findings led her to convene the Health Coalition for Children and Youth and together under her direction, they founded Young and Healthy, a health care program for uninsured children.

Ms. Miller’s next research project was identifying available after-school resources for children and bringing together providers to develop methods to be more accessible to children. This resulted in the James Irvine Foundation asking OCC to head CORAL, an after school program in Pasadena. Under her direction, OCC re-granted close to $2 million for several years to community-based organizations and monitored their programs to standards set by the foundation.  Ms. Miller was also a founding member of New Vision Partners, an interfaith peace and justice program.

As director of OCC, Ms. Miller conducted focus groups and one-on-one interviews with multiple individuals in the city on the quality of life changes in Pasadena over the previous 20 years.  What surfaced was a common concern about institutional racism in the city. Working with a diverse group, OCC convened City Conversations for the purpose of raising awareness and conducting multicultural dialogue among elected leaders, neighborhood activists and heads of organizations.
The 12th Annual Women for Racial Justice Breakfast is scheduled for Monday, October 20, 2014, from 7:00 to 9:00 am, and will be held at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel. Individual tickets are $60 each until September 30th and go up to $70 thereafter. Tables of ten can be purchased for $600 until September 30th, and will go up to $700 afterward. To purchase tickets, please click here.