Thursday, June 25, 2009
Ah Quon McElrath to be honored for her activism
The nation's educators will posthumously honor Ah Quon McElrath with the César Chávez Acción y Compromiso Human and Civil Rights Award. The National Education Association (NEA) will present her family with the award at a special dinner on July 2, 2009 in San Diego.
Ah Quon passed away on Thursday, December 11, 2008 at the age of 92, a few days before her 93rd birthday. She was a well-known social activist and advocate for social justice who walked the halls of the State Capitol lobbying lawmakers to increase public services and enhance the benefits and rights of low-income workers. Ah Quon spent most of her life as a social worker for the International Longshoremen's and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and is renowned as the icon of the Hawaii labor movement.
Rep. Marcus Oshiro described her as "a champion of the working class and one of Hawaii’s favorite daughters” in an article by the Honolulu Star Bulletin.
Hawaii's educators nominated Ah Quon for the award in which is presented each year to someone who follows in the exemplary footsteps of Cesar Chavez in philosophy, work and leadership, according to a press release from the NEA.