Kim Coco Iwamoto was a licensed therapeutic foster mom to gay and trans teenagers when she realized the Hawaii Board of Education would not take responsibility for the rampant bullying and harassment LGBTQ students were having to endure in the public schools.
Kim Coco decided to run for election to a seat on the BOE so she could hold them accountable from the inside. Kim Coco won that election in 2006, and unexpectedly became touted as “the highest ranking, openly-transgender elected official in the United States”. She won reelection in 2010 with 25% more votes.
In 2011, the Governor of Hawaii appointed Kim Coco to the State Civil Rights Commission and her appointment was confirmed unanimously by the State Senate. In 2013, President Barack Obama honored Kim Coco as a Harvey Milk Champion of Change for her work to reduce bullying and harassment in Hawaii’s schools. Today, she is actively campaigning to be the next Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii.
John and Patsy Shors spent the last 50 years bettering their community and the state of Iowa. Besides raising four sons, John and Patsy found success in areas as varied as the law, health care, writing, fundraising, lobbying, the arts, counseling, international relations and medical research.
John has represented Iowa State University, Mercy Medical Center, and MidAmerican Energy Companies, among others. He helped form the Iowa Research Council, ISU Research Park, the Iowa Fund of Funds and Iowa Community Development. He has been named AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, a Best Lawyer in America since 1991, and a 2016 Great Plains Super Lawyer. He is a past President of the Iowa State Bar Association and Mercy Foundation, and past Chairman of Iowa State University Foundation. He is a graduate of Iowa State University (B.S. Electrical Engineering) and the University of Iowa College of Law.
Patsy’s career ranges from being a psychiatric nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a medical/surgical nurse at Mercy Medical Center, to lobbying for the Iowa Nurses Association, and being CEO of Sage Assurity Financial. She is co-founder of Des Moines Choral Society, Iowa Runaway Service (YESS), Female Investor Network (FIN) and Children’s Cancer Nepal, and has served as board president of Catholic Council for Social Concern, Iowa International Center, Iowa Center for Economic Success and was developer of the first state-wide conference on Human Trafficking in Iowa. She graduated with a B.S. from Barry University in Miami, Florida, and studied at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Donna Red Wing spent a lifetime advocating for the poor, abused children, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, against war, bigotry, hatred and violence. She never made much money, but filled the hearts and souls of countless friends and thousands who benefitted from her life’s work, charisma and positive attitude. Donna died on Monday, April 16, 2018, after an eight month battle with cancer.
Donna was a revered and well known national leader in the fight for LGBTQ equality, dedicating over three decades of her life to advocating for the LGBTQ community. She was once called “the most dangerous woman in America” by the anti-LGBTQ group “Christian Coalition” due to her charismatic and civil approach to activism, a title she wore with great pride.