CCA honored Mt. San Antonio College professor Joseph Franko with its first GLBT Award at the fall conference in October. The award was created by the CCA Faculty Equity and Diversity Committee and named after CTA President David A Sanchez, who is not only the first Hispanic CTA president, but also the first openly gay CTA president. Sanchez was on hand to present the award to Franko.
“I’m honored and deeply touched that the CCA Equity and Diversity Committee has created this honor in my name, but I am even prouder that the award was created at all. It truly demonstrates the commitment that our faculty has to equal rights on campus,” Sanchez said following the award ceremony.
Franko has been a longtime advocate for gay rights and human rights on the Mt. SAC campus, in the United States and globally. “As a student at Iowa State University, Franko started the first gay liberation group at a time and in a place where doing so was neither common place nor safe,” said CCA President Ron Norton Reel in his introduction of the award recipient.
As an advisor to Lambda, Mt. SAC’s GLBT group on campus, Franko “has come to the aid of students who have needed emergency housing and scholarship funds for students whose parents kicked them out of their homes upon finding out their children were gay,” Reel said.
In addition, Franko, helped start a gay liberation student group in Hawaii, which succeeded in getting a bullying law passed to protect GLBT students. He also started two schools for girls in the Afghanistan refugee camps on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The schools currently enroll 600 girls ages 6 to13. Franko is also the first openly gay Presiding Clerk of Pacific Yearly Meeting, a gathering of Quakers from California, Hawaii, and Central America. On the Mt. SAC campus, he was one of the pioneers of distance learning and helped in starting the Mt. SAC Honors program as well.
“I am so proud that CCA established this award to honor the contributions that community college faculty have made on their campuses to assure equity and equality for all students,” Reel said. I’m especially proud that the award was named for CTA President David Sanchez, who has been a longtime advocate for human rights.”
This prestigious award will honor those who have supported, promoted, recognized, and educated our community college family regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) issues.