APAC Board of Directors
In her volunteer work as community organizer and advocate for social justice, Aurora Soriano Cudal-Rivera gained recognition as “multi-ethnic bridge builder”, and an inductee to the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
Her painted portrait also hangs in the San Diego County Library as the first Filipino chosen as one of the Legends: Living Well, in 2015, an annual recognition of individuals who exemplify “lifestyles that embrace inclusion, spiritual integrity, humanism and healthy living.”
Aurora considers herself as a successful professional in the field of public health education, having worked in this field since she graduated from the University of the Philippines at the age of 18. In a ladder-like promotion from that of a community health educator in one of the remotest town in the Philippines, she reached the top of her career as WHO Health Education Consultant in Geneva, Switzerland and the first woman from Asia to receive a UNESCO Fellowship on “Problems Related to the Use of Drugs,” which granted her a four-month travel to Denmark, Netherlands, France and Switzerland. Her training and experience catapulted her in the international field.
However, despite her accomplishments, she remained humble and unaffected by all the recognition and awards she received along the way, E.g. California Legislature Woman of the Year (1999; 2016). University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America’s Distinguished Community Service Ward (2003); Doctor of Humanities (h.c.) from the Pamantasan Ng Lungsod ng Maynila (2003), and so many others.
She blended her life of service as a mother of seven children, grandmother of 25 grandchildren, and great grandmother of 6 great grandchildren, and as a wife, first to the late Winlove Abello Cudal and to her second husband, Judge (ret.) Peter de Castro Rivera, Jr., into her life of devotion and commitment to church and society, always making a difference in the lives of others.
She came to retire in Chula Vista, California after almost 40 years of trail-blazing service in government and non-government institutions in the Philippines. Now an octogenarian, she is still active with the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) San Diego and Imperial Counties, Board of Missions and Outreach and Committee on Social Responsibility of the Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista, and Congregational Tower Resident’s Association, an independent living facility of two hundred seniors from all walks of life. An optimist, Aurora believes that one is never too old to make a difference in the lives of others.
Tom Hom, a second generation Chinese-American, was born in San Diego in 1927, year of the Rabbit. Throughout his life, he helped transform San Diego into the vibrant city it is today. In 1963 he made San Diego history by becoming the first minority ever elected to the San Diego City Council. In 1968 he won a seat to the California State Assembly, serving along side then Governor Ronald Reagan.
As a successful civic, business, and community leader, Tom has become a legacy in San Diego. Among his accomplishments, he was instrumental in the transformation of what was San Diego’s skid row into today’s vibrant historic Gaslamp Quarter District – now a major destination.
He also played a key role in the establishment of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. This pioneer has received numerous accolades for his efforts and contributions to improve his community and beyond.
Tom recently published his memoir, “Rabbit on a BumPy Road, a Story of Courage and Endurance.”
Mitsuo "Mits" Tomita, M.D., a retired family physician, has served on the boards of the health and human services local non-profit Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC), LEAD San Diego, Planned Parenthood, and other non-profits including APAC.
He currently serves on the board of the San Diego chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and is a volunteer for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California.
He also co-chairs the SD County Medical Society's Bioethics Commission. Mits is an Assistant Clinical Professor on the voluntary faculty of the UCSD School of Medicine.