The annual Kimi Sugiyama Human Service Award is given in recognition of outstanding creativity and self-sacrifice in extending God’s love to others. It was established by the Sugiyama family in recognition of the late Kimi Sugiyama, who used her law training and her facility in language on behalf of Japanese workers. She advocated for labor rights and human rights to Japanese immigrants who had little or no understanding of the English language and American labor rights.
The 2018 recipients of the Sugiyama Human Service Award are the late Agnes Hikida of Buena Park and Terry Hopper of Lakewood.
Hikida’s service has had many avenues. She was an active member of the Long Beach Japanese Cultural Center (LBJCC), where she was recognized in the community as the “go-to” person. In her role on the Board, she worked diligently in key areas, such as the Center’s Japanese garden, its Shinnen-enkai New Year’s event, and the LBJCC Festival, a huge two-day community event that occurs every June. Everyone who attended the annual Festival knew her.
Hikida also reached out through her involvement with the Long Beach Harbor Pioneer Project. This all-volunteer intergenerational and multi-cultural organization provides quality-of-life seminars, as well as education and entertaining tips of various lengths for seniors and others.
Hikida served tirelessly at Grace Presbyterian Church in Paramount on committees and in activities that including the cleaning of the pews and working in the office. Then, as a charter member of Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, Hikida helped to establish the Megumi Kai Ministry Team and assisted in implementing the annual Shinnen-enkai and the Thanksgiving Potluck. She also was instrumental in the creation of the Kimi Sugiyama Human Service Award. She worked with the Sugiyama family on it in 2002 and then tirelessly handled necessary details every year, including requesting nominations from the wider community, as well as from her church.
Agnes knew that people mattered, and she was a good communicator. She was observant and made certain that people were kept abreast of issues that concerned them. As a member of the board of her Buena Park mobile home park, she prepared and distributed a monthly newsletter and was the co-planner of the center’s annual auction.
Agnes Hikida loved God, His people, and her church. She demonstrated His love by serving others throughout the community and in her church. She is a posthumous recipient of the Kimi Sugiyama Human Services Award in recognition of her many years of dedication, service, and commitment to God.