June 25, 2021
Contact: Brenda Thomson, Executive Director / / 602-257-0335
Congratulations to Michael Brescia, Christine Marin, Paul Alan Taliercio, Akua Duku Anokye, Zarco Guerrero, James and Judith Walsh, and Thomas J. Davis. 

Arizona Humanities is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Humanities Awards. The Recipients of this year's awards are:
  • Michael Brescia, Dan Shilling Humanities Public Scholar Award
  • Christine Marin, Juliana Yoder Friend of the Humanities Award
  • Paul Alan Taliercio, Humanities Rising Star Award
  • Akua Duku Anokye, Co-Recipient, Outstanding Speaker
  • Zarco GuerreroCo-Recipient, Outstanding Speaker
  • James and Judith Walsh, Outstanding Supporter Award
  • Thomas J. Davis, Founder's Community Partner Award
Every year we honor and celebrate outstanding contributions to the humanities in our state. Since the inaugural awards in 1990, Arizona Humanities has recognized individuals who have advanced the humanities in Arizona through their scholarship, leadership, support and advocacy. This year, our theme is Hands-on Humanities. All of this year's winners are hands on humanitarians, meaning they engage the community in their efforts to promote the humanities in Arizona.
Read more about each award recipient below. The 2021 Arizona Humanities Awards: Hands-on Humanities will be livestreamed on September 25, 2021 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm. Information about the livestreamed event and registration for the general public can be found at or by calling 602-257-0335. 
Michael Brescia - Dan Shilling Humanities Public Scholar Award 
Dr. Michael Brescia is a distinguished historian who specializes in the history of the transnational Southwest, including Arizona, Mexico, and cross-border relations. He has published prolifically in his field and received significant support for his award-winning research. As Curator of Ethnohistory at the Arizona State Museum, Brescia has organized numerous exhibitions for the community featuring the history of the Southwest. As Affiliated Professor of History and Law at the University of Arizona, Brescia demonstrates his breadth of knowledge, teaching courses on a range of topics, from natural resources and the law in the Spanish borderlands to comparative history in North America. In addition to his scholarship, curatorial work, and teaching, Brescia is an advocate for public history, dedicating himself to substantial community outreach, particularly in southeast Arizona. Brescia has led countless public programs, workshops, tours, and lectures on topics related to the ethnohistory and legal history of the Southwest and engaged audiences on the crucial topic of water rights in the region.  
Christine Marin - Juliana Yoder Friend of the Humanities Award 

Dr. Christine Marin is a historian, archivist, scholar, and Professor Emeritus at ASU who has tirelessly promoted the preservation and accessibility of Latinx history in Arizona for the past several decades. As the founder of the Chicano/a Research Collection and Archives at Arizona State University, Marin played an essential role in establishing and growing the collection of archival material critical to Chicano/a history. Her outreach and collaboration with local communities in Arizona was crucial to the success of the archive. Marin is also Professor Emeritus in the School of Transborder Studies and Women and Gender Studies, where she taught courses on the history of Mexican Americans and the Latinx community. Marin has published extensively in her field, preserving the history and stories of marginalized groups in Arizona through her work. Outside of ASU and her scholarship, Marin is widely recognized for her public service, including her commitment to outreach in the Latinx community and advocacy for women.  
Paul Alan Taliercio - Humanities Rising Star Award 

Paul Alan Taliercio is the Curator of the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center and Director and Chief Curator of the Sapien Museum of Anthropology and Natural History. Taliercio has led the campaign to update the Carver Museum collections. His creation of online exhibits tells the history of the segregated, first all African American School in Phoenix. He has relaunched the website and social media to foster public awareness and engagement of Carver's unique place in Arizona history. Taliercio is cataloging historical items, developing new exhibits, and renovating the physical space with the help of a team of volunteers. When the museum was vandalized with swastikas and racial slurs last year, Taliercio rallied the community and raised $5000 to restore the museum. Taliercio is dedicated to preserving the history, culture, and art of the African American community in Phoenix and collecting the stories of alumni for future generations.  
Akua Duku Anokye - Co-Recipient, Outstanding Speaker Award 

Dr. Akua Duku Anokye is a distinguished scholar, educator, and advocate for the humanities, especially through her efforts to promote storytelling and oral history of communities both locally and globally. Anokye is an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Culture and Director of the Global Learning and Engagement Initiative at Arizona State University. Her scholarly research focuses on oral history and folklore of the African Diaspora and culture, religion, storytelling, and dance of Ghana. As an educator, Anokye encourages student community activism and engagement. Through her Telling Arizona oral history project, her students travel across the state to collect and preserve the stories of Arizonans. Anokye has lent her outstanding public speaking voice to university and community events such as the March On West and Black History Month at ASU. Anokye has been an AZ Speaks presenter for many years, engaging audiences on a range of topics including the history and lives of African American women in Arizona, and storytelling in Ghana, the US, and Arizona. Anokye's scholarly work, community outreach, and outstanding public speaking has led to the production of several documentaries on local African American women activists. 
Zarco Guerrero
Zarco Guerrero - Co-Recipient, Outstanding Speaker Award 

Zarco Guerrero is an artist, storyteller, and founder of Cultural Coalition Inc., an organization promoting community engagement through cultural programs, and Xico Inc., a cultural institution serving Latino and Indigenous artists. Guerrero's work focuses on telling the stories and celebrating the cultures of Latinx and Indigenous communities in Arizona through music, poetry, and theatrical performances. Guerrero has been recognized for his creative storytelling, his appeal to diverse audiences, and his dynamic engagement with museums and schools. He skillfully uses the artform of mask making to confront stereotypes in the Latinx community. His lively and thought-provoking performances connect art, history, and culture, and have inspired audiences of all ages to discuss social issues and social change.  
James and Judith Walsh - Outstanding Supporter Award 
James "Jim" Walsh is a former AZ Humanities board member and friend of founder Lorraine Frank. Jim and Judy regularly attend humanities programs, and especially the annual humanities awards event established in Frank's honor. Jim helped develop the concept for "FRANK" Talks with Executive Director Brenda Thomson in 2014, popular community conversations on timely social issues. FRANK Talks, launched in 2016, were developed to continue Frank's legacy of civic engagement and public discourse. Finally, for over four decades the Walsh family has supported AZ Humanities through generous annual donations. This support has allowed Arizona Humanities to grow, prosper, and offer free public programs statewide that explore the rich cultural legacy of the people and places of Arizona.  
Thomas J. Davis - Founder's Community Partner  
Dr. Thomas J. Davis "T.J." is Professor Emeritus of History at Arizona State University, where his research and teaching focused on U.S. constitutional and legal history. Davis is an internationally recognized legal scholar. He has shared his expertise with the public and continually advocated for the humanities in Arizona for decades. Since 1997, Davis has supported Arizona Humanities in numerous capacities: first as a member of the Speakers Bureau, as an early "Road Scholar" when the program was first introduced. He continues to serve as an AZ Speaks presenter to this day, traveling to cultural organizations across Arizona. Davis also helped launch FRANK Talks, now in its 5th year. He was an inaugural program facilitator, and his unique and engaging style continues to receive high praise from host libraries and community members. In 2020-21 Davis  served as project director for the Voices and Votes: Democracy in America traveling Smithsonian exhibit, where he advised host sites across the state and conducted trainings. Davis has been an eloquent and outstanding humanities ambassador, engaging and inspiring people from all backgrounds to learn about democracy, our nation's laws and civic engagement. 
Arizona Humanities
Mission: Arizona Humanities builds a just and civil society by creating opportunities to explore our shared human experiences through discussion, learning and reflection. Arizona Humanities is a statewide 501(c)3 non-profit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1973, Arizona Humanities has supported public programs that promote understanding of the human experience with cultural, educational, and non-profit organizations across Arizona.
About Arizona Humanities
Arizona Humanities is a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1973, Arizona Humanities has supported public programs that promote the understanding of the human experience with cultural, educational, and nonprofit organizations across Arizona.

Arizona Humanities builds a just and civil society by creating opportunities to explore our shared human experiences through discussion, learning and reflection.
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