DALY CITY, Calif. – For the first time in Daly City’s history two Filipinos were bestowed the city’s highest yearly honor for its residents.
Outgoing Daly City Mayor and Filipino American Ray Buenaventura named Dorie Paniza Citizen of the Year. The Youth of the Year award was given to Jasmine Cruz.
Serving as Daly City’s Culture and Arts Commissioner and as the President of the Filipino American Democratic Club of San Mateo County Paniza says she has dedicated her life to bringing more awareness to the Filipino American community.
“I still feel overwhelmed and also happy and grateful for being awarded Citizen of the Year for Daly City,” said Paniza. “I also feel satisfied now and proud for my mom that I’m here daughter.”
Since about 3 years old, Jasmine Cruz trained in a variety of dance styles including jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary and classical ballet.
Now at 13 years old, Cruz has won numerous awards and was given the opportunity to train and perform around the world, including the Homecoming Gala of Ballet Philippines 45th Anniversary in Manila.
“I’m really honored and excited,” said Cruz. “It’s just a general adrenaline rush really because this is a really big thing for me.”
These recipients say they are humbled by this recognition and hope it can inspire Filipinos in communities everywhere.
“I’m again, really honored because the fact that I have the opportunity to show that we can do this and we have the talent and the drive to do it is really amazing,” said Cruz.
“Daly City is well-known as a Filipino community,” said Paniza. “Now is the time that all the Filipinos should unite and work together to be proud that we are Filipino not just here in Daly City but all over the world.”
As the first dual Pinays to receive this honor, Paniza and Cruz say they hope it won’t be the last.