NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The Metropolitan King County Council presented Francisco “Frank” Irigon with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service. Irigon, a leader in the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community, was recognized on May 23 for decades of community activism and human rights leadership.
“There are few more deserving of this honor than Frank, known to many as Uncle Frank,” said Metropolitan King County Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski, who presented the award. “He is a tireless advocate, a humble agitator, who is quick to raise his voice to call out injustice. While Frank is well known in the Asian Pacific Islander American community for his work, many King County residents have been positively impacted by his constant diligence in protecting our civil rights.”
Born in the Philippines, Irigon came to Washington state when his father was stationed at Fort Lewis.
Irigon also served in the military and used the GI Bill to attend the University of Washington (UW), where he received his bachelor’s degree and Master of Social Work. At the UW, Irigon was active in the anti-war and human rights movements. He was the first Asian American to serve on the UW student government (ASUW), and served as Vice-Chair of the UW Asian Student Coalition.
Irigon was a leader in the effort to preserve the Chinatown/ International District. As a student, he protested the building of the Kingdome and became involved with several issues threatening the vitality of the International District.
Irigon developed and supervised a number of human service programs in the region and served as executive director of both International Community Health Services and Washington Asian Pacific Islander Families Against Substance Abuse. He has actively served his community since retirement, as an advocate for social justice, equality in the legal justice system, public education opportunities, and equity for King County’s retired and elderly residents.
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