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Advisory Committee on Participatory Democracy Selects Winners for Jean Ford Democracy Award, NASS Medallion Award
Posted Date: 5/14/2013 1:30 PM

Contact: Catherine Lu, Public Information Officer 
             (702) 486-6982 / 334-7953 

(Carson City, NV; May 14, 2013) — Secretary of State Ross Miler today announced that the Advisory Committee on Participatory Democracy (ACPD) has selected eight winners for two awards promoting participatory democracy in Nevada – the Jean Ford Democracy Award and the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Award. The recipients of the two awards will be honored during the 2013 legislative session on Democracy Day, May 23.

“The individuals and organizations chosen exhibit a dedication to our community through service and voter engagement, making a positive impact on the democratic process in the Silver State,” said Secretary Miller, who serves as NASS president. 

The Jean Ford Democracy Award, named in honor of former state assemblywoman and state senator Jean Ford, recognizes deserving citizens who have benefited their communities, state and nation through their participation and leadership in furthering the democratic process. The individuals below will receive the Jean Ford Democracy Award in the following categories:

Educator (teacher or administrator any level K-16)

    Steven Parker, Ph.D. is an associate professor and internship coordinator in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has taught and influenced many students who have gone on to become community and policy advocates in Nevada. 

    Deborah Berger is an educator at the Clark County School District and teaches a Civil Rights program, “We the People – The Citizen and The Constitution.” She mentors teachers and uses a variety of interactive teaching techniques during “We the People” Summer Institutes.

Community Individual 

    Shane Piccinini has been a volunteer for more than 20 years for the Center for Civic Education’s “We The People” curriculum and Project Citizen curriculum. He organizes events and coordinates resources from the federal level to 16 of Nevada’s 17 school districts, and coaches students and teachers to engage them in civil responsibility, the importance of voting, and all layers of being involved in public policy. 

    Rozita Lee is a familiar face in Southern Nevada, being heavily involved in civic engagement, voter registration and voter education in the Asian and Pacific Islander community. She has organized voter education, registration and mobilization programs to increase the number of registered Asian and Pacific Islander voters, who finding a unified force and increasing their political influence.

Elected and/or Government Employee (local or state) 

    David Byerman has served as Secretary of the Nevada Senate since 2010 and initiated a variety of programs to engage the public in the legislative process, such as uLegislate, a hands-on legislative simulation in the Senate Chamber; Channel 21, an information network that delivers operational information in the Legislative Building; and SENarts, a partnership with the Nevada Division of Museums and Nevada Arts Council that includes arts competitions, programs, and a campaign to build the Senate’s permanent art collection.

The NASS Medallion Award allows individual Secretaries of State to recognize outstanding service and dedication to furthering the mission of the organization. The Medallion Award was created to honor individuals, groups or organizations with an established record of promoting the goals of NASS and consistent with the ACPD. The organizations selected will be recognized in the following areas:


    Mi Familia Vota is a national non-profit organization that works to unite the Latino community and its allies to promote social and economic justice through increased civil participation. In 2012, Mi Familia Vota registered approximately 10,000 Nevadans, educating them about the importance of voting and guiding them registration to voting at the polls.

Civic Engagement 

    Our Story, Inc. maintains a website with links and resources about information not generally taught or disseminated about minority populations and their role in shaping Northern Nevada. The organization shares oral histories through classroom visit and partnered with the Reno Historic Preservation Society in 2011 for the first annual “Ethnic Reno Tour,” highlighting buildings designed by African-American architects, and sites and locations significant to African-American history.

Philanthropic contribution which has significantly enhanced the quality of life in a community or the entire state

    Since 2002, the employee-driven MGM Resorts Foundation’s International Philanthropy Program has raised nearly $50 million to support nonprofit organizations. In 2011, 97 employee-funded MGM Resorts foundation grants provided education support to 119,048 children; food, housing and self-sufficiency assistance to 150,881 individuals and families; and vital assistance such as medical care and mental health counseling to 24,498 individuals and families.

About the Advisory Committee on Participatory Democracy
The Advisory Committee on Participatory Democracy (ACPD) was first established in 1997 by the Legislature under the office of the Department of Cultural Affairs. The ACPD consists of 10 members including the Secretary of State or his designee and nine other members appointed by the Secretary of State. The Committee’s purpose is to assist the Secretary of State in identifying and proposing programs that promote citizen participation in governance, establishing a Jean Ford Democracy Award and working with partner organizations at the local, state and national level to increase voter participation. For more information on the ACPD, visit

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