312-503-0983. Suite 1400 680 N Lake Shore Drive Chicago Illinois 60611
Aida Giachello is Research Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. For over 35 years, she has been conducting health and human services research, evaluating community interventions programs that impact individual families and community in the areas of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, tobacco prevention and control, among others. In most of her efforts, she has used community based participatory action research and empowerment approaches which calls for the active involvement of community residents, leaders, health and human services providers, policy makers, and people directly affected by the health problem under study. Aida was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, a master’s degree in Community Organizing and Policy from the School of Social Services Administration and a PhD in Sociology of Health and Illness or Medical Sociology from the University of Chicago.
A framed quote in Dr. Aida Luz Maisonet Giachello’s Chicago office states: “If you have faith even as tiny as a mustard seed, all things are possible.” This sentiment eloquently describes Giachello’s own life journey, from an impoverished childhood in Puerto Rico to the corridors of academic excellence at the University of Chicago—and ultimately to the Midwest Latino Health Research, Training, and Policy Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There, Giachello works tirelessly to collect and analyze data—and to use that data to enact policies that promote good health, prevent disease, and control chronic illnesses. Although some progress has been made, much remains to be done. “The poor, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and women are still not getting [adequate] access to health care,” says Aida.
A noted feminist theorist and author, Gloria Anzaldúa paved the way for a more intersectional feminism, especially inclusive of Chicana women. A Mexican-American native of Texas, Anzaldúa was invested in academia and scholarship from a very young age, fighting segregation throughout her own education and early career as a teacher. In her early activism, she was involved in the farmworkers movement and the Mexican American Youth Organization, though she was vocally critical of the male focus in both. Along with feminist scholar Cherríe Moraga, Anzaldúa co-edited the highly-influential book This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, one of the first books to place women of color at the center of the feminist conversation. Perhaps her most famous solo work, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, was released a few years later, documenting Anzaldúa’s life as a Chicana-Tejana lesbian feminist. Through countless essays, books and poetry, Anzaldúa — who died in 2004 — documented Chicana struggle and resilience in a way that still impacts Hispanic women and feminism today.
In a country with growing socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations, Berta Cáceres (d. 2016) rallied the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras and waged a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam. Since the 2009 coup, Honduras has witnessed an explosive growth in environmentally destructive megaprojects that would displace indigenous communities. Almost 30 percent of the country’s land was earmarked for mining concessions, creating a demand for cheap energy to power future mining operations. To meet this need, the government approved hundreds of dam projects around the country, privatizing rivers, land, and uprooting communities. Among them was the Agua Zarca Dam, a joint project of Honduran company Desarrollos Energéticos SA (DESA) and Chinese state-owned Sinohydro, the world’s largest dam developer. Agua Zarca, slated for construction on the sacred Gualcarque River, was pushed through without consulting the indigenous Lenca people—a violation of international treaties governing indigenous peoples’ rights. The dam would cut off the supply of water, food and medicine for hundreds of Lenca people and violate their right to sustainably manage and live off their land.Berta Cáceres, a Lenca woman, grew up during the violence that swept through Central America in the 1980s. Her mother, a midwife and social activist, took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, teaching her young children the value of standing up for disenfranchised people.Cáceres grew up to become a student activist and in 1993, she cofounded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) to address the growing threats posed to Lenca communities by illegal logging, fight for their territorial rights and improve their livelihoods.In 2006, community members from Rio Blanco came to COPINH asking for help. They had witnessed an influx of machinery and construction equipment coming into their town. They had no idea what the construction was for or who was behind the project. What they knew was that an aggression against the river—a place of spiritual importance to the Lenca people—was an act against the community, its free will, and its autonomy.
The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His numerous poetry collections include 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007, Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (1999). In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature. His most recent works for young people include Imagine (2018) and Jabberwalking (2018). In 2015 he was named U.S. poet laureate. In a 2004 interview at CSU-Fresno, Herrera noted the influences of three distinct Californias—the small agricultural towns of the San Joaquin Valley he knew as a child, San Diego’s Logan Heights, and San Francisco’s Mission District—on his work: “all these landscapes became stories, and all those languages became voices in my writing, all those visuals became colors and shapes, which made me more human and gave me a wide panorama to work from.” Influenced by Allen Ginsberg, Herrera’s poetry brims with simultaneity and exuberance, and often takes shape in mural-like, rather than narrative, frames. Critic Stephen Burt praised Herrera in the New York Times as one of the first poets to successfully create “a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity, fueled by collective pride, yet irreducibly individual too.” In 2012, Herrera was named California’s poet laureate, and the U.S. poet laureate in 2015. He has won the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Focal Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, and a PEN West Poetry Award. His honors include the UC Berkeley Regent’s Fellowship as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Stanford Chicano Fellows. He has also received several grants from the California Arts Council. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. His creative work often crosses genres, including poetry opera and dance theater. His children’s book, The Upside Down Boy (2000), was adapted into a musical. His books for children and young adults have won several awards, including Calling the Doves (2001), which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and Crashboomlove (1999), a novel-in-verse for young adults which won the Americas Award. His book Half The World in Light was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize in 2009. Herrera has taught at California State University-Fresno and at the University of California-Riverside, and he currently serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. He lives in California.
Sylvia Méndez, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, will speak about her life as an American civil rights activist. When Ms. Mendez was eight years old, her parents organized with four other Mexican-American families and filed a law suit in federal court against four Orange County school districts. Her family’s case, Mendez v. Westminster, paved the way in 1947 for the famous Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education which led to desegregation of schools across the country eight years later.Their story demonstrates how a small group of citizens can and have changed the course of history. Their actions led to desegregation across the United States, but the current inequalities in the American education system, referred to as de facto segregation, remind us that we cannot take past successes for granted. We must continue to work for equal access to, and achievement in our schools.Sylvia Méndez was born in 1936 in Santa Ana, CA to a Puerto Rican mother and a Mexican father. As a young child, she attended a school for Hispanic children. When she was eight-years old, her parents decided Sylvia, her brothers, and their cousins should attend a nearby Whites-only school with better resources. The school said Sylvia’s lighter-skinned cousins could attend, but she and her brothers could not.Their law suit against four Orange County school districts had long-term repercussions in California and across the nation. Their victory led to desegregation of California schools and ultimately to desegregation throughout the United States after Brown v. Board of Education.Sylvia made her career as a registered nurse and now devotes her time to traveling and lecturing on the historic contribution she and her parents made to civil rights in the U.S. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
One of the most vocal advocates for the LGBTQ community in U.S. government, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan has a history of powerful activism, especially for transgender people of color. Freedman-Gurspan, who is a Latina and Indigenous transgender woman, now serves as the primary liaison for LGBTQ issues for the White House — the first openly trans member of staff at the White House. Throughout her time at the White House, Freedman-Gurspan has advocated for policy shifts supporting trans inclusion in government and beyond. She has a long history of activism that precedes her political career. Previously, she served as a policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality, where she led racial and economic justice initiatives focused on low-income and transgender people of color. A notable name in the policy space for Latinx queer people, Freedman-Gurspan accomplished all of this before turning 30.
Sylvia Puente is the Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum, the only Latino public policy and advocacy organization in Illinois. Puente has earned a national reputation as a bridge builder and a trailblazer, having been recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S.” She works tirelessly with nonprofit leaders, elected officials and corporate partners to improve educational outcomes for children, to make housing more accessible and affordable while promoting just immigration reform and building the influence and leadership of Latinos for the betterment of all Illinois. Puente is a proud Chicago native who was introduced to her life’s work in advocacy, policy and activism at the young age of 13, when she joined her mother on picket lines in support of the United Farm Workers union. She was the first in her family to graduate college and earned a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She did graduate studies at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and earned her Master’s Degree from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Sylvia is regularly called upon to provide perspective on the implications of the nation’s changing demographics and is frequently cited in the media as an expert on Latino issues and has published numerous reports that articulate the vital role they play in society. Puente’s 35-year career serving her community spans a wide range of experiences: From 2001-08 she served as director of the Center for Metropolitan Chicago Initiatives for the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies. Her work also included the publication of the first ever publications on Latino growth in the Chicago suburbs, “Bordering the Mainstream: A Needs Assessment of Latinos in Berwyn and Cicero, Illinois,” and “Forging the Tools for Unity: A report on Metro Chicago’s Mayors Roundtables on Latino Integration.” Puente was selected by Governor JB Pritzker to serve on his transition team, the Educational Success Committee, which was tasked with tackling the state’s educational issues. Additionally, she received appointments from two previous Illinois governors to the Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board and the Illinois Early Learning Council, and is a board director of Advance Illinois, a public policy agency working to improve education in the State. Among her many accolades throughout her career, Sylvia is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, and a recipient of a fellowship from the Chicago Community Trust. She is most proud of leadership awards from the University of Illinois, where she is the only Latina whose portrait hangs in the student union among other notable alums; the University of Chicago, which named her Outstanding Leader of Color; the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Illinois Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s (MALDEF) Community Service Award; the National Museum of Mexican Art’s Sor Juana Women of Achievement Award for Community Service and last but not least, the National Football League’s Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award presented by the Chicago Bears. Lastly, she was one of 25 Chicago area women named a “Pioneer for Social Justice.”
Contact Sylvia via email or phone at 312-376-1766 x224.
William C. Velásquez was the founder of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project in 1974. He envisioned a time when Latinos would play an important role in the American Democratic process. His legacy began in Texas. Velásquez was one of the founding members of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO); a Chicano youth organization aimed at social action. His role in MAYO led to becoming Texas’ first statewide Coordinator of El Movimiento Social de la Raza Unida, the precursor of La Ram Unida Party. His involvement with Latino organizations was extensive. In 1968 as Boycott Coordinator for the United Farm Workers (UFW), he organized strikes at the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. After leaving the UFW he became the founder and director of the Mexican American Unity Council in San Antonio, Texas. In 1970 he was named Field Director of the Southwest Council of La Raza. From 1972 to July 1974, he concentrated his efforts on building the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP). Little notice was taken when Velasquez opened the doors to SVREP in 1974, seated on a folding chair; behind a small desk calling from a borrowed rotary telephone to spur Mexican Americans into politics. He enlisted the aid of Community organizers, together they launched hundreds of voter registIaIion and get-the-vote-out (GOTV) campaigns throughout the southwest. The legacy of Velásquez is apparent-since its inception, SVREP has cultivated 50,000 community leaders, successfully litigated 85 voting rights law suits and has conducted 2,300 non-partisan,voter registration and GOTV campaigns. Consequently, voter registration has grown over the years from 2.4 million registered Latinos in 1974 to 7 million nationwide in 1998. But his vision involved more than just getting Latinos to the ballot box, Velásquez sought to bring into the democratic process an active and informed Latino electorate. Charted in 1984, the Southwest Voter Research Institute was established to seek the opinions of the Latino electorate and to make those findings known. He felt Latino leaders should be held accountable to their constituencies. As part of the institute, he set out to collect and distribute information on public policy issues ranging from income and poverty to U.S. and Latin America relations. In 1995 President Bill Clinton awarded Velásquez The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor any civilian can receive – and only the second Latino ever to earn that honor. In 1997, the Southwest Voter Research Institute was changed to the William C Velásquez Institute (WCVI) as a way to honor and perpetuate Velásquez’ vision and legacy. But Velásquez did not get to see the fruits of his dreams, he passed away on June 15, 1988 of complications from kidney cancer. The ongoing activities of SVREP and WCVI serve as proof of the continued strength and merit of Velásquez.
Francia Elena Márquez Mina was born in 1981 in Suárez, in the northern part of the Cauca department of Colombia. She was 15 years old when she decided to join the protests against the government of Colombia, which planned to deviate the river Ovejas toward the Salvajina dam. The huge project would impact the ancestral land of the African-Colombian communities very negatively, eliminating their ethnic and cultural identity. In 2009 Francia started a process of struggle and resistance to prevent 6,000 people of her communities from being expelled from the land, which the government had handed into a transnational enterprise for mining purposes. Márquez thus filed a lawsuit against it “for the violation of basic rights”, documenting that theearliest presence of the community dated back to 1636, and the Constitution recognized the right of the indigenous people, farmers and descendants of the African people to reside in their own land. After one year she won the lawsuit and therefore the government was ordered to comply with the land property rights, block the resettlements and hold a preliminary consultation to assign the mining rights. Nonetheless, the illegal extraction started to block the region. In 2010 the first excavators arrived, carrying the first illnesses due to the increase in the level of mercury in water. In the following years, over 2,000 machines perforated the riverbed in search for gold. After consulting with the international organizations, Márquez decided to act. In 2014, together with other 18 women, she started the “mobilization of the black women for the protection of life and ancestral lands”, that would be later recalled as “The march of turbans”. They walked from their territory to the capital, visiting along the road other communities on their road to extinction. In 10 days they walked for 350 kilometres, reaching Bogota with the complete support of 150 women. The institutions welcomed them, but nobody showed an actual commitment to changing the situation. So they decided to camp in a “permanent assembly” in front of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs and the State’s President’s office. The government accused them of “threatening the national security”. But no one dares touch them. The domestic and international media follow the progress of Francia’s protests. Thus, the government is compelled to find a deal and publicly ordered to destroy all machinery that has perforated the region. Marquez in 2015 received the Colombia National Prize and she was invited to take part in the peace process in La Havana. Nonetheless, ever since her name has appeared along with the signatures of the protesters against the government in 2010, Francia has not ceased to receive threats. Therefore she had to flee and continue to fight far from her country of origin. Thus she undertook a tour throughout Europe as an international reference point. In April 2018 in Paris, she received the Goldman Environmental Prize, for defying the illegal extraction and the construction of dams in her countries. “Europe’s privileges rely on the plunder of other countries,” said Francia “we ask you to put your development into the service of the life of our communities. They are killing us, it is a genocide”.
Sophie Cruz was born in the United States to undocumented immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico. Her parents have been allowed to stay in the United States under the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. At five years old, Sophie went to Washington DC to be part of the crowd welcoming Pope Francis who was visiting on behalf of undocumented immigrants. In an attempt to help her parents and others like them, she wrote the Pope a letter of hope and wore a t-shirt that said “Papa Rescate DAPA” (translation – “Father rescue DAPA”). Sophie met Pope Francis that day. He gave her one of his famous hugs and she gave him her letter asking for help. Her passion to help undocumented parents continues. Sophie’s words, “I believe I have the right to live with parents. I have the right to be happy…All immigrants just like my dad feed this country. They deserve to live with dignity. They deserve to live with respect.”
A noted Mexican-American civil rights activist, Cesar Chavez was instrumental in securing union rights for migrant farm workers during the 1960s. As a young boy, he dropped out of school to help support his family through field work. After a stint in the U.S. Navy, Chavez returned to the fields with determination to better the lives of workers like him. He began organizing, forming the National Farmworkers Association, which is now known as the United Farm Workers of America, to advocate for improved working conditions and wages. Chavez was a champion of nonviolent protesting, using tactics like marching, fasting and boycotting to assert farmworkers’ needs. In 1968, Chavez orchestrated a boycott that resulted in a collective bargaining agreement guaranteeing field workers the right to unionize. Chavez was also a champion of broader human rights, including an early supporter of gay rights and an opposer of the Vietnam War. Chavez died in 1993, but his legacy lives on in many of the labor protections we see today.
A Chicana folk singer who uses her music as an avenue for social change, Joan Baez has long been a force for equity and justice in entertainment. Early in her prolific music career, Baez declined to play any segregated venues, only playing black colleges when touring the South. For more than 50 years, Baez has been a fierce advocate for a wide range of social justice topics, including nonviolence, civil rights and environmental causes. Her lyrics are a constant nod to this activism, even including notable protest hymns like “We Shall Overcome” on her early albums. Baez has received wide recognition for her activism, often performing to benefit activist causes.
As a youth, Pablo Alvarado was raised in a village lacking running water and electricity. Working since he was five years old, Pablo spent several years as a day laborer in the United States, giving him first-hand knowledge of what it means to live and work at the lowest rung of society. This knowledge has stayed with him as he has dedicated his life to reducing the suffering of migrants in the United States. Pablo believes that if you protect those at the bottom of our society all of us are lifted. Pablo co-founded the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California in 1991, Los Jornaleros del Norte day laborer band in 1996 and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in 2001. He has won numerous awards and recognitions, including receiving the Next Generation Leadership Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, which recognizes entrepreneurial, risk-taking and fair leaders who seek to develop solutions to major challenges of democracy. In 2004, Pablo was also recognized by the Ford Foundation’s “Leadership for a Changing World Program.” In August 2005, TIME Magazine named Pablo among the 25 most influential Hispanics in the U.S.
Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, performer, and artist whose work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary doctorates and national and international book awards, including Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award, the Fairfax Prize, and the National Medal of the Arts awarded to her by President Obama in 2016. Most recently, she received the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship, was recognized among The Frederick Douglass 200, and won the PEN/Nabokov Award for international literature.Her classic, coming-of-age novel, The House on Mango Street, has sold over six million copies, has been translated into over twenty languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation. In addition to her writing, Cisneros has fostered the careers of many aspiring and emerging writers through two non-profits she founded: the Macondo Foundation, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2020, and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation, which ran for fifteen years. She is also the organizer of Los MacArturos, Latino MacArthur fellows who are community activists. Her literary papers are preserved in Texas at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University. Sandra Cisneros is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico and earns her living by her pen. She currently lives in San Miguel de Allende.
Title: Playwright, actor, and cofounder of the Nuyorican Poets Café
Miguel Piñero was a playwright, actor, and cofounder of the Nuyorican Poets Café with Miguel Algarín, Pedro Pietri, and others. Born in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, he and his family moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan when he was four. He father later abandoned the family, leaving Piñero to steal food for his family. Piñero later became affiliated with a gang and committed many robberies with friends, and convicted of robbery in 1964 and again in 1972. During his second incarceration, he wrote the play Short Eyes as part of the inmates playwriting workshop, and upon his parole in 1973, the play was presented in several New York City venues; the play would be nominated for six Tony Awards, and winning the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and an Obie Award for the best play of the year.
Piñero soon followed this success with a rush of plays, including Sideshow(1974), The Guntower (1976), The Sun Always Shines for the Cool (1976),Eulogy for a Small-Time Thief (1977), and Playland Blues (1980). He also coedited Nuyorican Poetry: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Words and Feelings(1975).
Piñero died in 1988. The film Piñero (2001), directed by Leon Ichaso and starring Benjamin Bratt, is about Piñero’s life.
Predating the Nuyorican poetry movement, de Burgos’ poems engage themes of feminism and social justice. In a 2011 profile of de Brugos for Ms. Magazine’s blog, Vanessa Perez Rosario states, “De Burgos was an ambitious and brilliant woman who worked diligently on two fronts—to establish herself as a writer of international acclaim and to eradicate injustice. Her feminist politics and her Afro-Caribbean ideas allow us to read her as a precursor to contemporary U.S. Latina/o writers.”
De Burgos is the author of the poetry collections Poemas exactos a mi misma(1937), Poema en veinte surcos (1938), Canción de la verdad sencilla (1939), and the posthumously-published El mar y tú: otros poemas (1954). Overviews of her work include Obra Poética (1961) and Antologia poética (1967), as well as the critical study Julia de Burgos: vida y poesia (1967) by Ivette Jiménez Báez.
Her honors include awards from the Institute of Puerto Rican Literature and an honorary doctorate from the University of Puerto Rico. De Burgos died in Harlem, and her body was returned to Puerto Rico, and is buried in the municipal cemetery at Carolina. She is the namesake for many schools, parks, and cultural centers, including the Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center in Cleveland, the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center in East Harlem, and Julia de Burgos Park in Chicago.
Life experience is a common theme in Kahlo’s approximately 200 paintings, sketches and drawings. Her physical and emotional pain are depicted starkly on canvases, as is her turbulent relationship with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera, who she married twice. Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits.
The devastation to her body from the bus accident is shown in stark detail in The Broken Column. Kahlo is depicted nearly naked, split down the middle, with her spine presented as a broken decorative column. Her skin is dotted with nails. She is also fitted with a surgical brace.
Kahlo’s first self-portrait was Self-Portrait in a Velvet Dress in 1926. It was painted in the style of 19th Century Mexican portrait painters who themselves were greatly influenced by the European Renaissance masters. She also sometimes drew from the Mexican painters in her use of a background of tied-back drapes. Self-Portrait – Time Flies (1929), Portrait of a a Woman in White (1930) and Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky (1937) all bear this background.
In her second-self portrait, “Time Flies,” Kahlo uses a folk style and vibrant colors. She wears peasant clothing, and the red, white and green in the painting are the colors of the Mexican flag.
During her life, self portrait is a subject that Frida Kahlo always returns to, as artists have always returned to their beloved themes – Vincent van Gogh his Sunflowers, Rembrandt his Self Portrait, and Claude Monet his Water Lilies.
Fernando Botero is a renowned Colombian painter and sculptor known for his volumetric stylization of figures and objects. His oeuvre ranges in subject matter, including daily life in Colombia, art historical references like the Mona Lisa, and abuses of power—all unified by Botero’s exaggeratedly rotund figures. This stylization, known as “Boterismo”, is often interpreted as a pointed social critique, as seen in his The Presidential Family (1967). “An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why,” he reflected. “You adopt a position intuitively, only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it.” Born on April 19, 1932 in Medellín, Colombia, Botero grew up surrounded by Spanish colonial architecture as well as pre-Columbian artifacts. Initially schooled as a matador, the artist abandoned the profession after two years to pursue art. Travelling to Europe in the early 1950s, he copied works of Francisco de Goyaand Diego Velázquez at the Prado Museum in Madrid and studied the paintings of Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca in Italy. In 1960, the artist moved to New York where he experimented with the gestural brushstrokes of the New York School painters of the time. This stylistic dalliance was short lived and by the 1970s Botero had settled into the technique for which he is now known. The artist currently lives and works between Paris, France, New York, NY, and Tuscany, Italy. His works are presently held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museo Botero in Bogotá which is dedicated to the artist and his oeuvre.
Title: Fashion & portrait photographer, creative director, guest editor, museum founder, art collector/collaborator and entrepreneur
Mario Testino OBE is widely regarded as one of the most influential fashion and portrait photographers of our times. His photographs have been published internationally in magazines such as Vogue, V Magazine and Vanity Fair. He has contributed to the success of leading fashion and beauty houses, creating emblematic images for brands from Gucci, Burberry, Versace and Michael Korsto CHANEL, Estée Lauder and Dolce & Gabbana.
Alongside his 40-year practice as a photographer, Testino has realised a body of work as a creative director, guest editor, museum founder, art collector/collaborator and entrepreneur. In 2007, at the request of his clients to provide full creative direction services, he formed MARIOTESTINO+ which today is a growing team of individuals who support Testino to realise the breadth of his creative output.
Velazquez was known for several artworks throughout his time. However, some of his works were rather controversial and his appointment at the royal court spared him from censorship. Thus, he was able to release his intriguing work called La Venus del Espejo, which was popularly termed as the Rokeby Venus. This painting is the only female nude painting by Velazquez that remains up to this very day.
During that time in Spain, there were two main patrons of art that were recognized in the country. Velazquez had the favor from the royalties while Bartolome Esteban Murillo won the favor of the church. Between the two, it was Velazquez who basked in a more comfortable life with pension until his death.
The Spinners was one of the final artworks of Velazquez. He painted this in 1657, and it featured the Fable of Arachne or the interiors of the royal tapestry. In the Spinners, his famous artwork, the background used was a tapestry from The Rape of Europa by the Titian.
According to critics, Velazquez’ works full of movement and energy, which is made possible by the vibrant display of colors in his paintings. Moreover, his masterpieces all featured the artist’s sheer knowledge of various art techniques that he gained during his long years in his craft. His typical scheme always featured a variety of gray, black, blue-green and red colors blended well to create a stunning painting.
One of his last works was the Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress, which is truly a gem among most artists and art enthusiasts. It was in this painting that he was able to present his unique style in terms of the choice of color. For instance, there were plenty of shimmering colors that were set on wider painting surfaces to give off an impressionistic appeal. Hence, it is essential for viewers to stand at a certain distance to obtain an impression of the artwork’s three-dimensional quality.
Velazquez had only one surviving portrait, which was of Prince Felipe Prospero. It was a remarkable piece of work, thanks to the child prince’s sweet features, yet the prince also had a certain sense of gloom in his eyes. The young prince featured in this painting died at a very young age of 4 years old.
Velazquez decided to continue working on his portraiture when he was reassigned to Madrid’s royal court. It was at this time that his techniques became more energized and bolder than before. His greatest work was entitled Las Meninas, and this featured a painting resembling a snapshot. Moreover, there were two maidens doting on Margarita Teresa who eventually became the empress of the kingdom.
During the year 1658, Velazquez was knighted in the royal court. He was also given some duties in terms of the decoration for the wedding of Louis XIV and Maria Teresa. Soon, the artist became ill, and he died on August 6, 1660, in Madrid.
Although Diego Velazquez lived during Dutch War of Independence, a time of political tension and war between Dutch and Spanish, the Dutch and Spanish painting traditions approached closer to each other than it is generally
thought. The 17th century has become known as the Golden Age of painting in both the Netherlands and Spain. It was a period of tremendous artistic achievement that saw the emergence of two of the greatest painters in history, Rembrandt and Velázquez, the leading artists of their respective countries. Like other great masters, Velazquez was more a creator than a recorder of his epoch, and whatever his subject – whether he as painting gods, kings or aristocrats, dwarfs or artists – his work has continue to live after his death, and Velazquez became widely known as among the greatest influences of Western Art. In fact, some remarkable artists in history regarded Velazquez as their influences. These painters included Van Gogh, Manet, Picasso, and Salvador Dali, among a few other artists. It was his sheer talent and passion to incorporate newer techniques that made Velazquez among the finest artists in the world.
José Clemente Orozco (November 23, 1883 – September 7, 1949) was a Mexican caricaturist and painter, who specialized in political murals that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance together with murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and others. Orozco was the most complex of the Mexican muralists, fond of the theme of human suffering, but less realistic and more fascinated by machines than Rivera. Mostly influenced by Symbolism, he was also a genre painter and lithographer. Between 1922 and 1948, Orozco painted murals in Mexico City, Orizaba, Claremont, California, New York City, Hanover, New Hampshire, Guadalajara, Jalisco, and Jiquilpan, Michoacán. His drawings and paintings are exhibited by the Carrillo Gil Museum in Mexico City, and the Orozco Workshop-Museum in Guadalajara. Orozco was known for being a politically committed artist, and he promoted the political causes of peasants and workers.
At the height of his career, Diego Rivera was an international art celebrity. Trained at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, he spent more than a decade in Europe, becoming a leading figure in Paris’s vibrant international community of avant-garde artists. There, he developed his own brand of cubism infused with symbols of his Mexican national identity. After his return to Mexico in 1922, he joined fellow creative thinkers and state officials in concerted efforts to revitalize and redefine Mexican culture in the wake of the Mexican Revolution (1910–20), a decade-long conflict that killed more than a million citizens.
Along with contemporaries like José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rivera stood out as one of the best-known proponents of Mexican Muralism, a state-sponsored movement aimed at extolling the nation’s history, culture, and post-Revolutionary ideals in large-scale murals for public spaces. Using a centuries-old fresco technique, Rivera created sweeping mural cycles that drew upon modernist painting styles to render heroic visions of Mexico’s past and present that captured the attention of critics and onlookers internationally. His monumental frescos in sites like the Secretaría de Educación Pública in Mexico City (1923–28), the Escuela Nacional de Chapingo (1927), the Palacio Nacional (1929–35), and the Palacio de Cortés in Cuernavaca (1930) captured the attention of critics and onlookers from Buenos Aires to Moscow.
Artists and audiences in the United States were particularly receptive of Rivera’s work and ideas. He began traveling north of Mexico’s borders with his wife, the painter Frida Kahlo, in 1930, and over the next five years completed major mural cycles in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York, becoming a true international art celebrity. In 1931, he was invited to mount a retrospective exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, then just two years old. Rivera created eight “portable” murals as the centerpiece of the show, including Agrarian Leader Zapata.
A resounding popular success, the exhibition paved the way for Rivera’s most notorious mural commission in the U.S., a cycle completed in 1933 in the lobby of the recently finished Rockefeller Center. Rivera’s pointedly pro-leftist subject matter—including a laudatory portrait of Vladimir Lenin—and caricatured portraits of his Rockefeller patrons riled the site’s managers, and Rivera was fired before he could complete the fresco. In 1934, the unfinished fresco was chipped away from the building’s walls, sparking protests in cities around the globe. Despite the controversy, Rivera’s model for large-scale, politically engaged public artwork inspired a generation and provided a compelling model for the government-supported art programs developed as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Source: Introduction by Jodi Roberts, Associate Curator for Special Projects, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, 2016
Title: Painter & Poet
Childhood – Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960. His mother was of Puerto Rican heritage, and his father a Haitian immigrant, the combination of which eventually led to the young Jean-Michel’s fluency in French, Spanish, and English (indeed, early readings of French symbolist poetry would come to influence Basquiat’s later work). Basquiat displayed a talent for art in early childhood, learning to draw and paint with his mother’s encouragement. Together they attended New York City museum exhibitions, and by the age of six, Jean-Michel found himself already enrolled as a Junior Member of the Brooklyn Museum.
After being hit by a car as a young child, Basquiat underwent surgery for the removal of his spleen, an event that led to his reading the famous medical and artistic treatise, Gray’s Anatomy (Originally published in 1858). The sinewy bio-mechanical images of this text, along with those equally linear personages that Basquiat enjoyed in popular graphic novels, would one day come to inform his mature, graffiti-inscribed canvases.
After his parents’ divorce, Basquiat lived alone with his father, his mother having been determined unfit to care for him owing to mental instability. Claiming physical and emotional abuse, Basquiat eventually ran away from home and was adopted by a friend’s family. Although he attended school sporadically in New York and Puerto Rico, he finally dropped out of Edward R. Murrow High School, in Brooklyn, in September 1978, at the age of 17.
Basquiat’s art was fundamentally rooted in the 1970s, New York City-based graffiti movement. In 1972, he and an artist friend, Al Diaz, started spray-painting buildings in Lower Manhattan under the nom de plume, SAMO, an acronym for “Same Old Shit”. With its anti-establishment, anti-religion, anti-politics credo packaged in an ultra-contemporary format, SAMO soon received media attention from the counter-culture press, the Village Voice the most notable among them. When Basquiat and Diaz had a falling out, Basquiat ended the project with the terse message: SAMO IS DEAD, which appeared on the facade of many SoHo art galleries and downtown buildings. After taking note of the mantra, contemporary street artist, Keith Haring, staged a mock wake for SAMO at his Club 57. Homeless and sleeping on park benches, Basquiat supported himself by panhandling, dealing drugs, and peddling hand-painted postcards and T-shirts.
Basquiat frequented the Mudd Club and Club 57-both teeming with New York City’s artistic elite. During his stint as a punk rocker, he appeared as a nightclub DJ in the Blondie music video, Rapture. After inclusion of his work in the historic, punk-art Times Square Show of June 1980, Basquiat had his first solo exhibition at the Annina Nosei Gallery, in SoHo (1982). Basquiat’s rise to wider recognition coincided with the arrival, in New York, of the German Neo-Expressionist movement, which provided a congenial forum for his own street-smart, curbside expressionism. Basquiat began exhibiting regularly with artists like Julian Schnabel and David Salle, all of whom were reacting, to one or another degree, against the recent historical dominance of Conceptualism and Minimalism. Neo-Expressionism marked the return of painting and the re-emergence of the human figure. Images of the African Diaspora and classic Americana punctuated Basquiat’s work at this time, some of which was featured at the prestigious Mary Boone Gallery in solo shows in the mid 1980s (Basquiat was later represented by art dealer and gallerist Larry Gagosian in Los Angeles). Rene Ricard’s Artforum article, “The Radiant Child”, of December 1981, virtually solidified Basquiat’s position as a formidable figure in the greater art world.
Pablo Picasso is probably the most important figure of 20th century, in terms of art, and art movements that occurred over this period. Before the age of 50, the Spanish born artist had become the most well known name in modern art, with the most distinct style and eye for artistic creation. There had been no other artists, prior to Picasso, who had such an impact on the art world, or had a mass following of fans and critics alike, as he did.
Pablo Picasso was born in Spain in 1881, and was raised there before going on to spend most of his adult life working as an artist in France. Throughout the long course of his career, he created more than 20,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and other items such as costumes and theater sets. He is universally renowned as one of the most influential and celebrated artists of the twentieth century.
Picasso’s ability to produce works in an astonishing range of styles made him well respected during his own lifetime. After his death in 1973 his value as an artist and inspiration to other artists has only grown. He is without a doubt destined to permanently etch himself into the fabric of humanity as one of the greatest artists of all time.
As an artist and an innovator, he is responsible for co-founding the entire Cubist movement alongside Georges Braque. Cubism was an avant-garde art movement that changed forever the face of European painting and sculpture while simultaneously affecting contemporary architecture, music and literature. Subjects and objects in Cubism are broken up into pieces and re-arranged in an abstract form. During the period from approximately 1910-1920 when Picasso and Braque were laying the foundation for Cubism in France, it’s effects were so far-reaching as to inspire offshoots like the styles of Futurism, Dada, and Constructivism in other countries.
Picasso is also credited with inventing constructed sculpture and co-inventing the collage art style. He is also regarded as one of three artists in the twentieth century credited with defining the elements of plastic arts. This revolutionary art form led society toward societal advances in painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics by physically manipulating materials that had not previously been carved or shaped. These materials were not just plastic, they were things that could be moulded in some way, usually into three dimensions. Artists used clay, plaster, precious metals, and wood to create revolutionary sculptural art work the world had never seen before.
Company: Alvarado Construction and President of Palo Alto, Inc. Restaurant Company
LINDA G. ALVARADO
Alvarado is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Alvarado Construction and President of Palo Alto, Inc. Restaurant Company. After making her fortune in the business world, she turned to the sports world. Alvarado became the first Hispanic female co-owner of a major league team, and the first woman ever involved in a formal bid for ownership of a major league baseball team, when she became co-owner of the Rockies. Alvarado was inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003. She has long been a stout advocate for diversity in the work place, especially involving Hispanics. “We advocate for Hispanics and other ethnicities, genders and diverse groups because there is an underutilized talent pool seeking opportunity to create value to the growth and success of the company,” she told Hispanic Executive in 2015.
Title: Former administrator of the SBA and founder of ProAmérica Bank
Company: ProAmerica Bank
Facebook: Maria Contreras-Sweet
After moving to the United States from her native Mexico when she was five, MARIA CONTRERAS-SWEET watched her single mother struggle to find a job to support her six children. She imagined a brighter future for her kids. Contreras-Sweet recalls soon after that boasting to her grandmother that she had just become the third-grade milk monitor. Her grandmother Emilia said then, “It’s not the titles you have, it’s what you do with the titles you have that really matters. ” This notion seeded her early dedication to public service.
Contreras-Sweet’s trailblazing career has spanned the private sector and government service, from corporate officer to U.S. Cabinet member, serving in President Barack Obama’s administration as the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). At the SBA, she oversaw the world’s largest business counseling network, the federal small-business contracting program, and a $120 billion loan program. During her nomination, President Obama said that when Contreras-Sweet founded her bank, “she helped small businesses get their good ideas off the ground, to expand, to hire, to sell their products and ideas, not only in our domestic markets, but also overseas. ”
When she immigrated to California, Contreras-Sweet spoke no English, but as she learned her new language, she excelled. “Once you learn any language–whether it’s English or the language of business, medicine, or law, you can get in the game and succeed,” Contreras-Sweet said.
Earlier in her career, she served as vice president of public affairs for the 7-Up/RC Bottling Company, where she was a leading corporate negotiator for the creation of the Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, which led to the largest expansion of California’s recycling system.
As California’s Cabinet Secretary of the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2003, Contreras-Sweet managed 44,000 employees, a $14 billion budget, and fourteen departments. She led the creation of the state’s Department of Managed Health Care and its Office of the Patient Advocate. During California’s energy crisis in the early 2000s, she chaired the finance committee of the state’s electric power grid, helping to stabilize the energy market.
In 2006, Contreras-Sweet took on a new challenge, founding ProAmérica Bank, which finances small- and mid-sized businesses, especially those run by Latino entrepreneurs. She left the bank to serve on President Obama’s Cabinet.
Her generous volunteerism includes co-founding The California Endowment, a $3 billion health-related philanthropy; serving as a U.S. Senate appointee to the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, advocating for the advancement of women and minorities in the public and private sector; and founding Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, which seeks political and economic parity for Hispanic women.
In recognition of her international leadership, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress established the Maria Contreras-Sweet Award for Global Impact.
Maria’s grandmother would encourage her to work hard so that someday she could work in an office and be a secretary. “Little did she know that I would hold office and become California’s Cabinet Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing. ”
The year 1990 was a busy one for Castro. He not only founded Todos, a supermarket chain catering to Latino shoppers in the Washington, DC, area, he also became a U.S citizen, 11 years after he first entered the country. He initially fled El Salvador in 1979 and entered illegally but was later deported. The next year, he was back, working a series of odd jobs and eventually bringing over his wife and children.
Todos (Spanish for “everybody”) is a small chain, but it’s a multimillion-dollar business — and a well-respected one. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce named it one of its Fantastic 50 businesses for three consecutive years starting in 2005, and in 2007 it claimed business-of-the-year honors from the Virginia Merchant and Retailers Association. And Castro himself picked up this year’s Charles J. Colgan Visionary Award from the Prince William Chamber of Commerce for his business and civic leadership.
Born in Argentina, Jorge Pérez came to the United States in 1968 after finishing high school. Settling in Miami, he, perhaps more than anyone else, is responsible for the skyline of that city. Pérez has a net worth of $2.8 billion, according to Forbes, and has been called “The condo king of South Florida” by the Wall Street Journal.A chance meeting with New York developer Stephen Ross led to the founding of The Related Group, which started off making affordable housing but today specializes in high-end condominiums. His success in that line of work led to a friendship with President Donald Trump, as well as several joint business ventures.
Zumba, the dance fitness regiment that has been popular for more than a decade, got its start in Colombia in 1986. Perez, an aerobics instructor at the time, forgot the regular music for his class, so he improvised with a tape of Latin music he’d recorded from the radio. Thirteen years later he moved to Miami to grow the business. Today 15 million people at 200,000 locations in 180 countries take Zumba classes, according to the company.The craze has moved beyond workouts to include a clothing line, shoes, food items and even a cruise and video games. In 2012, Raine Group and Insight Venture Partners took a minority stake in Perez’s business, giving it a valuation of $500 million.
Carlos Slim is a Mexican businessman famous for his great fortune. Some years ago, he was listed as the richest man in the world by Forbes magazine. In fact, he continues to occupy the top positions among the richest men in the world.
Slim has, in fact, been a good businessman since his youth. Even as a young man, he invested large amounts of money in business purchases, real estate sales, etc. Over the years, he continued to increase his fortune and create new businesses. For example, in 1980 he created the Carso group, one of the most famous and important conglomerates in all of Latin America.
The Carso group continued to acquire more and more companies in the following years. In 1982, while Mexico was going through a historical crisis, Slim and his group continued to invest large sums of money in the country.
As a result of all this, Slim now owns and invests in multi-million-dollar companies, such as Telmex, América Móvil, Hotel Chain Calinda, French Patisserie El Globo, The New York Times, etc.
Inheriting money is easy, but making it grow is challenging. Iris Fontbona inherited the Luksic Group after her husband’s death, and made it reach new heights of success. Today, she is one of the richest persons in Chile, having control over the largest brewer in the world, the biggest copper mines, the biggest shipping company in Chile, and the 2nd biggest bank of Chile. With an estimated net worth of US $ 11.9 billion, nothing seems to stop her in near future, and her success seems to be the ultimate woman power at its best.
Marcelo Claure is the chief executive officer of Sprint Corporation. He is a also a wireless industry distribution entrepreneur and founder of Brightstar Corp. Since its founding in 1997, Brightstar has grown into an enterprise with $10.5 billion in gross revenue, with local presence in approximately 50 countries, on six continents. On August 5th, 2014, he was selected to replace Dan Hesse as CEO of Sprint Corporation. Claure was born in La Paz, Bolivia, on December 9, 1970. He spent two years living in Guatemala, his family moved to Morocco and then to the Dominican Republic before returning home to La Paz, where he spent much of his childhood. He attended the American Cooperative School in La Paz, graduating in 1989. Later that year, he left La Paz to attend what was then the University of Lowell, in Lowell, Massachusetts. He subsequently transferred to Bentley University, in Waltham, Massachusetts, graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance.
After graduation, Claure returned to La Paz and joined the Bolivian Football (Soccer) Federation as International Marketing Manager. In 1995, he returned to the United States and bought USA Wireless, a cellular retailer. He grew and expanded the company before selling it one year later. In 1996, Claure became President of Small World Communications, a California-based communications and distribution company. He led the company for two years before re-locating to Florida to start Brightstar in 1997.
Brightstar was founded in Miami in 1997, as a distributor and service provider to the wireless industry with a focus on the Latin American market. The company opened offices in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and the Caribbean. In 2000, the company entered distribution agreement with Motorola for all of Latin America. This was followed by the launch of subsidiaries in Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and El Salvador. A US Brightstar subsidiary opened in 2001, based in Chicago, and later expanded into Asia, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Brightstar operates in approximately 50 countries and all six continents around the globe. Forbes Magazine recognized it as one of the largest privately held companies in the US, listing it 55th in 2013. Inc. Magazineidentified Brightstar as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S., placing it sixth in its annual Inc. 500/5000 listing in 2009. It has also been recognized by HispanicBusiness.com as the largest Hispanic-owned business in the U.S. in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.Marcelo Claure became Sprint President and CEO on August 11, 2014 and has served on the Sprint board of directors since January 2014. As President and CEO, Claure’s first priority is to continue the build out of Sprint’s network by leveraging its strong spectrum holdings as well as ensuring that Sprint always maintains truly competitive offers in the marketplace.In 2008, Claure bought BAISA (Bolivar Administración, Inversiones y Servicios Asociados, S.R.L.), the entity that operates Bolivar, a football (soccer) team in Bolivia. He also serves on FIFA’s (Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s) Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility.Together with Nicholas Negroponte, he is a founding member of One Laptop Per Child, an organization focused on empowering the world’s poorest children through education by providing them with a rugged low-cost laptop.
Martha de la Torre is the CEO of El Clasificado, doing business as EC Hispanic Media. Founded originally as a weekly Spanish-language classified publication with her husband, Joe Badame, ElClasificado.com is now the largest Spanish language classified marketplace in the United States and ranks among the top 115 classified marketplaces in the world according to Similarweb.com. With Quinceanera.com, Su Socio De Negocios, EmpleosLatino.com and Al Borde, as well as joint venture startups Pantera Digital and Twyzle, the EC Hispanic Media group provides a marketplace for business to business as well as business to consumer opportunities in the the U.S Hispanic market.
In 2015, El Clasificado was named Minority Small Business Champion of the Year for helping small businesses thrive in Los Angeles while elclasificado.com was recognized as “Best Classified Website” by Editor and Publisher in 2014. The Company has also been an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist for Los Angeles three times.Ms. de la Torre’s entrepreneurial story of hardship to success in building El Clasificado into a $22 million multimedia platform was recently featured on Forbes.com. She was awarded the Marcia Lamb Inner City Innovation Award at the ICIC 2016 Inner City 100 Awards for growing job opportunities in the inner cities. Ms. de la Torre has been recognized by The Los Angeles Business Journal, the SBA, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latina Style, the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for her entrepreneurial success and contributions to business and community enrichment, especially in the Latino communities of California.
Ms. de la Torre is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. She joined Arthur Young & Company in 1978 and became a Certified Public Accountant and audit manager specializing in banks and businesses targeting the U.S. Hispanic market. In 1986, she served two years as Chief Financial Officer of La Opinion, the largest Spanish language daily in the United States.Ms. de la Torre currently serves on the City National Bank Latino Advisory Board and the Loyola Marymount University Latino Alumni Association. She formerly served on the Board of Regents for Loyola Marymount University and was Chair of the International Classified Media Association (ICMA) headquartered in Amsterdam.
Rea Ann Silva is a makeup artist and inventor of the iconic Beautyblender. Silva started selling Beautyblender, an edgeless sponge used to apply foundation, in 2002. In the summer of 2018, Beautyblender’s massive success enabled Silva to launch her own foundation line, Bounce. It comes in 40 shades — a far cry from the seven to 20 shades when she originally started. The Beautyblender sold 9 million the past year and over 50 million since 2009. As a result, he famous product has been used by celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, Heidi Klum, and more. Now, Silva’s company says it’s projected to do $215 million in retail sales this year alone.
In 2012 Longoria was chosen to co-chair President Barack Obama’s re-election. Having a keen interest in immigration and encouraging Latinos in politics, she has spoken out against strict anti-immigration legislation and in 2014 founded the Latino Victory Project to help encourage voting and donations for candidates.
Longoria is also known for her support for the Coalition of Imokalee Workers and has executive-produced the worker-based agricultural documentaries The Harvest and Food Chains.
Rosario Dawson epitomizes the actress as activist. The Afro-Cuban/Puerto Rican daughter of a sixteen-year-old mom, she was born and raised in New York City and burst onto the screen in 1995 in Kids, a shattering drama about wayward teenagers.
Dawson went on to co-star in dozens of other movies, including Men in Black II and Spike Lee’s 25th Hour, Oliver Stone’s epic biopic Alexander, the musical Rent, Kevin Smith’s indie Clerks II, and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse. She currently appears in Netflix’s Daredevil series.
Over the years, Dawson has used her fame to support numerous causes, including the nonprofit Voto Latino, which she co-founded to empower Latinos to be agents of change. She has also been active with Doctors Without Borders and The Nature Conservancy.
Dawson, who turned thirty-seven in early May, is passionate about candidates and causes and has a policy wonk’s command of issues, filtered through a free-form, artistic sensibility. In a recent phone interview with The Progressive, Dawson discussed her childhood, her career, her brush with incarceration, and her support for Bernie Sanders, among other topics.
Kreutzberger was born in Chile in 1940 to German Jewish parents who fled Europe after World War II. His father, Erick, was a Holocaust survivor. In his 20’s, Kreutzberger traveled to New York to become a tailor at the wish of his father, who wanted his son to work at the men’s clothing store he owned in Santiago.However, immediately after arriving in New York, Kreutzberger became mesmerized by American television. It’s hard to imagine it now, but Don Francisco could’ve ended up as a Chilean version of Oscar de La Renta if a certain Johnny Carson had not piqued his interest. He spent two years watching and absorbing everything on American TV and upon his return to Santiago, Kreutzberger sold a game show idea to Chilean TV, a nascent industry at the time.”Sabados Gigantes”, plural, as the show was called, launched in 1962 in Chile’s Channel 13, and 24 years later, Univision brought it to the U.S.His ties to Chile remain tight — he travels there once a month to carry on a mission dear to his heart, the telethon he started 35 years ago inspired by Jerry Lewis’s own. With the funds he has collected through the years, his organization Fundación Teletón has built 11 centers for handicapped children in Chile
Is the son of German-Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany.
• Studied fashion design in New York City to please his father, but fell in love with television while there and changed his career path.
• Goes by the stage name Don Francisco because he was told his real name is too difficult to pronounce.
• Hosted the weekly series Sábado Gigante for the show’s entire 53-year run, taking off just one night when his mother passed away.
• Founded Teletón Chile, a telethon that raises funds for disabled children, and worked with Hispanics United for Hurricane Katrina Relief.
• Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001.
• Wrote Don Francisco Life, Camera, Action!: Autobiography in 2002.
• Made the documentary Witnesses of Silence, which is about his father and other survivors of the Holocaust.
Title: Mexican screenwriter, actor, comedian, film director, television director, playwright, songwriter, and author.
ROBERTO GOMEZ BOLAÑOS
Roberto Gomez Bolaños more commonly known by his pseudonym Chespirito, or “Little Shakespeare” was a Mexican screenwriter, actor, comedian, film director, television director, playwright, songwriter, and author. He is widely regarded as the most important Latin and Spanish-language humorist of all time.
He was internationally known for writing, directing, and starring in the Chespirito (1968), El Chavo (1971), and El Chapulín Colorado (1972) television series. The character of El Chavo is one of the most iconic in the history of Latin American television, and El Chavo continues to be immensely popular, with daily worldwide viewership averaging 91 million viewers per episode.
On 28 November 2014, Chespirito died from heart failure as a complication of Parkinson’s disease at the age of 85, in Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
– IMDb Mini Biography By: Pedro Borges
Selena was born on April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas. Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, was a former musician. He managed and produced his family’s group, Selena Y Los Dinos.
Selena grew up speaking English, but her father taught her to sing in Spanish so she could resonate with the Latino community. She learned the lyrics phonetically at first, and eventually learned to speak Spanish fluently. She began performing as a child.
Around the age of 10, Selena became the lead singer in her family’s band. The musical group started out playing weddings and clubs in their native Texas. The band featured her brother Abraham on bass guitar and her sister Suzette on the drums.
Selena was considered the “Queen of Tejano,” a type of Mexican music that incorporated other styles, such as country and western. She was also sometimes referred to as the “Mexican Madonna” for her sexy outfits and dance moves.
Title: Actress, Producer, Director
Selena was born on April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas. Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, was a former musician. He managed and produced his family’s group, Selena Y Los Dinos.
Selena grew up speaking English, but her father taught her to sing in Spanish so she could resonate with the Latino community. She learned the lyrics phonetically at first, and eventually learned to speak Spanish fluently. She began performing as a child.
Around the age of 10, Selena became the lead singer in her family’s band. The musical group started out playing weddings and clubs in their native Texas. The band featured her brother Abraham on bass guitar and her sister Suzette on the drums.
Selena was considered the “Queen of Tejano,” a type of Mexican music that incorporated other styles, such as country and western. She was also sometimes referred to as the “Mexican Madonna” for her sexy outfits and dance moves.
Title: Actor & composer
Facebook: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda is an award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor. He is the creator and original star of Broadway’s Tony- winning musicals, Hamilton and In the Heights. Hamilton – with book, music and lyrics by Mr. Miranda, in addition to him originating the title role – was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and earned a record-breaking 16 Tony Nominations, winning 11 Tony Awards including two personally for Mr. Miranda for Book and Score of a Musical. The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton won the 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Both Mr. Miranda and Hamilton won the 2016 Drama League Awards for Distinguished Performance and Outstanding Production of a Musical, respectively. Miranda, Thomas Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler and Alex Lacamoire were awarded a 2018 Kennedy Center Honors for their collaborative achievement in Hamilton and its continued artist impact.
For its sold-out Off-Broadway run at The Public Theater, Hamilton received a record-breaking 10 Lortel Awards, 3 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 8 Drama Desk Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical, and an OBIE for Best New American Play. Material from the show was previewed at the White House during its first-ever Evening of Poetry & Spoken Word in 2009, Lincoln Center Theater’s 2012 American Songbook Series and New York Stage and Film’s 2013 Powerhouse Theatre Season at Vassar College. The Chicago production of Hamilton opened in October 2016, with a 1st National Tour and London production both opening in 2017. A second national tour launched in 2018, with a third national tour premiering in 2019. The London production of Hamilton went on to win 7 Olivier Awards in 2018, including Best New Musical and Outstanding Achievement in Music for Mr. Miranda and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire. The Hamilton Mixtape, a concept album inspired by the show’s score was released on Dec. 2, 2016. Miranda received a 2017 MTV VMA Award in the “Best Fight Against The System” category for the video “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” off of The Hamilton Mixtape.
Mr. Miranda’s In the Heights (originally conceived by Miranda, with book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, and direction by Thomas Kail), received four 2008 Tony Awards with Miranda receiving a Tony Award for Best Score, as well as a nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. In the Heights also took home a 2009 Grammy Award for its Original Broadway Cast Album and was recognized as a Finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. In 2016, Miranda won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music for the Original London production of In the Heights. Off- Broadway, In the Heights received a Drama Desk award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance, the Lucille Lortel Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and Mr. Miranda received an Obie Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. The film adaptation of In The Heights, with songs by Miranda and screenplay by Quiara Alegría Hudes, will be released by Warner Brothers in 2020.
Mr. Miranda is the co-composer (with Tom Kitt), and co-lyricist (with Amanda Green) of Broadway’s Bring it On: The Musical (2013 Tony Nom., Best Musical, 2013 Drama Desk Nom., Best Lyrics). He contributed new songs to the revival of Stephen Schwartz’ Working and Spanish translations for the 2009 Broadway Revival of West Side Story. In 2014, Mr. Miranda received an Emmy Award with Tom Kitt for their song, “Bigger” from the 67th Annual Tony Awards. He collaborated with J.J. Abrams on the song, “Dobra Doompa” for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Mr. Miranda contributed music, lyrics and vocals to several songs in Disney’s feature film Moana which earned him 2017 Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and a 2018 Grammy Award for the original song, “How Far I’ll Go.”
After getting his start dancing on the youth-oriented variety show Kids Incorporated, Mario Lopez became a teen idol as a girl-crazy jock on the Saturday-morning series Saved by the Bell. Recognizing a good thing, he also appeared in all the Saved by the Bell spin-offs (two TV-movies and two series). In the late 1990s, Lopez struggled with a succession of low-rent gigs, including a role on the Baywatch-like Pacific Blue. He then reinvented himself in the 2000s as an affable emcee, hosting series such as Pet Star and the male talk-show answer to The View, The Other Half, as well as specials like Miss Teen USA, which introduced him to beauty queen Ali Landry. Although they married in 2004, the union was annulled a few weeks later. Despite the personal setback, he kept plugging away at his career, and in 2006, the dimpled hunk enjoyed a huge boost in popularity when he was named runner-up in the third edition of the reality competition Dancing With the Stars. A few months later, Lopez joined entertainment mag Extra as a correspondent and weekend cohost, but he was quickly promoted to sole host of the weekday episodes in 2008. When he’s not on screen, Lopez devotes much of his time to fitness and has released books sharing his fitness and nutrition tips
• At age 10, began acting with a regular role on the series Kids Incorporated.
• Wrestled in high school, just like his Saved by the Bell character A.C. Slater.
• Won three Young Artist Awards, one for Saved by the Bell and two more as host of Name Your Adventure.
• Coproduced and starred in the independent film Outta Time (2002), in which he portrayed a college soccer player who takes a job as a courier and unwittingly becomes involved in drug smuggling.
• Made his Broadway debut in A Chorus Line in 2008.
• Named People magazine’s Hottest Bachelor in 2008.
• Released the book Mario Lopez’s Knockout Fitness in 2008, children’s story Mud Tacos in 2009 and cookbook Extra Lean in 2010.
Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio (born March 10, 1994), known by his stage name Bad Bunny, is a Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton singer. While working in a supermarket as a bagger and studying at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, Bad Bunny gained popularity on SoundCloud.
Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio was born on March 10, 1994, in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. He has two brothers. Martínez wanted to be a singer since he was five years old. He took courses in audiovisual communication at University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo.
While working at an Econo (a supermarket in Puerto Rico) as a bagger, Bad Bunny also released music as an independent artist. Bad Bunny’s song “Diles”, on SoundCloud, caught the attention of DJ Luian who signed him to his record label, Hear this Music. By DJ Luian signing him, he was able to work with more well-known Latino artists. Since then, he has earned multiple top-ten entries on the US Hot Latin Songs chart. His breakthrough single, “Soy Peor”, established him as a forerunner in the Latin American trap scene and reached number 22 on the Hot Latin Songs chart. “Soy Peor’s” lyrics and mood simultaneously perform loss and sexual desire and have been described as embodying a “politically vital feeling of the here and now.”
In the summer of 2017, Bad Bunny signed a booking deal with Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN) for several Latin American countries. He was featured in Becky G’s single “Mayores”, released in July 2017. Starting in November 2017, Bad Bunny hosted Beats 1’s first Spanish-language show, Trap Kingz. Also in November 2017, Bad Bunny’s track, “Tu No Metes Cabra” peaked at number 38 on the Hot Latin Songs chart. The re-mix also demanded the release from prison of Anuel AA. At around the same time, the song “Sensualidad,” released as a collaboration between Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Prince Royce, peaked at number 8 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, while the remix of “Te Boté” with Ozuna and Nicky Jam reached number one on that chart. In 2018, Cardi B collaborated with Bad Bunny and J Balvin on the Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, “I Like It”. In Cardi B’s single, Bad Bunny raps in Spanish, Spanglish, and English. The song’s music video was filmed in March 2018 in Miami. It became Bad Bunny’s first and only number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100.
On July 21, 2018, Bad Bunny had a five-minute performance at the Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium as part of the set presented by DJ Alesso, who invited him to perform. He sang his lyrics to the Cardi B song “I Like It”.
On October 11, 2018, Bad Bunny released “Mia”, a collaboration with Drake, first teased in January. The pair released the video in tandem. It reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100.
Bad Bunny released his debut album X 100pre on Christmas Eve 2018.
Bad Bunny is primarily a Latin trap performer. As described by a Rolling Stone article, Bad Bunny sings and raps with a “conversational tone”, employing “a low, slurry tone, viscous melodies and a rapper’s cadence.” In an interview with Billboard, Bad Bunny stated that his biggest music inspirations growing up were Héctor Lavoe, Vico C, Daddy Yankee and Marc Anthony.
Title: Actress, Singer,fashion designer, and businesswoman
Facebook: Jennifer Lopez
JENNIFER LYNN LOPEZ
Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born on July 24, 1969 in the The Bronx, New York City. Her parents, Lupe López & David López were born in Ponce, Puerto Rico: the second largest Puerto Rican city. The two were brought to the continental United States during their childhoods and, eventually, met while living in New York City. Jennifer is the middle of three musically-inclined sisters, Leslie Scholl, a homemaker, and Lynda Lopez, who is a DJ on New York’s WKTU, a VH1 VJ, and a morning news show correspondent on New York’s Channel 11.
Jennifer always dreamed of being a multi-tasking superstar. As a child, she enjoyed a variety of musical genres, mainly Afro-Caribbean rhythms like salsa, merengue and bachata, and mainstream music like pop, hip-hop and R&B. Although she loved music, the film industry also intrigued her. Her biggest influence was the Rita Moreno musical, West Side Story (1961). At age five, Jennifer began taking singing and dancing lessons. Aside from being a budding entertainer, Jennifer was also a Catholic schoolgirl, attending eight years at an all-girls catholic high school named “Holy Family,” located in the Bronx, before graduating from Preston High School after a four-year stay. At school, Jennifer was an amazing athlete and participated in track and field and tennis. At age eighteen, Lopez moved out of her parent’s home. During this time, Lopez worked at a law firm while she took dancing jobs at night.
After high school, she briefly worked in a law office. During this time, she continued dance classes at night. At eighteen, she left home because her mother was scared by her decision to pursue show business. Her big break came when she was offered a job as a fly girl on Fox’s hit comedy In Living Color (1990). After a two-year stay at In Living Color(1990) where actress Rosie Perez served as choreographer, Lopez then went on to dance for famed singer-actress Janet Jackson. Her first major film was Gregory Nava’s My Family(1995), and her career went into over-drive when she portrayed slain Tejana singer Selena Quintanilla Perez in Selena (1997).
Shakira, who had a Lebanese father and a native Colombian mother, started belly dancing at an early age and by age 10 had begun writing songs and taking part in talent competitions. A local theatre producer helped her land an audition with a Sony Corp. executive in 1990, and Shakira was subsequently signed to a record deal. Her first two albums, Magia (1991) and Peligro (1993), were only moderately successful, however. After taking a break from recording to act in the Latin soap opera El oasis, Shakira resumed her music career in impressive fashion with Pies descalzos (1995). The album produced several hits, including “Estoy aquí,” “Pienso en ti,” and “Un poco de amor.”
In 1998 Shakira released ¿Dónde están los ladrones?, which included several memorable singles. She notably won Latin Grammy Awards for best female pop vocal performance (“Ojos así”) and for best rock vocal performance (“Octavo día”). She then focused her efforts on establishing herself in the American market. In 2001 her album MTV Unplugged (2000) won the Grammy Award for best Latin pop album, and she released her first English-language album, Laundry Service, that same year. Although her English-language songwriting skills were questioned by some (Shakira wrote all her own lyrics), Laundry Service sold more than 13 million copies worldwide.
Shakira continued her crossover success in 2005 with the release of the Spanish-language Fijación oral, vol. 1 in June and the English-language Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 in November. Both albums debuted in the top five in the United States, and her single “Hips Don’t Lie” (featuring Wyclef Jean) topped charts around the world in 2006. At that year’s Latin Grammy Awards, she captured song-of-the-year and record-of-the-year awards for the single “La tortura,” and Fijación oral, vol. 1 was named album of the year as well as best female pop vocal album; it also won a Grammy Award for best Latin rock/alternative album. A live recording, Oral Fixation Tour, followed in 2007. Also that year Shakira performed in Hamburg as part of Live Earth, a worldwide concert series organized to bring attention to climate change and environmental sustainability.
For her next English-language album, She Wolf (2009), Shakira adopted an electro-pop sound. The following year she scored another international hit with “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” a collaboration with a South African band, after it was chosen as the official anthem of the 2010 World Cup. The track later appeared on her breezily eclectic Sale el sol (2010), which earned a Latin Grammy for best female pop vocal album. In 2013–14 Shakira was a coach on the American televised singing competition The Voice. Her later albums included Shakira (2014), which featured a duet with Rihanna, and El Dorado(2017), winner of the Grammy Award for best Latin pop album and the Latin Grammy for best contemporary pop vocal album. In addition, El Doradofeatured the single “La bicicleta,” a duet with Carlos Vives that won Latin Grammys for best record of the year and best song of the year. In 2020 Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performed at the Super Bowl halftime show.
Shakira devoted considerable time and energy to social causes. In 2003 she became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, traveling internationally to raise awareness of the struggles of children in less-developed countries. She also created the Pies Descalzos Foundation, which focused on helping children displaced by violence in Colombia.
For nearly six decades, Celia Cruz’s profoundly soulful voice and colorful presence revolutionized salsa and transformed her into a musical legend. The Cuban singer taught us that ‘life is a carnival’ (in one of her many hits “La Vida Es Un Carnaval”) and its rhythmic course should be danced to. Cruz’s powerful vocals were often featured alongside infectious piano cords and conga beats, and won her countless of accolades including three Grammys, four Latin Grammys, and twenty-three gold albums. The Queen of Salsa may have lost her battle against cancer in 2003, but her strong melodies and signature saying, “¡Azúcar!” will never be forgotten.
Maricel Presilla is slightly more bookish than your average culinary professional. She holds a doctorate in medieval Spanish history from New York University and received formal training in cultural anthropology. She combines that academic swagger with her passion for food as a chef and culinary historian specializing in the cuisines of Latin America and Spain.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Presilla has done considerable research on Latin American agriculture, with special emphasis on cacao and vanilla farming, as well as chocolate production. She is the president of Gran Cacao Company, a Latin American food research and marketing company that specializes in the sale of premium cacao beans from Latin America. And she’s also the pen behind 2001’s The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Chocolate with Recipes.As if Presilla needed any more accreditations, the James Beard Foundation recently named her “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” for her South American cooking at Hoboken, New Jersey’s Cucharamama. The Cuban-born Presilla also cooks at nearby Zafra and for the recently opened Ultramarinos, a Latin American store and “cooking atelier,” also in Hoboken. In addition to her first cookbook, a weekly column for the Miami Herald, and articles for Saveur, Food & Wine, Food Arts, and Gourmet, Dr. Presilla has an encyclopedic cookbook, Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, forthcoming from W. W. Norton in October 2012.
Aarón Sánchez is an award-winning chef, TV personality, cookbook author and philanthropist. He is the chef/owner of Mexican restaurant Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, and a judge on FOX’s hit culinary competition series MASTERCHEF. He co-starred on Food Network’s Choppedand Chopped Junior, and is the author of two cookbooks. An active philanthropist, Sánchez launched the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund, an initiative empowering aspiring chefs from the Latin community to follow their dreams and attend culinary school. One of the world’s most distinguished Latin chefs, Aarón is also passionate about preserving his family’s legacy through food and encouraging diversity in the kitchen.Celebrated by both critics and contemporaries, Aarón has won a James Beard award for Television Studio Program (2012) and was the host of the Emmy-nominated Cooking Channel series, Taco Trip. He has starred in multiple Food Network shows including Guilty Pleasures, Best.Ever, Heat Seekers, Chefs vs. City, Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Next Iron Chef. Additionally, Aarón is the host of two Spanish-language shows on Fox Life, 3 Minutos con Aarón, and MOTOCHEFS.
A third-generation cookbook author, Aarón has written three books. His first, “La Comida del Barrio” was published in May 2003 and his second, “Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours” was released in October 2011. His memoir, “Where I Come From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef,” hit the shelves on October 1, 2019. Aarón works with many charitable organizations. In Fall 2016, he launched the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund (ASSF), which provides full scholarships to aspiring chefs from the Latin community to attend the International Culinary Center in NY, offers internship opportunities and chef mentorships.Aarón’s creativity extends beyond the kitchen. He is a partner at Daredevil Tattoo in NYC, a world-famous tattoo shop and museum. He is an avid music lover and enjoys cooking to the sounds of Alabama Shakes, Amos Lee, Lenny Kravitz and The Cure. He has a son, Yuma, and lives in New Orleans, LA.
Since Lorena Garcia has been cooking professionally, she has focused on bringing the flavors of Latin cooking — one of the great cuisines of the world — to a wider audience. Her global, fresh and highly flavorful take on Latin Cuisine offers a modern fusion of classic techniques with Latin ingredients. Her life as a chef, entrepreneur, cookbook author, media personality, cookware designer and restaurateur has been a celebration of the cooking and passion for food that she grew up with in her native Caracas, Venezuela with the international flavors and culinary techniques she amassed as a young chef working in some of the world’s finest restaurants.
As one of the nation’s top celebrity chefs best known for her television roles on Top Chef Masters, America’s Next Great Restaurant, and multiple shows on Telemundo and Univision, Garcia has published two bestselling cookbooks. Though she originally went to school in Venezuela to become a lawyer, she soon realized she had a different calling and enrolled in cooking school in the United States. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University and received an honorary doctorate in the same field. Garcia took her first job as an apprentice at the Ritz Carlton in Paris, and then worked her way through different regions of the world including Italy, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and China, picking up techniques and inspiration along the way.In July 2002, Garcia opened her first restaurant, Food Café, followed by Elements Tierra in Miami’s Design District. In 2011, she moved her restaurant operations into airports (currently at MIA, DFW and ATL), offering millions of travelers Lorena Garcia Tapas y Cocina, a healthier take on traditional Latin cuisine. Lorena also operates the Lorena Garcia Culinary Loft in Miami, which is available for private events, as well as film and television production.
In 2017, Garcia embarked on her most ambitious restaurant project in collaboration with the award- winning international hospitality ground 50 Eggs Inc., landing her on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. CHICA by Lorena Garcia located at The Venetian hotel is a stunning celebration of Latin American cooking and hospitality showcasing flavors, influences and techniques from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, combined and reimagined in Garcia’s distinct global style. With CHICA, she has joinedthe ranks of the world class chefs on Restaurant Row at The Venetian including Thomas Keller and Emeril Lagasse – and now her photo proudly lives between them as the first woman chef on the “Wall of Culinary Titans” outside the property.The expansion of the CHICA brand brought Garcia back home to South Florida when the concept opened its second location in Miami’s historic MiMo district in late-2019. The Miami incarnation of CHICA by Lorena Garcia appeals to both locals and visitors alike, featuring the robust and vibrant flavors of authentic Latin and South American dishes, inventive cocktails and an unparalleled dining experience guaranteed to elevate the local culinary landscape.In addition to her success as a chef and restaurateur, she has also been featured on the CNN special documentary “Latinos in America” and as a guest on such talk programs as The Talk, The Chew, Today and Good Morning America.
Her recipes have been featured in publications such as People Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Saveur, and she has been profiled in business magazines for her significant role as a strong female Latina chef and business-owner including Kiplinger’s and Entrepreneur.When she is not growing her personal brand or expanding her culinary footprint, Garcia always finds time to give back, particularly with her own non-profit organization aimed at combatting childhood obesity, “Big Chef, Little Chef.” The comprehensive program helps children and their families take control of their eating habits and, ultimately, their lives.
Passionate about food and entertaining, Ingrid Hoffmann spends each day sharing her enthusiasm and talent with an international audience. Ingrid launched Simply Delicioso on Food Network last July and also hosts her own Spanish-language cooking and lifestyle show, Delicioso, on Galavision/Univision. Aside from the two shows, Ingrid pulled together a compilation of her recipes and entertaining ideas, which are showcased in her first cookbook, SIMPLY DELICIOSO: A Collection of Everyday Recipes with a Latin Twist (February 2008, Clarkson Potter/Random House).
Ingrid’s fascination with food, cooking and style began as a little girl. She started cooking with her mother, a Cordon Bleu chef, at such a young age that she needed a stool to reach the stove. With her mother she discovered not only a love of cooking, but found a flair for entertaining, and in no time developed her own distinctive style.
Raised in Colombia, Ingrid moved to Miami where she opened La Capricieuse, a high fashion luxury boutique in Miami’s Coconut Grove. Soon after, the store grew into a chain of four boutiques with a flagship on the island of Aruba, as well as a men’s shop in Miami.
Her infatuation with food was so strong that Ingrid returned to her passion, and opened Rocca, the first restaurant to feature tabletop cooking on heated lava rocks. Within weeks, Rocca was touted as the hot destination for Miami’s movers and shakers – it was even featured on Robin Leach’s Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. Ingrid also became one of Miami’s premier live event planners with a client list that included M&M Mars, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Thomas Maier and Escada.
While both businesses thrived, she had the opportunity to host a cooking segment on a local Miami-area TV show. Executives at Univision were so impressed that they offered her a bi-weekly cooking and style segment on Despierta America, the most popular morning show in the US Hispanic market, and the number two morning show in the US (after The Today Show).
Ingrid launched her own show, Delicioso with Ingrid Hoffmann, on Latin America’s Cosmopolitan Network in 2004 and soon premiered on DirecTV in September 2005, which propelled her popularity to new heights. In November 2006, the show premiered in its second season on a new network – Galavision, the highest rated among the Hispanic stations. Each episode centers around a theme that Ingrid uses to connect segments on menu planning, shopping, cooking and decorating. The show’s light-hearted, interactive style draws in viewers for both Ingrid’s talents as well as her vibrant personality.
After Ingrid’s March 2006 appearance on The Martha Stewart Show – her first national segment in the English market – the Food Network called soon after. Simply Delicioso tapes in Miami, which serves as its backdrop.
Paving the way for her on-air experience, Ingrid served as a regular decorating and cooking contributor to BuenHogar, the Spanish version of Good Housekeeping, and published a bi-monthly syndicated column in the Rumbo chain of Spanish daily newspapers.
since opening his first restaurant, Amada, in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has emerged as an enormous talent and one of the nation’s most gifted chefs and restaurateurs. His eponymous Garces Group operates restaurants in Philadelphia, Pa.; Chicago, Ill.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Palm Springs, Calif.; and Atlantic City, N.J. In addition to his duties as chef-owner, Chef Garces is the author of a stunning cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, September 2008), with a second, The Latin Road Home, to be published by Lake Isle in fall 2012. He is a 2009 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” award and one of only eight chefs in the country to hold the prestigious title of Iron Chef. He regularly appears on the Food Network hit Iron Chef America, a role he earned after besting nine other competitors on The Next Iron Chef. In addition, Chef Garces is the owner of 40-acre Luna Farm in Bucks County, Pa., where he and his team grow much of the produce for his Philadelphia restaurants. He is also the proprietor of one of the nation’s best-loved food trucks, Guapos Tacos, which is available for private events and can often be found on the streets of his adopted hometown of Philadelphia.
“Since opening Amada, my life and career have taken off in directions I could never have anticipated, and it has been an amazing ride,” says Chef Garces. “Each new opportunity has brought a fresh set of challenges, and it has been exhilarating to overcome them and continue to evolve and grow — as a chef, as a hospitality professional and as a person.”
Chef Garces’ Philadelphia ventures are each counted among the city’s best bars and restaurants: Amada, an authentic Andalusian tapas bar; Tinto, a wine bar and restaurant inspired by the Basque region of Northern Spain and Southern France; Distrito, a spirited celebration of the vibrant culture and cuisine of Mexico City; Chifa, a Latin-Asian restaurant named after the Peruvian eateries of the same name; Village Whiskey, a classic American bar with more than 80 whiskies and world-class bar snacks; Garces Trading Company, a European-style cafe and gourmet market; and JG Domestic, an ingredient-focused restaurant serving artisanal American food and drink. Also based in Philadelphia are: Guapos Tacos, his mobile truck serving modern Mexican street food; and Garces Catering, a full-service event planning division that designs and executes gatherings ranging from casual business luncheons to dramatic black-tie weddings and everything in between.
Chef Garces is also the executive chef at Chicago’s much-praised Catalan restaurant Mercat a la Planxa, where he works in collaboration with Sage Restaurant Group. Both Distrito and Mercat were named to Esquire magazine’s list of “20 Best New Restaurants, 2008.”
In the past 12 months, Chef Garces has expanded into a variety of new markets. Most recently, he partnered with Revel, a new beachfront resort in Atlantic City, N.J., to open: Amada, Village Whiskey and Distrito Cantina, a festive margarita bar with a selection of 100 tequilas and Mexican street food from the adjoining Guapos Tacos food truck. Earlier, Chef Garces brought his hospitality and cuisine to the Southwest, opening restaurants in cooperation with Joie de Vivre and The Sydell Group at their new Saguaro hotels in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Palm Springs, Calif. At the Saguaro Scottsdale, Chef Garces operates Distrito; Old Town Whiskey, a bar evocative of frontier drink parlors of old, serving a collection of domestic spirits and artfully crafted cocktails alongside classic American dishes; and Garces Trading Coffee Kiosk, a takeout counter serving his custom-roasted GTC coffees and house-baked goods. At the Saguaro Palm Springs, Chef Garces oversees room service and poolside eats and manages two restaurants: El Jefe, a modern Mexican restaurant and margarita bar with a look and feel inspired by the Wild West, and Tinto.
This year, Garces Catering will partner with the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia (Broad and Spruce Streets, www.kimmelcenter.org). Chef Garces will create and execute menus for all special events and concessions for the Kimmel Center, Academy of Music and Merriam Theater, and will also open a full-service restaurant inside the Kimmel Center.
Always on the lookout for a new way to bring his food to his guests, Chef Garces authored his first cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, Fall 2008). The strikingly photographed tome focuses on modern recipes through which Chef Garces provides authoritative, much-needed context for the now-ubiquitous flavors and cooking styles of Spain, Mexico and much of South America, exploring the history of these cuisines even as he shapes their future. His second cookbook, The Latin Road Home, will take readers on a tour of a variety of Latin cultures through food, and will be published in October 2012, also by Lake Isle.
An American chef born to Ecuadorian parents and raised in Chicago, Chef Garces began his culinary training in the kitchen of his paternal grandmother. In developing his personal cooking style, something he says is an ongoing pursuit, Jose spent years perfecting different cuisines in top-rated professional kitchens, graduating from Chicago’s Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and going on to work in New York City before moving on to Philadelphia, where he has built an impressive stable of restaurants and resides today with his wife and two children. Known for his wide smile and educational approach to food, Chef Garces has been featured on top TV shows and in prestigious publications including the Today show; Nightline; The New York Times; Travel & Leisure; Bon Appetit; Food & Wine; and The Wall Street Journal.
Growing up around expert and traditional cooks in Tijuana, Mexico, Marcela was raised to be passionate about food, and she jumped straight into a culinary life with her first job working at her aunt’s cooking school in Baja, Mexico. Marcela realized she, too, wanted to pursue this growing love for food full time and enrolled in the Los Angeles Culinary Institute. She then went to the Ritz Escoffier Cooking School in Paris to become trained as a classical French pastry chef. Marcela later returned home to run a catering company and teach children about the culinary arts in Tijuana, all while collecting recipes and applying her knowledge and skills of her family’s cooking traditions to map out her dreams. She successfully translated her culinary knowledge and passion to the small screen as the host of her own Food Network series, Mexican Made Easy, which premiered in 2010. Wanting to share her expertise on great Mexican food that combines freshness and flavor with kitchen ease, Marcela published Fresh Mexico: 100 Simple Recipes for True Mexican Flavor” (Clarkson Potter) in 2009, Mexican Made Easy (Clarkson Potter) in 2011 and Casa Marcela: Recipes and Food Stories of My Life in the Californias (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) in 2017. Marcela lives in San Diego with her family.Marcela is a judge on Best Baker in America.
Angelo Sosa was born in Durham, Connecticut to a Dominican father and an Italian mother who believed meals were serious affairs. Sosa’s home life and love of cooking influenced him to pursue a career in the culinary industry. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and graduated with high honors in 1997, after running the kitchen at the Escoffier Room, one of the institute’s highly acclaimed restaurants.His next job paired him with Christian Bertrand, formerly of Lutèce, at the Four-Diamond, Stonehenge Restaurant & Inn. He then served as Bertrand’s Sous Chef when he opened Acqua in 1998. In 1999, Sosa was referred by Bertrand to work with his future mentor, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.After two and a half years with Vongerichten, Sosa left to take an Executive Sous Chef position at TanDa. A year later, Sosa returned to Vongerichten to work at Dune Restaurant at One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas. Next, he traveled back to New York to serve as Executive Sous Chef at Jean-Georges for another two years. He was then sent to open Jean-Georges’s highly notable and trend-setting Spice Market as Executive Sous Chef. In the spring of 2005, Angelo became the Executive Chef at Yumcha in the West Village, where his interpretation of modern Chinese cuisine gained widespread acclaim.
In late fall of 2005, Angelo turned his attention to consulting, having amassed the experience of opening many restaurants in his career. His consulting work includes Stephen Starr’s Buddakan, Asian-Mediterranean hot-spot LOFT, Morimoto and Alain Ducasse’s Spoon Food & Wine in Paris and Monaco, among others.In 2010, Angelo Sosa was cast as a Season 7 “Chef-testant” on BRAVO’s hit reality show, Top Chef. Sosa finished the season as a runner-up but did not stop striving for success there. Following Top Chef, Sosa was invited to compete on Season 8 of Top Chef All-Stars immediately afterwards.In the summer of 2012, Sosa released his debut cookbook, “Flavor Exposed: 100 Global Recipes from Sweet to Salty, Earthy to Spicy,” which showcased his obsession with combing flavors and cultures in the kitchen.
In 2012, Sosa opened Añejo in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, serving unique tequilas and original takes on traditional Mexican tastes. With the success of Añejo, including a “Michelin Recommended” accolade, Sosa opened a second downtown location. Añejo Tribeca opened in August 2014, and in May 2015, Añejo Tribeca welcomed Abajo, a Mexican cantina-speakeasy within the restaurant, offering crave-worthy, ingredient-driven cocktails complimented by a small bites menu. Abajo celebrates a fusion of Mexican and NYC street food concepts and flavors, with a beverage program focused around a library of agave-based distillates. With a desire to publish a second cookbook, Sosa collaborated with TV & radio personality, Angie Martinez, and together they co-wrote “Healthy Latin Eating: Our Favorite Family Recipes Remixed.” Based on the sexy, spicy, and satisfying foods they cherish from their Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican backgrounds, Angie and Angelo remixed classic recipes like Ropa Vieja and Arroz con Pollo so everyone can enjoy eating the food they’ve grown up with, but without the guilt. “Healthy Latin Eating” was released in January 2015.Angelo Sosa currently lives in New York City and is working on many projects. He is full of passion and hopes to empower the world through his culinary expertise and creations.
As a native of Mexico City and a graduate with honors from Paris’s top culinary institutions, award-winning Chef Roberto Santibañez’s culinary resume includes stints as restaurateur, culinary consultant, author and teacher in Mexico, Europe and the United States.As with most legendary chefs, his love affair with cooking began as a young boy when his grandmother, a “world traveler,” taught him that food preparation does not always have to be by the (recipe) book. After working in kitchens throughout college, Santibañez went on to strengthen his classical culinary foundation at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.Santibañez then spent two years as the executive chef of the Henbury Estate in Cheshire, England, before returning to Mexico City to cook for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, where he “rediscovered” the complexities of Mexican cuisine. Looking back, Santibañez recalls this period as “the true jumping-off point” for his career. “I was ready to combine all that I had learned with everything I felt in my heart,” explains Santibañez. Over the next several years, he added the title of restaurateur to his résumé, becoming in 1985 the executive chef of El Olivo and later the chef-owner of El Sax, La Circunstancia, and Restobar Salamandra, which all opened to overwhelming critical acclaim and raised the bar for contemporary Mexican cuisine in Mexico City.
The Argentine-American chef from Miami is a master of Latin cooking, and a James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef herself. She has several restaurants in Miami, including Seagrape at the Thompson hotel in Miami Beach. She has also appeared on Iron Chef America and on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode on Miami.
Born in Lima, Peru, ‘the godfather of Peruvian cuisine’ Ricardo Zarate is synonymous with indigenous South American foods. Immaculately executed and fused with his underlying passion, drive and kitchen ingenuity, Zarate’s cuisine has earned him widespread critical acclaim and praise from media and consumers alike.The second youngest of 13 siblings, Zarate grew up in a shoebox-shaped cement house with a tin roof, typical to Lima in the 1970s and ‘80s. From a large family, Zarate frequently helped in the family kitchen, learning technique from his mother and grandmother, whom he credits as his biggest influences.By age 17, Zarate yearned to be in the kitchen full time, enrolling in his hometown culinary school, Instituto de las Américas, and going on to form what would become the foundations of his Peruvian influence.Upon graduating, Zarate headed to London to practice his craft in a new culture, working for 12 years at notable restaurants including One Aldwych and Zuma. It was here that his passion for new foods and ingredients grew. Zarate began to draw inspiration from Japanese, Chinese and European flavors, still prominent in his cooking today.
In 2009 Zarate headed to Los Angeles, opening Mo-chica, Downtown at Mercado la Paloma. Housed in a cultural center designed to showcase local creativity to the broader community, the restaurant was soon followed by pop-up restaurant, Test Kitchen, where Zarate offered consumers a new dining experience weekly from a rotating roster of high profile guest chefs.With Zarate’s cuisine beginning to shape a large following, in 2011 Zarate introduced the modern Peruvian cantina, Picca. A critical success, it was recognized as one of the GQ ‘best new restaurants’ and a Conde Nast Traveler ‘Hot Table’, all within one year of opening. It was also in this year that Zarate was named the prestigious honor of Food & Wine ‘Best New Chef’.
In April 2013, Zarate opened Paiche, a Japanese izakaya-style Peruvian seafood restaurant located in Marina Del Rey, consequently named one of Esquire’s ‘Best New Restaurants’. In the same year, Zarate also expanded to Santa
Barbara, opening Blue Tavern, a quintessential Californian fare driven restaurant, seen through the eyes of a native Peruvian leader.
In 2014, Zarate sought a new project, splitting from his partners at all restaurants, and pursuing authorship of his first cookbook ‘The Fire of Peru’. In the summer of 2015, in the lead up to the book’s launch, Zarate opened the pop-up Once, based at Santino’s in Santa Monica. Soon after, ‘The Fire of Peru’ debuted in October, aiming to guide consumers to try the food of Zarate’s country. With a wealth of flavors and dishes to explore, Zarate accredits the book to the ‘Peruvian home cooks’, including his mother, ‘who we should all be thankful for’.In summer 2017, Zarate opened Rosaliné on the iconic corner of Melrose and La Cienega in West Hollywood, quickly rising through the ranks of prestigious L.A.-based restaurants. Topping numerous “best of” lists, Rosaliné has earned a spot on award-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold’s “101 Best Restaurants” list, Thrillist’s “Best New Restaurants in 2017,” and Eater’s “Most Beautiful Restaurants of 2017,” among others.
In 2018, Zarate reincarnated Once, introducing his signature, elevated Peruvian cuisine to the Las Vegas Strip at The Palazzo in Spring 2018. Describing his newest concept, Zarate says, “Once is the new wave of Peruvian cuisine that combines modern Japanese elements with traditional Peruvian staples that I experienced growing up in Lima. It will remind people about the extensive history, not only of Peru, but of the melting pot of cultures that has evolved Peruvian food over centuries.”
In February 2019, Zarate opened Pikoh in West Los Angeles. Inspired by the culinary melting pot of the city, the all-day neighborhood restaurant infuses homestyle American cuisine with Latin, Asian and other international flavors that are “local” to Los Angeles. Zarate’s menu is as eclectic as the city’s culinary footprint and a culmination of his years of collaboration across high-profile kitchens including Mo-Chica, Picca and Rosaliné.
He is the author of thirteen books and bestsellers: “Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era”, “Take a Stand; Lessons from Rebels”, “Behind the Mask”, “What I Saw”, “The Other Face of America”, “Hunting the Lion”, his autobiography “No Borders: a Journalist’s Search for Home”, “The Latino Wave”, “Dying to Cross”, “The Gift of Time; Letters from a Father”, “A Country for All; An Immigrant Manifesto”, “Los Presidenciables” (only in Spanish) and the children’s book “I’m Just Like My Dad/I’m Just Like My Mom”.
Ramos has been instrumental in promoting literacy among Latinos. In 2002 he created the first book club in the history of Hispanic television: Despierta Leyendo (Wake Up Reading).
He writes a weekly column for more than 40 newspapers in the United States and Latin America distributed by The New York Times Syndicate and collaborates with the largest Spanish-language website in the United States (www.univision.com) and with Fusion.net
He is frequently tapped to comment on issues related to Hispanic Americans and has been featured inNBC’s Today Show, CBS’ Early Show, ABC’s “Nightline”, CNN, Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor”, PBS’“Charlie Rose”, HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”, Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” and Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” among many others.
Ramos is one of the most respected journalists among the 55 million Hispanics in the United States and in the 13 Latin American countries where his newscast is seen every night. He has covered five wars (El Salvador, the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq) and has been a witness to some of the most important news stories of the last three decades, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, 9/11 and the catastrophe of hurricane Katrina.
He has interviewed some of the most influential leaders in the world: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Harry Reid, Newt Gingrich, John McCain, John Edwards, Al Gore, George Bush Sr., John Kerry, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Felipe Calderon and dozens of Latin American presidents.
Jorge Ramos is an immigrant. He came to the United States as a student in 1983. On November 1986, at age 28, he became one of the youngest national news anchors in the history of American television. Since then, he has been called “the voice of the voiceless” for other immigrants like him.
Ramos holds a Bachelor’s degree in communication from the Ibero-American University in México City and has a Master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Miami. The University of Richmond gave him an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in 2007.
He is a father of two, plays soccer every Saturday morning and is considered one of the most eloquent, credible and powerful voices of Hispanic America.
He was born in Mexico City on March 16, 1958.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a third-generation Bronxite, educator, and organizer serving the 14th district of New York in the Bronx and Queens. Ocasio-Cortez grew up experiencing the reality of New York’s rising income inequality, inspiring her to organize her community and run for office on a progressive platform with a campaign that rejects corporate PAC funds.
Throughout her childhood, Representative Ocasio-Cortez split her time between the Bronx and Yorktown. While visiting her extended family in the Bronx, she saw a stark contrast in opportunities based on their respective zip codes.
After high school, Alexandria attended Boston University and graduated with degrees in Economics and International Relations. During this period she also had the opportunity to work in the office of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Her role in Senator Kennedy’s office provided a firsthand view of the heartbreak families endured after being separated by ICE. These experiences led the Congresswoman to organize Latinx youth in the Bronx and across the United States, eventually, she began work as an Educational Director with the National Hispanic Institute, a role in which she helped Americans, DREAMers and undocumented youth in community leadership and college readiness.
Following the financial crisis of 2008, tragedy struck when her father, Sergio Ocasio-Roman, passed away, forcing her family to sell their Westchester home. Alexandria pulled extra shifts to work as a waitress and bartender to support her family during this time, deepening her commitment to issues impacting working-class people.
During the 2016 presidential election, she worked as a volunteer organizer for Bernie Sanders in the South Bronx, expanding her skills in electoral organizing and activism that has taken her across the country and to Standing Rock, South Dakota to stand with indigenous communities, then back to New York’s 14th Congressional District to launch her people-funded, grassroots campaign for Congress.
Since her swearing-in to Congress in January of 2019, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has remained committed to serving working-class people over corporate interests and advocating for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice.
Senator Julia Salazar represents New York’s 18th State Senate District, including the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, as well as parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville and East New York. Upon her election in 2018, she became the youngest woman elected in the history of the New York State Senate.
Senator Salazar is a strong supporter of tenant rights, criminal justice reform, equal protection for women and immigration justice. In 2019, Senator Salazar introduced the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act mandating insurance companies’ cover all FDA approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products for women. Responding to concerns raised by constituents about services provided to victims of domestic violence in the health care system, Senator Salazar introduced bills mandating training for hospital staff regarding domestic violence and guaranteeing victims free and safe transportation home from the hospital. She Co-chaired the 2019 NYS Joint Legislative Hearings on Sexual Harassment that led to the enactment of much needed changes to the NYS Human Rights Law.
Senator Salazar is a recognized leader in the fight for tenants’ rights and against the power of the New York City real estate lobby. She played a key role in assuring the enactment in 2019 of the strongest legislative protections for tenants in NYS history. This legislation eliminated loopholes making it close to impossible for most working people to afford decent quality housing. Another bill introduced by Senator Salazar, and signed by the Governor provides permanent protections for loft tenants in New York City ending years of uncertainty for thousands previously unprotected by NYS law.
Senator Salazar is committed to ending the harm caused by mass incarceration. In pursuit of this goal, Senator Salazar strongly supported the reforms of pretrial discovery and bail enacted in 2019 and has introduced legislation to decriminalize sex work and to provide judges with greater sentencing discretion.
Senator Salazar cosponsored the historic NYS Dream Act and the “Green Light” bill, granting access to NYS drivers’ licenses regardless of immigration status.
Until her election to the State Senate, Julia Salazar worked as a community organizer in the neighborhoods she represents and across New York City. She began her advocacy during her time as a college student at Columbia University, where she advocated for the rights of fellow tenants and service industry workers. She worked for United Auto Workers Local 2110 to support Barnard College adjunct faculty workers in the campaign for their historic first contract. She served as a community organizer for Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, working within city-and-state-wide coalitions to advance criminal justice reform and police accountability legislation. Senator Salazar is also an active member of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), UAW-NWU Local 1981, and the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Sonia Sotomayor – the fearless federal trial court judge who saved Major League Baseball from a ruinous 1995 strike – entered the record book as the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the High Court. Sotomayor was born in the Bronx on June 25, 1954 to Juan Sotomayor and Celina Baez, both native Puerto Ricans. Her father worked in manual labor and her mother was a nurse. The family took residence in the Bronxdale Houses, one of the most coveted complexes in the city-owned housing projects. Sotomayor’s father passed away when she was nine. Following his death, Celina began working six-day weeks as a nurse to support the family, and Sonia learned to speak English fluently. Celina managed to send her children to private Catholic school. Sotomayor decided to become an attorney at the age of 10 upon watching an episode from the legal drama “Perry Mason.” With this goal in mind, she studied diligently while attending Cardinal Spellman High School. Through self-enforced discipline, Sotomayor graduated valedictorian of her class in 1972.
Her early success earned her a scholarship to study at Princeton University. She joined student groups selectively, but did not hesitate once committed. When serving as co-chairman of the Puerto Rican activist group Accioncion Puertorriquena, she accused the Princeton administration of discriminating against Puerto Ricans in hiring. In support of this work for Puerto Rican rights, she crafted an impressive senior thesis on the life of the famed Puerto Rican Luis Muñoz Marín. In 1976, Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in history, gaining election into Phi Beta Kappa along the way. Before continuing to Yale Law School the next year in pursuit of her J.D., she wed her high school boyfriend, Kevin Noonan (the two would divorce seven years later). At Yale she began to display the thought processes that would shape her legal mind. She published a noteworthy article on Puerto Rico’s right to offshore minerals and was known for always making persuasive arguments. She co-chaired the Latin American and Native American Students Association and worked as an editor for the Yale Law Journal.
The legendary Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau hired 25-year-old Sotomayor to work in his office following her graduation in 1979. As an assistant district attorney, Sotomayor began work in a trial unit that prosecuted everything from petty crimes to homicides. She established herself early as an imposing prosecutor who, despite her young age, would not get pushed around. Sotomayor helped put some of the most heinous criminals behind bars and triumphed in high-profile cases, including the famous Tarzan murder case and a major child pornography bust. In 1984, Sotomayor moved into private practice with the New York City law firm of Pavia & Harcourt, which focused in business and corporate law. She excelled in her work on intellectual property rights and copyright litigation and made partner in 1988.
On the recommendation of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the George H. W. Bush administration nominated Sotomayor to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on November 27, 1991. While sitting on the district court, she faced mostly non-controversial cases. She gained fame as the judge who “saved” Major League Baseball with her strike-ending decision in Silverman v. Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee, Inc. In another widely read decision, her majority opinion in Castle Rock Entertainment, Inc. v. Carol Publishing Group finding a copyright infringement on material from the television show Seinfeld became a standard for applying the fair use doctrine. On another recommendation from Moynihan, President Bill Clinton nominated Sotomayor to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on June 25, 1997. During her next decade on the Second Circuit, Sotomayor would hear more than 3,000 cases and write around 380 majority opinions. Her carefully-worded technical writing did not grab media attention and helped her keep a low profile. However, the lawyers who argued before her knew her well, remembering vividly how she often confronted them sharply from the bench.
Although speculation about the Obama administration appointing Sotomayor began when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it was David Souter’s prompt retirement in early 2009 that opened a slot. Amid expectations that President Obama would nominate a judge with a “common touch” and empathy, Sotomayor was quickly on the short list. He nominated Sotomayor on May 26, 2009 and, in what Democrats called an “easy one,” the Senate confirmed her on August 6, 2009 on a 68-31 vote divided mostly along party lines. Hispanics celebrated her appointment to the Supreme Court as a first, and the working-class of the Bronx hailed the success of one of their own. Sotomayor began her career as a justice enthusiastically, skipping the shy period of settling into the job and beginning to fire questions during oral arguments immediately. The first case she heard was Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, where she dissented from the majority, which held in favor of the rights of corporations in campaign finance. Her disagreement in that case highlighted the liberal views she has voiced throughout her six years and counting on the court. Sotomayor has specifically fought for the protection of affirmative action programs. She wrote a 58 page dissent in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which held that prohibitions to state universities from considering race in admission decisions was constitutional. Sotomayor has also joined the liberal majority on recent landmark cases. She ruled in the majority which upheld the Affordable Care Act twice, and in Obergefell v. Hodges, to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Sotomayor is known on the court for her trust in the judicial process, and her cutthroat attitude toward ill-prepared attorneys. She is also known for her kindness toward jurors and the attorneys who work hard to advocate for their clients. Her fiery attitude and down-to-earth perspectives will serve the court well for years to come.
Title: Former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
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Julián Castro is a Democratic politician who served as the mayor of San Antonio, Texas from 2009-2014, and as President Barack Obama’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary from 2014-2017. In January 2019, Castro announced his presidential bid in the 2020 election, before exiting the race early the following year. Hailing from a politically active Mexican family, Castro has an identical twin brother, Joaquin, who serves in the U.S. House of Representatives for the state of Texas. Castro was born on September 16, 1974, in San Antonio, Texas, one minute before his twin brother, Joaquin. Castro’s mother, Rosie, was a Chicana activist of the 1960s and 1970s who raised her two sons and took them to political meetings. Rosie never married Julián and Joaquin’s father, Jesse Guzman, who had a family of his own.
Castro attended Stanford University in 1996, majoring in political science and communications, and then matriculated to Harvard University, where he received his law degree three years later. After graduating, the twins worked at the same law firm together before establishing their own in 2005.
Joaquin has worked hard to seize the opportunities created by the sacrifices of his grandmother and prior generations. After finishing high school a year early, Joaquin left San Antonio to graduate with honors from Stanford University in 1996. He then went on to attend Harvard Law School where he received his Juris Doctorate degree in 2000. Upon his return to San Antonio at 28 years old, Joaquin joined a private law practice and was elected to the Texas Legislature. He served five terms as state representative for District 125. In 2012, Joaquin was elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives as representative of Texas’ 20th Congressional District, which covers a large portion of San Antonio and Bexar County. Joaquin’s identical twin brother, Julián Castro, was elected in 2013 to his third term as Mayor of San Antonio. On July 28, 2014, Julian Castro was sworn in as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Joaquin’s respect for public service developed at a young age and was deeply influenced by his parents’ involvement in political movements and civic causes. His father, a retired teacher, and his mother, a renowned community activist, instilled in him a deep appreciation for the democratic process and the importance of serving one’s community.
Despite a difficult political environment during his time as state legislator, Joaquin transcended partisan gridlock to help restore millions of dollars in funding to critical health care and education programs. As Vice Chairman of the Higher Education Committee and Democratic Floor Leader in the Texas House, he was also at the forefront in proposing forward-thinking legislative reforms in the areas of mental health, teen pregnancy, and juvenile justice.Now in his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Joaquin serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee. He was the 2013 Co-President for the House freshman Democrats and currently serves as Chair of the Texas Democratic Caucus.
Outside of the legislative chamber, Joaquin has demonstrated a strong commitment to his community. He created the Trailblazers College Tour, personally raising money to send underprivileged students on college visits, giving them exposure to some of the nation’s best institutions of higher education. He also founded SA READS, San Antonio’s largest literacy campaign and book drive. Over 200,000 books have been distributed to more than 150 schools and shelters across the city. To honor and express gratitude to San Antonio grandparents and other family members raising relatives who aren’t their children, Joaquin created the annual Families Helping Families dinner and awards. He has also taught as a visiting professor of law at St. Mary’s University and as an adjunct professor at Trinity University. Joaquin is active on several boards of education-related, non-profit organizations, including the National College Advising Corps, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ (NALEO) Taskforce on Education.
Having experienced America’s promise firsthand, Joaquin wants to help build out what he calls the Infrastructure of Opportunity so that future generations will have the same chance to pursue their American Dream. Joaquin believes that just as there is an infrastructure of transportation that helps us get to where we want to go on the road there is an Infrastructure of Opportunity that helps Americans get to where they want to go in life. It is that Infrastructure of Opportunity – great public schools and universities, a sound healthcare system, and good-paying jobs – that enables Americans to pursue their American Dream. Our centuries-long commitment to building and preserving this infrastructure is what distinguishes America among the nations of the world.As Congressman, Joaquin continues to be a tireless advocate for those who call San Antonio home. From supporting military families to investing in education, Joaquin remains committed to helping mold an Infrastructure of Opportunity for San Antonians and Americans around the country
LUIS MUÑOZ MARÍN was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on February 18, 1898. Just a few months later, the United States captured Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. Marín’s father was a prominent figure in Puerto Rican politics, and from 1910-1916 he served as the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico (non-voting member in Congress). Muñoz Marín was mostly educated in the United States, studying for a short period at the Georgetown University Law Center before dropping out after the death of his father. In 1926, Muñoz Marín returned to Puerto Rico and began editing the newspaper La Democracia. In 1932 he was elected to the Puerto Rican Senate and began advocating for independence from the United States. For this reason, he was expelled from the Liberal Party. Muñoz Marín then founded his own party in 1938 called the Popular Democratic Party, which gained power in 1940 and allowed Muñoz Marín to serve as president of the Senate from 1940 until 1948. During this time, he began advocating for cooperation with the United States rather than independence. In 1948, Congress granted Puerto Rico the right to elect its own governor. Muñoz Marín was overwhelmingly elected to four consecutive terms, from 1949 to 1965. His main achievement was helping to change Puerto Rico’s status from a U.S. territory to a commonwealth. Governor Luis Muñoz Marín passed away in San Juan on April 30, 1980.
Title: Former member of the United States House of Representatives
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On January 24, 2017, Xavier Becerra was sworn in as the 33rd Attorney General of the State of California, and is the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the state.
The State’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Becerra has decades of experience serving the people of California through appointed and elected office, where he has fought for working families, the vitality of the Social Security and Medicare programs and issues to combat poverty among the hardworking families. He has also championed the state’s economy by promoting and addressing issues impacting job generating industries such as health care, clean energy, technology, and entertainment.
Attorney General Becerra previously served 12 terms in Congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. While in Congress, Attorney General Becerra was the first Latino to serve as a member of the powerful Committee on Ways And Means, served as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and was Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security.
Prior to serving in Congress, Attorney General Becerra served one term in the California Legislature as the representative of the 59th Assembly District in Los Angeles County. He is a former Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice. The Attorney General began his legal career in 1984 working in a legal services office representing the mentally ill.
Born in Sacramento, California, Attorney General Becerra is the son of working-class parents and was the first in his family to receive a four-year degree, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School. His mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father. He is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes, and they are the proud parents of three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia and Natalia.
Linda Chavez-Thompson was elected executive vice president of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s 1995 convention and was re-elected to a new four-year term in 2005. She was the first person to hold the post of AFL-CIO executive vice president, and she was the first person of color to be elected to one of the federation’s three highest offices.
A native of Lubbock, Texas, Chavez-Thompson is a second-generation American of Mexican descent. She brought to her work 35 years of experience in the labor movement, beginning in 1967 with her first work for the Laborers’ local union in Lubbock. She went on to serve in a variety of posts with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in San Antonio, Texas, and became an international vice president in 1988, a post she held until 1996. She also served from 1986 to 1996 as a national vice president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, AFL-CIO. In 1993, Chavez-Thompson was elected and served a two-year term as one of 31 vice presidents on the Executive Council of the national AFL-CIO.
As executive vice president of the federation, Chavez-Thompson represented the labor movement as a member of the board for several national organizations, including the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. She also served as a member of the Board of Governors for the United Way of America and as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. In 2001, she was elected president of ORIT, the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers, which is the Western Hemispheric arm of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
Gloria Molina was born on May 31, 1948, in Montebello, California. She attended Montebello public schools, East Los Angeles City College, and California State University, Los Angeles. The oldest of ten children, she played an active part in helping her parents, Leonardo and Concepcíon Molina, raise her siblings.
Molina became a community activist while still a college student and continued that activism as a member of the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional de Los Angeles. She was an early Chicana feminist who helped establish the Chicana Action Service Center, which advocated for the rights of all Chicanas.
After volunteering in several electoral campaigns, she became administrative assistant for Assemblyman Art Torres in 1976. In 1977, she joined President James E. Carter’s administration as a staffing specialist in the Office of Presidential Personnel. After two years in that post she became director of Intergovernmental and Congressional Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services, Region IX office, in San Francisco, California. In 1981, she became the southern California chief deputy to California State Speaker of the Assembly Willie L. Brown, Jr. In that capacity she was the speaker’s liaison with the southern California Latino community.
A lifelong Democrat, Molina was elected to the California State Assembly from the Fifty-sixth Assembly District in 1982, serving until her 1987 election to the Los Angeles City Council. During her tenure Molina, the first Latina member of the state assembly, served on the Committees on Revenue and Taxation, Labor and Employment, Utilities and Commerce, chaired the Subcommittee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and was vice chairwoman of the Committee on Public Employment and Retirement. Her legislation, which focused on the special needs of her constituents, included bills on school dropouts, sexual harassment, state parks, insurance consumer protection, and child safety.
In 1987, Molina was the first Latina ever elected to and only the third person of Mexican ancestry to serve on the Los Angeles City Council. She was elected from a district created by a court-ordered reapportionment. While a city councilwoman, Molina was known as an uncompromising and vocal advocate of citywide issues, as well as issues particular to her own district.
During the course of this interview, Molina was campaigning to win a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in a special election held after a court-ordered reapportionment. In January 1991, she defeated Art Torres in the supervisorial election to represent a large portion of the San Gabriel Valley.
With each office Molina has sought and won, she is widely perceived to have overcome powerful opposition from the established Chicano elected leadership. Moreover, while in office, she has managed to push and pass legislation and successfully represent her constituents without strong support from other elected Chicanos. Molina’s continuing success makes her prominent among Los Angeles-area politicians, and she is considered the front-runner among a handful of political leaders capable of winning the office of mayor of Los Angeles or an office of major statewide significance. This interview covers all stages of her political and public career as well as considerations of her future in politics and government.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is a groundbreaking congresswoman. Not only is she the senior US Representative from Florida, but she is also the first Latina elected to the US Congress, and the first Republican in congress to publicly support the passage of the marriage equality act. She believes that education is “a lifelong journey,” and has emphasized the importance for education throughout her career.
Ileana Carmen Ros was born July 15, 1952 in Havana Cuba, where she spent the first part of her childhood. At age eight, she and her family escaped from Cuba, which was under the control of dictator Fidel Castro. They settled in Miami, Florida. After graduating from Southwest High School, she attended Miami-Dade Community College in 1972 where she earned her Associate of Arts degree. In 1975 she received her Bachelor’s Degree and in 1985 she earned her Master’s Degree, both from Florida International University. earned her PhD in Education from the University of Miami in 2004.
Her education inspired her to become a teacher, and later the principal of Eastern Academy in Hialeah, Florida. During her time as a teacher and principal, Ros-Lehtinen was inspired to seek public office by the parents of her students. She wanted to “fight on their behalf for a stronger educational system, lower taxes, and a brighter economic future.” She was elected as to the Florida State House of Representatives in 1982, and to the Florida Senate in 1986. She is the first Hispanic woman in to serve in either body. During her time in the Florida State House of Representatives and the state Senate, she worked to ensure that over one- million Floridians were able to send their children to college, by introducing the Florida Prepaid College program, which helps students have tuition to attend college. As a Congresswoman, Ros- Lehtinen supported legislation to allow a wider range of students to have access to Federal financial aid. She also advocates for veterans to have access to a college education when they return from tours of duty.
Ros-Lehtinen broke another barrier in 1989 when she became the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress. During her campaign, Democrat Gerald F. Richman used the slogan, “This is an American seat,” which constituents, especially Cuban-Americans viewed as a thinly veiled, racist rallying cry against Cubans. This campaign tactic backfired for Richman, and Ros-Lehtinen won the election. She did not know that she had broken this barrier until her interview with Katie Couric on the Today Show. When Couric asked her how she felt about being the first Hispanic woman in Congress, Ros-Lehtinen replied, “Wow, I guess it feels good!” Since her first election in 1989, Ros-Lehtinen has continued to break barriers.
During her career, she openly opposed dictatorships—especially Fidel Castro’s—because of her personal experience fleeing Cuba. She became so outspoken that Castro referred to her as “la Loba Feroz,” or the “Ferocious She Wolf.” Ros-Lehtinen responded that the name “reaffirms my commitment to expose the regime’s merciless brutality and work toward crippling its power.” Throughout her career, she continued to speak against regimes not only in Cuba, but in Nicaragua and all over the world.
In 2012, she became the first Republican to support marriage equality. In a 2013 interview for Equality Magazine, Ros-Lehtinen explained the importance of accepting family for who they are. She states, “It’s important to listen to your children, accept your children, and have your children know that you love them unconditionally. It’s not ‘I love you, but…’ there’s no ‘but.’ It’s just ‘I love you.’” Ros-Lehtinen puts these words into actions through her support and love for her transgender son, who is an advocate for the LGBT community. Ros-Lehtinen’s actions were a step toward marriage equality in the United States. Marriage equality passed June 26, 2015.
Ros-Lehtinen has also worked on the behalf of women, especially women in the military. During her career, she wrote the legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who had served as pilots in World War II. Prior to 1977, these women were not considered veterans, but still had not gained formal recognition for their service in WWII. Ros-Lehitnen along with other representatives and senators lead Congress to award the brave women of WWII the Congressional Gold Medal.
Along with helping women garner the recognition they deserve, Ros-Lehtinen also works to help women in domestic violence situations. She was the lead sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act, which provides resources to prosecute those who have committed acts of violence toward women.
Ros-Lehtinen is not only a remarkable congresswoman, but she is also a wife, mother, and grandmother. She married her husband Dexter Lehtinen June 9, 1984. They have four children and five grandchildren.
In 2017, Ros-Lehtinen announced that she would not be running for reelection in 2018. After a career lasting over 35 years, Lehtinen stated to the Miami Herald, “It’s been such a delight and a high honor to serve our community for so many years and help constituents every day of the week,” she continued, “We just said ‘It’s time to take a new step.’”
Throughout her career, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has worked to advocate for women, while also breaking through the glass ceiling herself. As the first Hispanic woman in Congress, she has lead the way for other women to run for public office. Throughout her extensive career, she has advocated for women in the military, education for all, and for marriage equality. Her efforts have helped shape the United States.
In 1992, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard became the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress. She has distinguished herself throughout her congressional career as a dedicated advocate for the dignity and well-being of all Americans. The congresswoman is the first Latina to serve as one of the 12 “cardinals,” or chairs, of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as the first Latina to serve on the House Appropriations Committee. She is also the first woman to chair the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; the first woman to chair the California Democratic congressional delegation; and the founder of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform.
Congresswoman Roybal-Allard is an original co-author of The Dream Act, which would allow certain U.S.-raised immigrant youth to earn lawful permanent residence and eventual American citizenship. In 2019, she introduced the newest version of this bill: HR 6, The Dream and Promise Act. Her Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act, which tests newborns for treatable genetic disorders, has helped to save the lives of thousands of babies. Her Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking (STOP) Act has been instrumental in reducing underage drinking and its consequences. From her position on the House Appropriations Committee, she has spearheaded many federal projects that have created jobs and improved the lives of her constituents, including the new federal courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles, the Metro Gold Line Lightrail Eastside Extension, the deepening of the Port of Los Angeles, and the ongoing revitalization of the Los Angeles River.
As chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, the congresswoman continues to fight to ensure our homeland security personnel have the resources and guidance they need to keep our country safe against all threats, manmade and natural, and to treat immigrants humanely and with dignity and respect. She advocates for fair and just bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform which focuses on deporting those who threaten national security, and better secures our borders. She is also fighting for investments in the Coast Guard’s air and marine fleets, including much-needed funding for its first heavy icebreaker in 40 years.
The congresswoman has been at the forefront of the fight to improve the quality and affordability of health services, and has successfully secured funding for local needs including infant and child care, prenatal health, dental care, HIV testing, substance abuse, diabetes treatment, and telehealth services. She has been equally successful in obtaining federal dollars for local education and labor projects, including job training and placement services, arts and vocational education, afterschool care, early education, magnet schools, and English literacy programs. She also ranks highly as a vocal congressional supporter of veterans, the rights of women and children, civil liberties, and animal rights.
In addition to chairing the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard serves in many other positions:
Now in his twelfth term, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez is the senior member of the Illinois delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is an experienced legislator and energetic spokesman on behalf of his constituents in Illinois’ Fourth District in the heart of Chicago, who first elected him to his seat in 1992.
Rep. Gutiérrez is nationally recognized for his tireless leadership championing issues of particular importance to Latino and immigrant communities. He has been at the center of every major legislative debate on immigration reform and immigration issues for more than a dozen years.
He played an instrumental role in advocating for executive action by President Obama to provide deportation relief to certain long-term undocumented immigrants and their families. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects some immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation – and a series of executive actions announced in 2014 are partly the result of Congressman Gutiérrez consistent and persistent advocacy in Washington. But beyond advocating for these initiatives, the Congressman has worked hard in Chicago and around the country to work with immigrants to apply for these deportation protections that keep families together
Married and both a father and grandfather, Rep. Gutiérrez was born and raised in Chicago to parents who had themselves migrated to Chicago from Puerto Rico in the early 1950s. He previously served as an Alderman in the City of Chicago and has been a teacher, a social worker and a cab driver, among other diverse experiences.