ABC7 Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month 2016

9/15/16 - 10/15/16

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hispanic Heritage Month is here and to celebrate we are highlighting Hispanic history, people, and culture here in the Bay Area all month! ABC7 is proud to celebrate the Bay Area's rich cultural diversity, a custom for over 25 years.


We invite you to join us in honoring local residents who have made important contributions to the community. Nominate an inspiring community member for our Hispanic Heritage Month campaign on Instagram. In seven sentences, tell us why they should be featured. Send your email to for consideration or fill out the form below:


Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15 thru 10/15) begins today and to celebrate we are highlighting Hispanic history, people, and culture here in the Bay Area all month! San Leandro-born Katia Gomez is the child of a single mother, and financial assistance played a major role in helping Katia become the first in her family to finish college. After graduating from UC San Diego and a volunteer trip to Honduras, she decided to pay it forward tenfold by starting Educate2Envision, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making high school a reality in the farthest corners of Honduras. She has since helped over 100 low-income students become the first in their communities to go beyond sixth grade. Currently, Katia is spearheading a new initiative to bring economic development to these same communities through Adelante Coffee - creating jobs for students and small producers by bringing their coffee to the US market. She also continues her work with connecting Bay Area high school students with students in Honduras to promote cultural exchange and a greater understanding of the challenges youth face worldwide to access education. Photo courtesy of Katia Gomez.


Jacqueline Martinez Garcel is the CEO of the Latino Community Foundation (LCF) (@latinocommfdn) - the only statewide foundation solely focused on investing in Latino leaders in California. Under her leadership, LCF has already secured over $1 million to expand its work across the state. This includes growing the Latino Giving Circle Network, which currently has over 200 Latino donors committed to investing in Latino-led organizations that are improving the lives of families and youth. According to Jacqueline, "there is no better place than California to lead a movement to democratize philanthropy." Jacqueline is also busy empowering Latinos to be fully engaged in the civic and political life of our state and country. LCF recently launched a statewide campaign to reach 1 million eligible voters and register 10,000 Latinos for the 2016 election. Photo courtesy of LCF. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #Philanthropy #California #LatinoCommunityFoundation #GivingCircle #Latina #LCF #CEO #LatinosVote #YoVoyAVotar

La Luz Center

There is a lot to celebrate at La Luz Center (@LaLuzCenter) in Sonoma right now! They recently celebrated 30 years of providing support to immigrant families in the Sonoma Valley. And the folks at La Luz are thrilled to have just moved into their brand new Community Services Center in early September. As stated by La Luz's Executive Director Juan Hernandez in his speech at the facility's ribbon cutting (pictured here with La Luz Founder Ligia Booker), "This Ribbon Cutting Signifies...La Luz Center's Flight into the FUTURE. Where we will be the catalyst for change in Sonoma Valley, to continue to create a strong, vibrant Sonoma Valley. Viva La Luz! Viva Sonoma Valley! Viva You!" Congratulations to everyone at La Luz on this exciting achievement! Photo courtesy of Sonoma Valley Sun. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #ABC7celebrates #hispanicheritagemonth #LaLuzCenter #LaLuz #Sonoma #SonomaValley #CommunityCare

Latino Futures

Latino Futures is a brand new Bay Area-based think tank that specializes in research and education, with a critical focus on the importance of the country's growing Latino population. Founded by Mara Perez Ph.D., this platform provides a forward-thinking approach to helping businesses, philanthropy and the non-profit sector find lasting success by tapping into and investing in the growing pool of Latino talent in the United States. Some of the earliest data shared by Latino Futures reveals what Mara calls a "Latino prosperity movement," strengthened through local success in technology, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Photo courtesy of Mara Perez. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #Philanthropy #Business #Entrepreneurship #Technology #LatinoFutures #Latina

Los Laureles

Grupo Folklorico Los Laureles of Silicon Valley (@loslaureles_gf), CA was founded in the summer of 2007 by Cesar Gonzalez and Ashley Lopez-Gonzalez. Los Laureles began as a small group of family members coming together to learn traditional Mexican dances. In the winter of 2007 MACLA (Moviemento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana) opened their doors and became 'home' to Los Laureles. And over the past nine years, Los Laureles has expanded to offering 10 classes ranging from ages 4 and up. Pictured here are some of the children dancers performing at Santa Clara University, as part of Los Laureles Juvenil, the group's professional children's dance company. Los Laureles have performed all across the Bay Area and are proud to showcase the Bay Area's talent and love for the Mexican culture. Photos courtesy of AKphotography.

Nuestra Casa

Established in 2002, Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto (@nuestracasa) is a community education organization dedicated to increasing community participation and promoting economic self-sustainability of the Latino immigrant population of East Palo Alto and surrounding communities. Nuestra Casa staff such as Julio García (Programs Director) and Iliana García (Programs Coordinator) have created exciting new programs over the course of the past few years. One of those programs, Red Comunitaria (Community Network) builds upon the strengths of our local immigrant community by engaging, recruiting, and training local women to become Community Promotoras (Community Promotors). The Promotoras provide educational workshops (on a variety of topics) and referral services to families, while also serving as community advocates at the local and county level. On an annual basis, Nuestra Casa's Community Promotoras provide direct services to over 4,000 residents in San Mateo County! Photos courtesy of Nuestra Casa.

LATINO OUTDOORS Melissa Avery is a Latina, a mother, a wife, a blogger, and a lover of the outdoors! In 2012, she started her outdoor family blog, Chasqui Mom, so she could motivate other families, especially her own family and friends in the San Francisco Bay Area, to head outdoors with their children. "Chasqui Mom" was her trail name and a perfect ode to her Peruvian heritage and her love of spending time outdoors with her family. She plans family hikes or biking excursions almost every weekend, as well as biking to school and weekday hikes with her children. She writes, "The outdoors is one of my family's passions because that is where we feel most at home. My children are not confined to walls but are free to be their wild selves in nature. They can run, scream, climb, pedal, swim, draw and sing to their heart is content because that is what life in the outdoors is for my children. The outdoors is where my family fosters a deep loving relationship for each other and to this earth." Melissa has also joined efforts to connect her Latino community with nature and the outdoors, as she serves as a Regional Coordinator in the San Francisco Bay Area for the organization Latino Outdoors. She shares, "I truly enjoy helping my Latino community get into the outdoors and showcasing that Latinos are in the outdoors, like myself!" Photo courtesy of Melissa Avery.

Chef Octavio Diaz Check out Chef Octavio Diaz of Agave Uptown (standing, second from the right) as he poses at the Latino Community Foundation 2016 Gala at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco in April. He and his team provided guests with his authentic Oaxacan dishes. Chef Octavio and the LCF are aligned in their goal of identifying and investing in community-rooted solutions to the most pressing Latino issues in hospitality, education, technology, health and civic engagement. His restaurant also partners directly with the Kapor Center for Social Impact, which owns the downtown Oakland building where the restaurant is located. The partnership aims to mentor diverse communities with hands-on culinary training at the restaurant. Photo courtesy of Octavio Diaz. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #ABC7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #AgaveUptown #ChefOctavio #Oakland #LCF #KaporCenter #OaxacanFood

Juan Ramirez/LLS Chair - Do you know someone who has been impacted by blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma? Do you wish you could do something to help in the fight to find cures for these devastating diseases? The you should join ABC7 and Juan Ramirez at the San Francisco Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (@LLSGreaterBay) Light The Night Walk on November 10th at AT&T Park. Juan is the new Executive Challenge Chair for this year's walk. He is in his 8th year of fundraising for LLS and his company, Marsh Risk & Insurance Services (@MMC_Global), has raised over $460,000 in the past 11 years. This year, Juan's leadership will challenge Bay Area leaders to raise $100,000 for the event on November 10th. As Juan says, "We are living in an extraordinary moment to effect change and make a difference." LLS is on the brink of incredible breakthroughs that have already begun to change the lives of thousands of patients; treatments that can manage a person's condition with a daily pill, therapies that seek out cancer cells and kill them, and the use of a patient's own immune system to eradicate cancer not someday, but today. Support Juan and every person striving to make a difference in our community. Photo courtesy of LLS. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #ABC7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #LLS #LTN #LightTheNight #Leukemia #Lymphoma #CancerSucks

Yazmin Jara Yazmin Jara has been an employee of The Unity Council for over 20 years, having started as a substitute teacher in the Head Start program in 1994! First coming to the Unity Council as a client and volunteer after immigrating from Mexico, she sought assistance in becoming a credentialed teacher, as well as critical social and economic guidance at a time when she spoke very limited English, was living on a very limited income, and was unfamiliar with even basic support like medical insurance for which she was eligible. Yazmin Jara is now the Director of Head Start at the Fruitvale branch, having landed the position in 2005. She now says, "We give families the tools to be successful. My job is to ensure that families and kids receive an education and that they can get services to achieve the maximum benefits from the program." She talks about the successes and the challenges the families face as though these were her own, wishing she could do more, have more programs, help the teens in their transition, and open more spaces to serve more people. There is no doubt that she really means it when she says, "We do it for love of the families, the kids and the community." Keep up the great work, Yazmin! Photo courtesy of Unity Council. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #ABC7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #UnityCouncil #HeadStart #YazminJara #Preschool #Teacher #Fruitvale #ChildrenAreTheFuture

Zulma Maciel/SJ Office of Immigrant Affairs Zulma Maciel became the first director of the new Office of Immigrant Affairs for the city of San Jose in July 2015. She works to build a more welcoming and inclusive San Jose that facilitates and accelerates the integration of immigrants into the fabric of the community. A daughter of immigrants from Mexico, Zulma understands the importance of economic, linguistic, civic, and social integration of people who have chosen to call Silicon Valley home. "Whether here on a H1-B Visa or undocumented, every immigrant should be given the opportunity to reach their potential - it's good for our community's well-being and economic prosperity." The Office of Immigrant Affairs recently developed a "Welcoming San Jose" plan which outlines strategies around equitable access, education, economic opportunities, and safe, healthy and connected communities that will be implemented over the next three years. Zulma adds, "I'm honored to be serving in this capacity; it is a calling, not a career." Brava, Zulma! #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #ZulmaMaciel #WelcomingSJ #CityofSanJose #SanJose

José Hernández, NASA Astronaut If your children attend José Hernández Middle School in San Jose, then you may recognize the astronaut pictured here. Former NASA Astronaut José Hernández was born and raised in Central California. He spent several years of work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (@livermore_lab), where he helped develop a digital mammography imagining system that aids in early detection of breast cancer. Then he moved onto join NASA, and was selected to go into space in 2009. While in orbit, José became the first person to use the Spanish language in space while tweeting! Photo courtesy of NASA (@nasa). #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #JoseHernandez #Astronaut #NASA #STEM #Engineers #LawrenceLivermoreLab #breastcancer #outerspace

Joan Baez Did you know that legendary American folk singer and activist Joan Baez is a long-time Bay Area resident of Woodside? Her recording career began in 1960 and she found instant success. She was one of the earliest artists to perform songs written by the then-unknown Bob Dylan. She even performed at Woodstock! And she is a person who has always used her fame and popularity to bring attention to social protests she believed in - from civil rights, nonviolence, human rights, and the environment. In fact, Amnesty International (@amnesty) created the Amnesty International Joan Baez Award for Outstanding Inspirational Service in the Global Fight for Human Rights in her honor! Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #JoanBaez #Folksinger #BobDylan #WoodsideCA #Woodstock #Americanfolk #AmnestyInternational

General Vallejo Home, Sonoma Have you ever driven through Sonoma and spotted this beautiful historic home (pictured here in both 1934 and in 2012)? Completed in 1852, it is known as the former home of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo - the founder of Sonoma, an early Californian politician, military commander, and rancher. As you may have guessed, the city of Vallejo was named for him. (And it's interesting to note that the city of Benicia was named for his wife, who was born Francisca Benicia Carillo!) General Vallejo was an important figure in California's transition from a territory of Mexico to a U.S. state. The home is now a part of the Sonoma State Historic Park, and included in the National Register of Historic Places. Go check it out and experience some history! Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #Sonoma #Vallejo #Benicia #GeneralVallejo #SonomaStateHistoricPark #HistoricPlaces

Alicia Cruz - Latino Outdoors Are you planning to enjoy the outdoors today? Alicia Cruz of Latino Outdoors will be! Born in Mexico City, she moved to the US twenty-six years ago and now volunteers over 30 hours a month as a coordinator for Latino Outdoors in Marin County. She joined Latino Outdoors in 2014 to support Latino engagement and recreation in public lands, by sharing her own passion and connection to nature. Since then she has led monthly Wellness Walks all over Marin County, San Francisco and the East Bay. She has introduced dozens of families to their first outdoor recreation experiences in National Parks, California State Parks and the surrounding areas. And Alicia has coordinated several family camping events this year including an annual family campout that is successfully now in its third year. Alicia also currently holds a full-time job at the Marin County Health and Wellness Center as an administrative assistant. Please join us in celebrating her spirit of community service during Hispanic Heritage Month! Photo courtesy of Alicia Cruz. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #AliciaCruz #LatinoOutdoors #Marin #FamilyCamping #findyourpark #encuentratuparque #NPS100

Kapor Center - SMASH Student SMASH Academy is the signature program of the Level Playing Field Institute (@levelplayingfield), which strives to close the gap of access and opportunity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for youth of color and low-income. The program does this not only through a rigorous STEM curriculum, but also through professional development and personal support throughout their high school years. SMASH scholars are known for their resilience and the long distances they've traveled to achieve. SMASH alumna Ingrid Verastegui graduated with her Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering and Master's Degree in Engineering Science, and soon after began working as a Design Engineer. She told us, "SMASH helped me develop a stronger self-confidence in my potential as a Latina and woman in the STEM field. I am the first woman in my family to graduate with an engineering degree. No one really had talked to me about engineering. Now I look back at why I chose engineering and why I felt very confident in my decision and realize it is due to the people I met at SMASH." DOUBLE TAP to join us in saluting Jessica and all of the SMASH scholars! Photo courtesy of Jessica Zepeda. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #SMASHAcademy #SMASHScholar #LPFI #KaporCenter #IngridVerastegui #STEMforAll #diversityintech

Bolivia Corazon de America In 2000, Susana Salinas created the dance company Bolivia Corazón de América (@bca.dancecompany) to help connect Bolivian American children to their heritage. The company now includes young dancers from Bolivia, other Latin American countries , and the U.S. They perform all over the Bay Area at festivals and charitable events. They've even traveled the country for performances, offering exciting experiences for many of the young dancers (most of whom attend Leadership High School)! Each performance offers creative interpretations of ancient and rare Bolivian dance forms for its audiences. Photo courtesy of the Bolivia Corazón de América. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #Bolivia #BoliviaCorazondeAmerica #bcadancecompany #folklorico #dance

Panama-Pacific Intl Exposition of 1915 Just over 100 years ago, the city of San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. It was an elaborate World's Fair that celebrated the recent completion of the Panama Canal and showcased San Francisco's recovery from the devastating 1906 earthquake. A 635-acre "city within a city" was built to house the nearly year-long event that welcomed almost 19 million visitors. One of the architectural gems of the expo was the Palace of Fine Arts, which was constructed to display works of art. It is now the only fair building to remain at its original site. As we see with this inspiring historical example, partnerships with Latin American countries like Panama have shaped the San Francisco we know and love today! Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #PPIE100 #PPIE #Panama #PanamaPacific #PalaceofFineArts #SanFranciscoHistory #SanFrancisco

Latino Literature Read In/Oakland Public Education Fund Community leader Jorge Lerma spent time this week reading aloud to students at Franklin Elementary to celebrate the Oakland Public Education Fund's (@oaklandedfund) 2nd Annual Latino Literature Read-In Week! Oakland schools are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating literature by and about Latinos all week long! In a city as diverse as Oakland, students need opportunities to see themselves - and all of their classmates - in the books they read. Currently, schools across the city are celebrating Latino writers and illustrators with a range of activities, including volunteer read-alouds in classrooms, Family Literacy Nights, and cross-grade buddy reading for students. Photo courtesy of the Oakland Public Education Fund. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #OaklandPublicEducationFund #Latino #LatinoLiterature #ReadIn #OaklandSchools #Oakland #FamilyLiteracy #readingispower #happyreading

Latino Literature Read In/Oakland Public Education Fund Community leader Jorge Lerma spent time this week reading aloud to students at Franklin Elementary to celebrate the Oakland Public Education Fund's (@oaklandedfund) 2nd Annual Latino Literature Read-In Week! Oakland schools are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating literature by and about Latinos all week long! In a city as diverse as Oakland, students need opportunities to see themselves - and all of their classmates - in the books they read. Currently, schools across the city are celebrating Latino writers and illustrators with a range of activities, including volunteer read-alouds in classrooms, Family Literacy Nights, and cross-grade buddy reading for students. Photo courtesy of the Oakland Public Education Fund. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #OaklandPublicEducationFund #Latino #LatinoLiterature #ReadIn #OaklandSchools #Oakland #FamilyLiteracy #readingispower #happyreading

SIREN - Maricela Gutierrez The Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (also known as SIREN) works to empower low-income immigrants and refugees in Silicon Valley through community education and organizing, leadership development, policy advocacy and naturalization services. Led by Maricela Gutierrez, they focus on immigrants themselves being the primary agents of change in their communities. Currently, in a partnership with the San Jose Public Library, SIREN Bay Area is providing free legal consultations on the third Thursday of each month at a different public library in San Jose. At each consultation, SIREN provides an attorney and a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representative to give free legal consul to individuals with immigration questions or concerns. With services available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, they can help people read legal documents, check for eligibility for immigration benefits, and explain the immigration process and how to navigate it. Photo courtesy of Maricela Gutierrez. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #SIREN #SIRENbayarea #immigrantrights #SanJose #communityorganizing #sjpl #sanjosepubliclibrary #maricelagutierrez

Shop With A Cop Silicon Valley For the past 8 years, the Shop with a Cop Foundation Silicon Valley hosts over 100 under-served children for a holiday shopping spree with local Bay Area police officers. For many of the children, this special opportunity becomes the only holiday experience they will have. Some participants are selected from the Readers Are Leaders reading campaign at local elementary schools, where they "earn" their way to the shopping spree. Other children participating are living in traumatic crisis from the loss of a parent, domestic violence and other tragedies. With a uniformed police officer by their side during the shopping spree, each child receives a $125.00 Target gift card to shop for gifts for their family members and for themselves. The whole premise is to humanize the people behind the badge so that children can grow up trusting the police. Founded by retired San Jose Police Officer Darrell Cortez, this unique program brings the holiday spirit to children who need it most, and hopes to build safer communities for our future. Photo courtesy of Dan Fenstermacher. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #ShopWithACop #SiliconValley #HolidaySpirit #DarrellCortez #ReadersAreLeaders #communitypolicing

Mexican Farmworkers/Braceros Taken by famed San Francisco photojournalist Dorothea Lange in 1938, this photo shows a grandmother harvesting tomatoes in the farmlands of the Santa Clara Valley. The unidentified woman is listed in the Library of Congress as simply "Mexican grandmother who migrates with large family each year from Glendale, Arizona, following crops thru California and return." The history of Mexican migrant farm workers is woven through California's history since World War I. At that time, manual laborers from the US & Europe became scarce and employers began seeking help from Mexico. Their numbers surged again in World War II, when the US government created the Bracero Program. In effect from 1942 through 1964, it initially promised basic human rights and only $0.30 an hour to temporary laborers from Mexico! To this date, our state still relies heavily on the work of farmworkers because California produces over 95% of six major US fruit, vegetable, and nuts crops (artichokes, walnuts, kiwis, plums, celery, and garlic). Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #MigrantFarmworker #Farmworker #Mexican #DorotheaLange #Braceros #CaliforniaProduce #knowwhereyourfoodcomesfrom

OMCA - Dias de los Muertos This family is celebrating Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in calavera (skull) face paint at the opening ceremony traditions of the Oakland Museum of California (@oaklandmuseumca) annual festivities. Visitors will enjoy craft activities, tasty food, colorful ofrendas (offerings), dance and music, and more. You can join in the traditions of honoring friends and family member who have died, as the people left behind help their loved ones on their spiritual journey. Photo by Shaun Roberts, Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #MuseumOfUs #DayoftheDead #DiadelosMuertos #OMCA #SugarSkulls #Oakland #Family

ALAS - Ayudando Latinos A Soñar Ayudando Latinos A Soñar (ALAS, which means 'wings' in Spanish) is the first Latino cultural arts nonprofit on the Coastside of Half Moon Bay. Founded by Belinda Hernandez Arriaga, ALAS aims to strengthen the rural Latino community by shining the spotlight on the wealth of rich cultural history of the families and children that live on the Coast. ALAS helps to develop the talents of local youth through the cultural arts of Ballet Folklorico, Mariachi Education and has inspired an educational tutoring and social justice program that wraps services around the children to support them and their families. ALAS youth have danced for Dolores Huerta (pictured here with Belinda Hernandez and ALAS dancers), sang and performed for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán of Mexico, raised scholarship funds performing for the first undocumented scholarship at University of San Francisco and regularly support local community events. Photo courtesy of ALAS. Belinda believes that each child is a star that shines on the stage of life when they are able to celebrate their cultural identity and keep their traditions alive. Viva ALAS! #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #AyudandoLatinosASonar #ALAS #HalfMoonBay #HMB #BelindaHernandezArriaga #DoloresHuerta #BalletFolklorico #Mariachi #Folklorico

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day - Mi Gente VotaMi Gente Vota, translated as "My People Vote," is a community engagement project of Galería de la Raza|Studio 24 that encourages civic participation of nuestra gente (translated as "our people") through art programs including live screen-printing demonstrations (called "public art interventions"), poster giveaways, voter registration, and community dialogue. Pictured here is Tosha Stimage helping visitors screen-print a #MiGenteVota poster. You can learn more about the program, order one of the FREE beautiful posters designed by local artists, and find a schedule of upcoming demonstrations by visiting Photo courtesy of Kelly Rodriguez-Murillo. #BeInspired #WhereYouLive #abc7celebrates #HispanicHeritageMonth #MiGente #NuestraGente #GaleriadelaRaza #Studio24 #screenprint #posterart #toshastimage