ABC7 Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

9/15/15 - 10/15/15

KGO logo
Monday, October 19, 2015
Hispanic Heritage Month

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:

Jose V. Orozco Acosta

Jose V. Orozco Acosta not only grew up as a Dreamer (undocumented child immigrant), he made his dreams and those of his family come true. At the age of three, Jose and his family moved to the United States from their homeland San Agustn del Maz, Michoacn, Mexico. They made their home in Gridley, CA, a town with a population of approximately 6,600, which is 60 miles north of Sacramento. He graduated as the valedictorian of Gridley High with a 4.3 GPA and was honored as the very first recipient of an Avalos Foundation Scholarship. In June 2014, he walked the graduation stage as a Computer Science Major at UC Davis, the first of his entire family to reach this educational accomplishment. Now, as a Software Engineer for Insikt, Inc. in San Francisco's Financial District, he likes to travel back home to Gridley to speak to students about his experience as a Dreamer and about his current achievements. He volunteers as tech support for the Mi CASA after school program, participates in career fairs at CSU Chico's Upward Bound Program, and encourages other Avalos Scholars as well. This year, he came full circle with the Avalos Foundation, from being a recipient to being a donor. Jose gives back to the community because he feels it's the least he can do for all the support he and his family received through programs and people. They made him believe that anyone can accomplish their goals in this country. He says it proudly, "S, se puede!" Photo courtesy of Luis Orozco.

Hashtag Lunch Bags

Local Latina fashion designer Rebecca Cahua (@rebeccacahua) combines her design background and her passion to help people in need around the Bay Area with her nonprofit, HashtagLunchbagSF (@hashtaglunchbagsf). As the daughter of her Nicaraguan mother and her Peruvian father, and being one of six kids, she has always understood the value of a meal. This helped inspire her to create her charity in November of 2013 and it brings volunteers together to prepare and distribute lunches to those in need throughout the Bay Area. To date, they have distributed lunches to 13,000 people. She also recently founded "Designing A Difference," which will provide training and employment opportunities in clothing manufacturing for people with employment barriers who are often not given the opportunity to work. ABC7 applauds your dedication to our local communities, Rebecca! For more information go to Photo courtesy of #HashtagLunchBagSF/Rebecca Cahua.

Sol Sisters

Christine Shayesteh firmly believes in equality for women who are under-served and under-resourced. This belief led her to create Sol Sisters, Inc. (@solsistersorg), a Bay Area non-profit that serves as a platform to empower ALL women. With over 300 professional women volunteers collectively over the past two years, Sol Sisters provides assistance to women who have experienced domestic violence, to teen moms who need help getting on track to high school graduation and to excel to higher education, to homeless women getting back on their feet, and many more. The organization provides access to mental health services, beauty services such as styling to build self-esteem in preparation for the workforce and college, and expressive arts that promote holistic healing. Their most recent cause is fighting child sex trafficking and supporting victims - Sol Sisters is hosting a workshop in Oakland this month (#IAMHERSISTER) to raise awareness. Join the effort and help women's voices be heard! Photos courtesy of Sol Sisters.

Celia Carrasco/Big Brothers-Big Sisters

Celia Carrasco is a Bay Area native and passionate volunteer in the community. Her efforts as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area have been recognized by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. BBBSBA provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships. Celia and her Little Sister are celebrating their eight year anniversary this month! Help us wish them both a happy anniversary! Go to their website for more information. Photos courtesy of BBBSBA/@Sam_Nanigans.

Yvonne Escalante - OMCA

Yvonne Escalante's engaging, intimate and interactive contemporary music boxes honor the artist's Salvadoran father and German-American maternal grandfather. Rotating glass corn cobs activate the music boxes and represent a deep connection to farming on both sides of her family and underscore the importance of a common crop to farming cultures across the Americas and throughout time. Escalante's work is featured in the 21st annual Dias de los Muertos exhibition through January at the Oakland Museum of California. Don't miss it!


Time to grab some popcorn & head to the movies! Cine+Ms SF (@SFLatinoFilm) produces the annual Latino Film Festival in September. The festival showcases new work by filmmakers from Latin America, Spain, and the US along with more than ten other countries. It includes year-round programming and special events highlighting different aspects of the Latino arts, including screenings, opportunities to meet filmmakers and parties. This September marked the seventh festival and nearly 5,000 people attended. The film festival is not limited to only San Francisco - there are also screenings across the bay area, from San Jose to Berkeley and Oakland.

Latino Giving Circle Network

The Latino Community Foundation launched its first Latina Giving Circle in 2012 with 16 diverse and intergenerational Latina women. The Latino Giving Circle Network now has 125 members - both women and men - in seven local giving circles. Each member pledges $1,000 a year. The Giving Circles focus on enhancing resources and contributing to the success of their grantees. Overall, the Latino Giving Circle Network's mission is to inspire philanthropy and help Latinas and Latinos become leaders of change in their communities.

Sandra Jordan

ABC7 salutes Sandra Jordan, a local designer enriching our Bay Area with fine products while also improving living conditions in Peru, where she was raised. In 2006, Sandra launched a luxurious line of Prima Alpaca textiles for the design trade - the colors have a California connection, inspired by the different harvest shades of wine country. The alpaca draws attention to the needs of communities in the Peruvian high Andes, where many underprivileged people work and reside. Sandra partners with local Peruvian organizations to develop housing in sorely needed areas of the Andes community. Sandra also serves on the Board of VIDA (@vidausaorg), a nonprofit organization in Emeryville, which sends medical supplies to people in the greatest need in Latin America. Her local passion makes a global difference. Photo courtesy of Sandra Jordan Prima Alpaca.

Rose Amador-LeBeau

For over 30 years, Rose Amador-LeBeau has been President and C.E.O of San Jose-based,l ConXin to Community, formerly known as Center for Training & Careers. Under her leadership, the center has provided a variety of services, including training and job placement assistance to thousands of people in the Bay Area. She also co-founded and serves as the Co-Chair of La Raza Roundtable de California, an organization that advocates on behalf of the Latino Community. Amador-LeBeau is of Mexican-Yaqui decent and is also active in the Native American community. She has been producing and hosting the weekly community television program, Native Voice TV, for 10 years. Photo courtesy of Rose Amador-LeBeau.

Sarahi Salamanca

Sarahi Salamanca is a young entrepreneur helping to lift an entire generation closer to making the possibility of higher education a reality. Inspired to give back to her community, she launched in 2012, a source of information about scholarship opportunities and local events that the undocumented and low income community can benefit from. Her vision encourages youth to pursue and continue higher education. In 2013, she was selected to be one of 20 DREAMers in the nation to participate in the Hackathon with Mark Zuckerberg. And in 2014, she received the honor of Champions of Change by the White House for her work on and being an environmental science and tech instructor for Girl Scouts of Northern California. Thanks to a $100,000 grant she recently won, she is currently creating the DREAMers Roadmap, a mobile app that is planned for a 2016 launch which will help undocumented students across the nation find scholarships to go to college. Keep up the good work Sarahi! Photos courtesy of Sarahi Salamanca and Jennifer Lerner.


Stephanie Bravo is a first-generation college graduate earning a M.A. in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership from Stanford University and a B.A. in Psychology with honors from San Jose State University. After her experience with a Stanford mentor, Stephanie founded to help other students like her find mentors. In 2011, she was invited to The White House to meet the President and talk to White House officials about's role in improving college completion and preparing students for the workforce of tomorrow. As a result, and The White House launched a partnership in 2012 to bring more light to this critical issue. Sign up to become a mentor or find a mentor at! Photo courtesy of Stephanie Bravo.


Alejandro Murguia is a poet, a professor, and a community leader. He is the Sixth San Francisco Poet Laureate and the first Latino to ever hold the post. His books include This War Called Love (winner of the American Book Award), Stray Poems, and The Medicine of Memory: A Mexican Clan in California. In May 2014, SF Weekly named him Best Local Author. He is the author of the short story "The Other Barrio" which was filmed in the Mission District and will be showing at the Brava Theatre this October. Currently he is a professor in Latina/Latino Studies at San Francisco State University. Photo courtesy of Luis Delgado.


LavaMae, which means "Wash Me" in Spanish, is a mobile hygiene service created by Doniece Sandoval. By converting retired public transportation buses into showers and toilets on wheels for those experiencing homelessness, Lava Mae is delivering dignity - one mobile shower at a time. Since the launch of its pilot, the organization has served more than 2,500 unsheltered San Franciscans and will be deepening its work and expanding its service in the Bay Area in 2016. DOUBLE TAP to join us in applauding Doniece for making a big difference in our community! Photo courtesy of Henrik Kam/Lava Mae.


ABC7 salutes our first responders! Lieutenant Lester Lesavoy from the San Francisco Fire Department wears many hats. In addition to leading Truck 19 in the Sunset District, he gives back to our local Latino community as Vice President of the San Francisco Bomberos - an organization of Latino firefighters promoting leadership and excellence. Lester has led three mission trips to Nicaragua where his colleagues have trained over 100 local firefighters and donated more than 20,000 pounds of much-needed firefighting equipment.


Cesar Chavez is an icon of civil rights, community activism and the power to make a difference in the lives of many. As a migrant farm worker, he experienced the struggles faced in the fields. After years of training with community leaders in San Jose, he eventually helped organize the National Farm Workers Association - the first union of its kind. Through decades of non-violent protests, worker organizing, and inspiring millions, the lasting legacy of Cesar Chavez is still felt today. As Cesar always said, "Si se puede!" - "Yes, it can be done!" Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.