De Colores’ 17th annual Hispanic Culture Festival recognized 12 individuals and one organization who contributed to improving New Mexico communities with their leadership and talents.
Christine Trujillo: Lifetime Achievement Award - Ms. Trujillo, who grew up in poverty, has been a single mom who struggled to get an education and was a bilingual teacher for 21 years. This Taos native has continued to move up and to help her community as President of New Mexico Federation of Labor-AFL-CIO -- only one of three women in the nation in that state capacity; she is also the President of American Federation of Teachers NM; a current member-at-large of the National Democratic Committee; former President of MANA de Albuquerque and DeColores, Inc. Apart from her professional and advocacy leadership roles, she is a wife, a grandmother, and mother who also showcases our culture as a fine artist.
Chuy Martinez: Leadership Award in Music - Mr. Martinez is a singer, song writer, folklorist and cultural worker with more than 40 years of community activism. By the age of 14, he was a member of the United Farm Workers Union who later worked as an organizer for the fundraising arm of the UFWU. He was one of the original grassroots founding members of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, of the first MECHA public high school programs in Las Vegas, NM and of the Cesar Chavez Committee in Albuquerque which was responsible for the naming of the Cesar Chavez Boulevard as well as the creation of the Cesar Chavez Community Center. He works for the City of Albuquerque and hosts the popular television show, “Lo Madura De La Cultura” and is part of the NM Humanities Council scholar programs.
Laura E. Gomez: Leadership Award in Writing - Ms. Gomez is Professor of Law and American Studies at the University of New Mexico. She was Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles for 12 years and has lectured widely and published numerous articles, book chapters, and op-ed commentaries, as well as two books focusing on the intersection of law, politics and social stratification of the disenfranchised. In Misconceiving Mothers: Legislators, Prosecutors and the Politics of Prenatal Drug Exposure (1997), she documented the career of the "crack baby"/"crack mother" social problem in the media and public policy. In her 2007 book, Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race, she examines how law and racial ideology intersected to create new racial groups and to re-structure the turn-of-the-twentieth century racial order in the Southwest and the nation.
Mary Blea: Leadership Award in Health - Ms Blea, a native New Mexican is a registered nurse who has advocated for Latino health concerns for over 40 years. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide spectrum of public and private health agencies advocating for an providing culturally appropriate care to patients, especially those impacted most by health disparities: Hispanos and Mexicanos. She helped institute the Hispano health concept of “Promotoras” in the largest hospital system in NM. She works with the state Public Health Division developing healthier communities by collaborating with community agencies, organizations and underserved groups. She is currently the president of the New Mexico Hispanic Nurses Association, which she helped found 20 years ago.
Marcela Diaz: Grassroots Leadership Award - Ms. Diaz, Executive Director of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, has helped make this one of the top statewide immigrants’ rights organizations. A first generation Mexican-American born in California, she moved to Santa Fe in 1998 and immediately started working for Somos. During her tenure as Director, Somos has successfully campaigned for several local and statewide pro-immigrant policies for working people and has also provided leadership for the raising of the minimum wage in Santa Fe. She is also a leader on the City of Santa Fe Committee on Immigrant Affairs.
Alex O. Romero: Leadership Award in Business - Mr. Romero, who spent thirty five years in the banking industry in the Albuquerque area has been a long time advocate and supporter of Latino concerns. Fifteen years ago as a Bank of America executive he provided financial support to groups addressing the history and achievements of Latinos. In he was named President/CEO of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce December of 2004, one of the largest Hispanic Chambers in the US. A Taos native, Alex has been a key leader with the Latino/Hispano Education Improvement Task Force whose mission is addressing the Latino education crisis.
Senator Linda Lopez: Leadership Award in Government - Senator Lopez has represented Bernalillo County’s South Valley and Westgate Community in the NM Legislature for the past thirteen years. Over the years she has supported legislation to establish a Department of Hispano Affairs, Latino health concerns as well as addressing the vital concern of Latino education, emphasizing the special needs of boys in this crisis. She has been actively involved in the issue of the women who were found murdered and buried on Albuquerque’s West Mesa. She is currently a candidate for the position of Lieutenant Governor.
Leadership Award in Education: Celebra la Ciencia - Ms. Carolyn Gregory of the NM Museum of Natural History and Science and Dr. Bob Russell of the Self Reliance Foundation received this award on behalf of Celebra la Ciencia which began eight years ago as a community project to bring science awareness to Latino families through a series of community festivals. It has created bilingual science family events at various science centers & museums throughout Albuquerque. The Celebra la Ciencia community partners include the Albuquerque Public Schools, ENLACE New Mexico, STEM Education Outreach Programs at UNM and New Mexico MESA.
2009 major sponsors included APS, UNM, Intel, Youth Development, Inc, and the Atrisco Heritage Foundation.