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2006 Mujer Award Recipients


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2006 CHAIR'S AWARD

The youngest of four sisters who grew up on a ranch in Corpus Christi, Texas, Eva Longoria attended Texas A&M-Kingsville, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. After graduating from college, she entered a talent contest that brought her to Los Angeles, where she was spotted and subsequently signed by a theatrical agent. After landing roles on The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital and co-starring on Beverly Hills, 90210, she auditioned and won the role of “Isabella” on the popular series The Young and the Restless. Eva’s career was successfully launched. She considers herself blessed to have had the opportunity to work on the #1 daytime drama, which was followed by a role as “Detective Gloria Duran” on Dick Wolf’s LA Dragnet.

One of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors, Eva recently starred in The Sentinel, opposite Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Basinger. Eva’s incredible talent and creativity is reflected within an impressive list of projects which include major motion pictures, indie films, movies-of-the week, and sketch comedy. Eva currently stars as Latina sexpot “Gabrielle Solis” on the ABC mega-hit Desperate Housewives, the two-time Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild winning show with over 30 million viewers in the U.S., and seen in 208 countries around the world. She starred alongside Christian Bale and Freddie Rodriquez in the indie film, Harsh Times, written and directed by David Ayer, that received rave reviews at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival. She is lending her voice to the upcoming Lions Gate animated film, Foodfight. Eva also flexes her comedic muscles in Hot Tamales Live, a critically acclaimed comedy/variety show, in which she both stars and produces.

Eva continues to pursue her dreams and remains committed to serving the Latino community. She volunteered during the last presidential campaign, engaging Latino voters and participated in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Eva recently hosted and served as a producer for the 2006 National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Alma Awards. She has volunteered her time to the Special Olympics, the United Farm Workers, the Mexican American Legal Defense Eductional Fund, and the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Eva was recently honored with the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts’ Horizon award.

The Golden Globe nominee is the national spokesperson for Padres Contra El Cancer, a non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life for Latino children with cancer and their families. Eva’s strong will and determination continue to shape a brighter future for these children and our community.

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Gloria Rodriguez

NATIONAL MUJER AWARD

A former school teacher, Dr. Gloria G. Rodriguez founded AVANCE, a nonprofit organization to help low-income parents get their children, birth to three years of age, ready for school as a means of reducing the high dropout rate among Latinos. Serving 7,000 parents and children each year, AVANCE is a nationally recognized model and pioneer of parent education, family support and fatherhood education programs. AVANCE has been featured in the New York Times, ABC World News Tonight, Good Morning America, McNeil Lehrer News Hour, and has been included in three books by former First Ladies (Barbara Bush, First Teachers; Hillary Clinton, It Takes a Village, and Rosalyn Carter, Helping Someone with Mental Illness).

Dr. Rodriguez was a delegate to the White House Conference on Families, and, by presidential appointment, served as part of the United States Delegation to the United Nations International Commission on the Status of Women, and currently is a member of the Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Dr. Rodriguez has served as a consultant for the federal government, Parent’s Magazine, Whittle Communication’s La Familia De Hoy Magazine, Mr. Rogers Corporation, the Work Family Institute, the Harvard Family Research Project, Georgetown University and the Yale Bush Center. She served as an Advisory Member to the GEMS Television Board and co-chaired the San Antonio 2000 Ready to Learn Task Force.

Dr. Rodriguez was featured in Parade Magazine and received the Parent Action Award from Parent’s Magazine. She was named in Working Mother’s Magazine as one of 25 influential working mothers; was included several times as one of 100 leading Hispanics in Hispanic Business Magazine, and was inducted in the Texas Hall of Fame. Her many awards include: the MALDEF Award, the Sr. Benetia Award and Avenida Guadalupe Award, the Attitude Award by Lifetime Television, the Distinguished Service to Education Award from the National Association of School Principals, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Education at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Woman of the Year for the San Antonio Light. She was inducted into the San Antonio Edgewood Hall of Fame and Leadership San Antonio Hall of Fame.

Dr. Rodriguez is the author of Raising Nuestros Niños: Bringing Up Latino Children in a Bicultural World. Her works are included at the Eugene Barker Center on Texas History at University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Rodriguez has her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Texas of Austin, married to Salvador C. Rodriguez and is the mother of three children.

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Moraima Oyola

REGIONAL MUJER AWARD

Born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, Moraima Oyola has always identified with people in need.  Her motivation to study psychology and theology was fueled by this. From an early age, Ms. Oyola was subjected to her father’s physical and emotional abuse—surviving, even, an attempt to be burned alive.  Her experiences as a survivor guided Ms. Oyola in her work with youth and families in their struggle to survive and rise above the circumstances of their own personal and social challenges.

Ms. Oyola is currently the president of Forjando un Nuevo Comienzo (Forging a New Beginning), an organization dedicated to employing school drop-outs and ex-offenders in the cities of Guaynabo, Bayamón, Carolina, San Juan, and Cataño.  She is also the president of the Coalición de Apoyo Continuo (Coalition of Ongoing Support).  The Coalition serves the residents of the municipality of Guaynabo—which extends through the towns of Guaynabo, Bayamón, Cataño, Toa Baja, Toa Alta, and Cidra—and functions as an umbrella organization for a variety of support agencies. Ms. Oyola is also treasurer of the Agencias Comunales de Puerto Rico (Community Agencies of Puerto Rico).

Ms. Oyola’s life has always been committed to working with those who are marginalized from society.  In this work, she is guided by a strong, yet deceivingly simple mission: “We should never take away anyone’s hope—it might be the only thing a person has left.”

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