Lou Tullos Garcia, is a Hispanic educator who has dedicated
her life to the improvement of schools and schooling for the severely
and profoundly disabled Hispanic students.Born
and raised in Harlingen, Texas, she graduated from the University
of Texas with a B.S. degree in elementary education and MasterÕs
degree in Education. She has special certification in Learning Disabilities,
Mental retardation and Kinesiology also from the University of Texas
at Southmost. Currently, Ms. Tullos Garcia is the Department Head,
Special Education Program and teacher at Coakley Junior High School
in Harlingen, Texas. She has trained, mentored and managed many
paraprofessional personnel working with children with disabilities
over the past 15 years. She is the supervisor of the city-wide Parks
and Recreation Program for the Camp-A-Day Handicapped students program,
ensuring the program hires the best staff and fiscal funds are allocated
year after year through private and public agencies.
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Antonia Coello Novello, the winner
of the 1998 Mujer Award, embodies all the qualities of a transformational
leader. Her unyielding excellence and professional merit led to
her appointment as the 14th Surgeon General of the United States.
The first woman and the first Hispanic to hold the position, Dra.
Novella is a respected medical expert and a tireless advocate of
issues affecting the Hispanic community. In 1996, Dr. Novello turned
her attention to global health issues when she became the United
Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Special Representative for Health
Colón-Valle became the first Puerto Rican accepted
at the famed Actor's Studio, where she has been a member for the
past twenty-five years. As one of the pioneers of the Hispanic Theatre
movement in New York City, Ms. Colón co-founded the Nuevo
Circulo Dramático, the first Spanish-language arena theatre
in New York. She is the Artistic Director/Founder of The Puerto
Rican Traveling Theatre, steering its course since its inception,
and has successfully insured its survival as its artistic head,
strategist and fundraiser. In addition to her activities as an actress,
producer and director, Ms. Colón is a cultural advisor on
the state and federal levels. She was appointed by the then Governor
Nelson Rockefeller to the New York State Council on the Arts, where
she served for more than ten years. At the national level, she served
as a panelist on the Expansion Arts Panel of the National Endowment
for the Arts, and also in the Institutional Advancement Pilot Program
Panel. She was also a member of the National Hispanic Task Force.
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NHLI bestowed its
fourth annual Mujer Award on Irma Flores Gonzalez, a civil
rights activist, champion of Hispanic issues and board Chair of
the National Council of La Raza. Flores Gonzalez, who has worked
in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, received the prestigious
award at NHLI's annual Mujer Award gala in October, 1997 at the
Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. Although the focus
of the event was on Flores Gonzalez's remarkable professional accomplishments
„ she has served as President of Colegio Cesar Chavéz, worked
for the Portland police chief to implement community policing strategies
and in 1987 was appointed head of the Oregon State Community Services
Agency -- her personal battle with cancer took center stage.
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daughter of a Mexican farmer, Juana Beatriz Gutiérrez,
says that her leadership skills evolved from her determination to
keep her nine children away from the gangs and drugs she saw in
her Boyle Heights Neighborhood. In 1986, Mrs. Gutierrez, co-founded
The Mothers of East L.A. (Las Madres) as a result of plans to build
a prison in her neighborhood. Mrs. Gutierrez and several friends
organized an information campaign and held weekly candlelight vigils.
Their actions brought widespread media attention and California
dropped its plans in 1992. Other notable accomplishments of Las
Madres are the prevention of a toxic waste incinerator in the city
of Vernon; halting the construction of a municipal waste incinerator;
a sucessful waterconservation program that offers free low-flush
toilets and recycles old ones; a lead poisoning education project
and a graffiti removal program.
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Huerta, co-founder and first Vice President of the United Farm
Workers of America, has devoted more than 30 years to establishing
the union and to the farm workers' cause. Among the many ideas that
she has made into a reality are a retirement village for farm workers
and a child care center to keep children out of the fields. She
was also responsible for the dues structure that gave farm workers
significant financial investment in their own organization. She
helped establish a union school to provide language skills and training
in leadership. A mother of 11 children, her comments "let them
be in demonstrations, marches, picket lines. I want them to be around
ethnic groups, not to feel the stigma of racism while they are growing
up. I expect them to follow their dreams, to change the world, to
make the world a better place."
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Antonia Pantoja has lived a life of passionate commitment.
Now 73, she continues to live life at its' fullest. Born in San
Juan, Puerto Rico in 1922, her first influence for activism sprang
from her grandfather who raised her, a cigar maker and union activist.
Restless for new opportunities and freedom from social expectations
of her, she immigrated to the United States in 1944. Pantoja persevered
in her pursuit of her education by working in a factory job in New
York City and attending evening classes. In 1952, she helped form
the Puerto Rican Association for Community Affairs (PRACA). Pantoja's personal philosophy and of community service is to build
institutions that offer structures of support while providing leadership
opportunities. In 1958, she organized the "ASPIRA" club
in New York City. ASPIRA, Spanish for "strive" brings
Latino students together to encourage growth and leadership skills.
Her passion for education and commitment to community came together
by establishing Universidad Boricua in 1973, a Puerto Rican research
center and bilingual university. Returning to Puerto Rico in 1985,
she launched "Producir" a project that enables rural communities
create cottage industries, generate employment, and provide services.
Like its' founder, it is a model of the future which brought to
the forefront a lifetime of commitment and vision.
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