City of Seattle

Ed Murray, Mayor


SUBJECT:   Mario Zavaleta and Martha Sánchez to receive 2012 Latino Heritage Award
10/2/2012  5:00:00 PM

Mario Zavaleta & Martha Sánchez to receive 2012 Latino Heritage Award
Zavaleta & Sánchez to be honored at Latino Heritage Award Celebration on October 6

Versión en español

SEATTLE - Today, Mayor Michael McGinn and the City of Seattle Latino City Employees organization announced Mario Zavaleta and Martha Sánchez as the dual recipients of the 2012 Latino Heritage Award. Mayor McGinn will present the award on October 6, 2012, during the 8th Annual Latino Heritage Month Award Celebration at Club SUR, 2901 1st Ave S, in Seattle's SODO district. This educational and cultural event begins at 8:00 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.).

Mario and Martha started their journey in the Pacific Northwest in Alaska with the promise of good fortune in fishing; however, they could barely make ends meet. Mario bought a video camera and started to capture the life of Latinos in Alaska. The story was picked up by Univision and ran world-wide. They eventually moved to Seattle. They have documented the work, lives, struggles and successes of Latinos from Oregon to Montana. They are both very involved in the community, present, documenting every public event sponsored by or for the Latino Community.

Dr. Julian Perez and Antoinette Angulo note in their nomination, Mario and Martha are "inspirational individuals whose story is classically that of so many immigrants who have come to the United States for the opportunity that it offers, the adventurous, but rare in the enormous benefit that they have brought to the communities in which they've lived. ... Mario [and] Martha are the eyes, ears, pen and voice of all of the people we love, serve and celebrate.  If the one who holds the camera, writes history, then we owe great thanks to Mario Zavaleta and Martha Sanchez for writing our history."

The formal program includes Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steven González delivering the keynote address on "Education in Latino Communities and the Justice System." Steve González was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court effective January 1, 2012.  Before joining the Supreme Court, Justice González served for ten years as a trial judge on the King County Superior Court hearing criminal, civil, juvenile, and family law cases. The program also includes a performance by the group Guelaguetza, ballet folklórico.  The informal part of the event continues with a night of dancing to Latin sounds by Orquesta Cambalache and DJ Diego.

The Latino Heritage Award recognizes an individual(s) who has made significant contributions to the Seattle Latino community by displaying leadership, initiative, creativity and dedication. Through their contributions, award recipients inspire others to be involved in the Latino community and make a difference.

The price of tickets in advance is $20.00, online at, and tickets will be $25.00 at the door. This is a 21 and over event.

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Office of the Mayor