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Latino Heritage Award Recipients

Heritage Month Awards Ceremony

Thank you for joining us in the Mexican custom of El Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead celebration of life and our ancestors. Thank you to poet Raul Sanchez for his readings from his debut book All Our Brown-Skinned Angels and also "Calaveras"; artist Amaranta Ibarra-Sandys for the sugar skulls; Jacque Larrainzar for her beautiful music; our host Magdaleno "Leno" Rose-Avila, director of the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs. We hope you enjoyed Day of the Dead bread, hot chocolate, and the colorful display of the Day of the Dead altar, filled with mementos, pictures, stories and flowers. Thank you for your kind donations to honor victims of violence in our communities.

Photos: El Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead celebration

8th Annual Latino Heritage Award Celebration

Thank you for attending the 8th Annual Latino Heritage Award Celebration. You made it a another success! We would like to share photos of the event for those of you that were not able to attend. Please see photos in our Photo Gallery tab.

Mayor Mike McGinn was on hand to present the award to Martha Snchez and Mario Zavaleta. Our keynote speaker this year was Justice Steven C. Gonzalez, "Education in Latino Communities and the Justice System." Cultural presentation by Guelaguetza Ballet Folkorico. We closed our exciting program with the sounds of DJ Diego and Cambalache!

Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery Presents: Portraits
Seattle Municipal Tower
700 5th Avenue, 3rd Floor
Seattle, WA 98104
July 16 - October 15

Click here for more information

Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery Presents:
Perspectives in Art

Seattle Municipal Tower
700 5th Avenue, 6th Floor
Seattle, WA 98124
July 2, 2012 - June 28, 2013

Click here for more information


2011 Recipient Paulina Lopez

Ms. Lopez-Peters is a full time volunteer, organizer, advocate, and mom. She demonstrates leadership in her community by representing Latinos in her role as co-chair on the South Park Action Agenda Board, volunteering at the South Park Food Bank (Providence Regina House), volunteers at the South Park Seattle Public Library, and serves on Mayor McGinns Immigrant and Refugee Advisory Board. She is an inspirational and effective community organizer in South Seattle, and a constant advocate to protect and enhance the business sector in South Park. Her community projects range from afterschool programs that promote Spanish language Literacy (Campaa Quetzal) to getting parents involved with their childrens education. She also helped organize the closure event of the South Park Bridge, and most recently worked on the Sixth Annual Duwamish River Festival.

Paulina López-Peters to receive 2011 Latino Heritage Award - Acrobat PDF
Paulina López es la ganadora del Premio Herencia Latina 2011
Paulina López - Diarios de Inmigrantes

Paulina López: ganadora del Premio Herencia Latina 2011
Paulina López: Diarios de Inmigrantes

Thank you for a beautiful celebration

Dear Sonia, 

I wanted to THANK YOU for making possible a very special night for the Latino Heritage Award last Saturday.

I could see all the work and that you and your team have put this to make it possible! The event was beautiful, and made me realize how important was for you to present this award.  My friends and family were impressed with the way everything went.  

Thank you so much again, and please be assured I will keep working hard making sure our communities, our families, our parents and kids will keep working together for the betterment of our Latinos!!

Thank you for having such an amazing mission and for giving the encouragement for people like me to keep the work and the passion to make our life here better and meaningful.  Please keep in touch and let's work together :)

Un abrazo, y muchas gracias nuevamente!!   

Paulina Lopez


2010 Recipient - Carmen Martinez

Carmen Martinez is the recipient of the 2010 Latino Heritage Award. Martinez will receive the award during the Latino Heritage Award Reception and Celebration on Thursday, October 14 at Seattle City Hall. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by The Seattle Fandango Project, sponsored by Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.

Martinez is a Recreation Program Specialist with the Seattle Parks and Recreation department. Martinez works at the South Park Community Center and is a South Park resident. She has been a member of the South Park Community Center for over 10 years.  Martinez is a model supervisor for various programs throughout South Park and is recognized by the South Park Community as a valuable asset to the Community Center because of her unique ability to continuously encourage and appropriately guide not only her colleagues but also her program participants. Her work is focused on youth development. Martinez has become the “life line” for many kids in the community.

 “She is always looking for new and innovative ways to offer educational yet engaging programs to her site and has established a reputation for creativity and originality when it comes to quality program planning”, said Jacque Larrainzar.

2009 Recipient - Estela Ortega

Estela Ortega

Ortega is the executive director of El Centro de la Raza and was one of its founders in 1972. She served as a volunteer for El Centro's first seven years. She has worked in all facets of the organization, including organizational management, community building, leadership, political advocacy and strategy formation and implementation. In July, Ortega became El Centro's executive director, managing and overseeing its $5.3 million operating budget.

Click here to read full press release.

2008 Recipient - Adrian Diaz

Adrian DiazAdrian Z. Diaz has been a police officer for 11 years, working in a variety of capacities for the Seattle Police Department. The last three years, Officer Diaz has been assigned to special projects that focus on the reduction of youth violence affecting our minority communities. Prior to this, Officer Diaz was assigned to patrol, anti-crime team, undercover narcotic operations, and mountain bicycle patrol. He was also a Master Defensive Tactics instructor at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Officer Diaz holds a bachelor of arts in criminal justice from Central Washington University and a Masters in Public Administration from the Evans Schools of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. He has graduated from numerous leadership courses from the Cascade Center for Public Service as well as the Leadership and Effectiveness Institute.

Adrian volunteers with the following organizations:

  • Chief Sealth High School, Assistant Wrestling Coach
  • King County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Education Chair
  • Greater King County Police Activities League, Treasurer
  • Eastside Latino Leadership Forum, Board Member

2007 Recipient - Carlos Alaniz

Carlos Alaniz Carlos Alaniz was born in 1966 in El Paso, Texas, but raised in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico until the age of twelve. In 1985, he graduated from an El Paso high school and joined the United States Army. After his service, he moved to Seattle where he completed his education at the University of Washington School of Occupational Therapy. He has worked for SeaMar Community Health Centers and currently works at Sisters of Providence Hospice Services where he directly serves the terminally ill and their families.

Carlos is a long time leader in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community as well as in the Latino community. He advocates for gay rights, including health care parity and adoption rights. Carlos is a role model, especially for young gay Latinos, who often face ostracism in their families and the broader community. He has helped many Latinos find support through organizations such as POCAAN (People of Color Against AIDS Network), Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Bailadores de Bronce, and Entre Hermanos, where he served on the board of directors.

Carlos has also been instrumental in the Fiestas Patrias at the Seattle Center as well as the SeaMar Fiestas Patrias Annual Celebration in South Park, which he chaired for over four years. 

For the past five years, Carlos has served as Director of Seattle’s Bailadores de Bronce Mexican Folk Dance Company and been a member for fifteen years. He has personally trained hundreds of dancers in the Seattle area and entertained thousands. Currently, he is organizing the 35th Anniversary Celebration of Bailadores de Bronce to be held at the University of Washington Meany Hall on November 3, 2007. 

His lifetime mission to celebrate Mexican culture is an inspiration.

2006 Recipient Jacque Larrainzar with the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.

Jacque LarrainzarJacque serves on numerous boards and committees in the areas of civil and human rights, immigrants rights, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights. As a member of the board of NW Womens Law Center, she has been instrumental in introducing a people-of-color perspective to a white institution. As an important member of Seattles Latino activist community, Jacque is unafraid to disagree with conventional wisdom and to advocate publicly in favor of pragmatic approaches to solving issues.

2005 Recipient Mayra Ayala with the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle.


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