News Release

UnidosUS to Honor Distinguished Latino Leaders at its Awards Gala

Latinos who demonstrated excellence in the fields of advocacy, philanthropy and communications to be honored in a ceremony at the conclusion of the 2019 UnidosUS Annual Conference

August 5, 2019

SAN DIEGO—On the evening of Monday, August 5, UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) will present four awards to Latino leaders and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and achieved excellence in the fields of advocacy, philanthropy and communications. UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía will recognize the honorees during the Awards Gala, an annual ceremony that honors the outstanding contributions and achievements of Latino luminaries, as well as the lives and legacies of the renowned Latino leaders for whom each award is named. The event will take place at the conclusion of the UnidosUS Annual Conference hosted this year at the San Diego Convention Center.

“We are honored to present these awards to Latino leaders who have contributed so much to our community. Through these awards tonight we celebrate their remarkable achievements and commitment to effecting positive change and making a difference in the lives of others. What distinguishes tonight’s honorees is not just that they have excelled in their individual career pursuits, but they’ve used their talents to help uplift, inform and empower the Latino community,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía.

The Graciela Olivarez La Raza Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to promoting the interests of Hispanic Americans. This year’s award will go to Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center. NILC is a leading organization dedicated to advancing the rights of low-income migrants in the United States. Under her leadership, the organization has grown into a premier organization that combines the use of litigation, policy and communications to create social change. Before joining NILC, Ms. Hincapié worked for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco’s Employment Law Center, where she founded the Center’s Immigrant Workers’ Rights Project. She holds a juris doctor degree from Northeastern University School of Law and served on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration.

The Maclovio Barraza Award recognizes those who have worked for the betterment of the Hispanic community at the grassroots level and whose leadership has been as a source of strength and inspiration to the Hispanic community. This year’s award will go to the San Diego Response Network. At a historically challenging time for our community, the San Diego Response Network has been a lifeline to immigrant families. A coalition of human rights and service organizations, attorneys and community leaders, they have been tireless defendants and advocates dedicated to aiding immigrants and their families in the San Diego border region. They have been at the forefront to the response of increased immigration enforcement activities, advocating against the widespread family separation and unjust deportation of migrants, all while helping to serve the real needs of families in crisis.

The Ruben Salazar Award for Communications goes to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in the field of communications and journalism. This year’s award goes to David Begnaud of CBS. David serves as the Lead National Correspondent for CBS This Morning and Anchor of CBS News Radio’s Reporter’s Notebook. His reporting on the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and most recently coverage of the protests and efforts to remove the Governor of Puerto Rico, have earned him a variety of accolades. He has helped tell the important stories about our Latino community and given voice to those who are often overlooked.

This year’s Raul Yzaguirre President’s Award, given annually to an individual or organization that has shown outstanding support for UnidosUS’s mission, will be awarded to Daniel Ortega Jr., former Chairman of the UnidosUS Board of Directors. Ortega, a civil rights attorney and leader, has been a dedicated and tireless advocate for the Latino community. He has worked to defend the rights of Latinos and promote better opportunities for our community since the very beginning of his career. He currently serves as Board Member to several advocacy organizations including the Cesar Chavez Foundation and the Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association. During his Chairmanship at UnidosUS, he provided critical leadership and insight that helped the organization face new challenges and find additional avenues to expand our work on behalf of the Latino community.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit www.unidosus.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact:
Gabriela Gomez
news@unidosus.org