Media Advisory

NCLR to Recognize Latino Trailblazers and Activists at 2016 Annual Awards Gala

July 23, 2016

Gabriela Gomez
NCLR Press Office in Orlando:
(407) 685-5407
West Concourse, W230A

ORLANDO, Fla.—On Monday, July 25, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) President and CEO Janet Murguía will present six individuals and organizations with NCLR’s most prestigious awards recognizing Latino excellence in the fields of advocacy, philanthropy, communications and sports. Recipients of this year’s awards will be honored at a ceremony on the third evening of the 2016 NCLR Annual Conference, held July 23–26 in Orlando, Fla.

The NCLR Annual Awards Gala celebrates Latino trailblazers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and made laudable contributions, both in their fields and in service to the Hispanic community. Each award pays homage to the life and legacy of a distinguished Latino leader for whom the award is named.

The 2016 honorees are:

  • NCLR Affiliate Hispanic Unity of Florida, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Broward County, Fla., will be named Affiliate of the Year for its tireless efforts to empower area immigrants to become self-sufficient, productive and engaged in their communities.
  • Sylvia Mendez, prominent civil rights activist and recipient of the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, will receive the Graciela Olivarez La Raza Award. The award recognizes an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to promoting the interests of Hispanic Americans.

  • Dr. Richard Izquierdo, renowned physician and founder of Urban Health Plan, Inc., will receive the Maclovio Barraza Award for Leadership. The award recognizes those who have worked for the betterment of the Hispanic community at the grassroots level and whose leadership has served as a source of strength and support to the Hispanic community.

  • María Celeste Arrarás, Emmy award winning journalist and host of Telemundo’s Al Rojo Vivo will receive the Ruben Salazar Award for Communications. The award is given to an individual who has dedicated his or her professional life to portraying issues, concerns or news relevant to contemporary Hispanic America and promoting the positive contributions that Latinos have made to U.S. society.

  • Orlando Cruz, professional boxer and LGBT activist, will be honored with the Roberto Clemente Award for Sports Excellence, presented to an individual renowned in the world of sports and committed to the advancement of Hispanic Americans.

  • This year’s Raul Yzaguirre President’s Award, presented each year to an individual or organization that has shown outstanding support for NCLR’s mission, goals and philosophy, will be given to Wells Fargo, a dedicated and valued partner that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to strengthen NCLR’s efforts to increase economic opportunity for Latino families

The NCLR Awards Gala is co-sponsored by AARP, Charter Communications, Ford Motor Company Fund, PepsiCo and UPS.

Press who wish to cover the event must register for the NCLR Annual Conference here.


WHAT: 2016 NCLR Annual Conference Awards Gala 
WHO: Hispanic Unity of Florida, NCLR’s Affiliate of the Year
  Sylvia Mendez, recipient of the Graciela Olivarez La Raza Award
  Dr. Richard Izquierdo, recipient of the Maclovio Barraza Award for Leadership
  María Celeste Arrarás, recipient of the Ruben Salazar Award for Communications
  Orlando Cruz, recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award for Sports Excellence
  Wells Fargo, recipient of the Raul Yzaguirre President’s Award
WHEN: Monday, July 25, 2016, 7:30–9:30 p.m.
WHERE: Orange County Convention Center West Hall F
  Tangerine Ballroom
  9899 International Drive
  Orlando, FL 32819


NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.