Latino Town Hall to celebrate outstanding community leaders

September 02, 2011
Santa Paula News

Outstanding community leaders will be celebrated for their contributions when Latino Town Hall gives out numerous honors at its 15th Annual Award dinner.

Rudy Jimenez will be honored for Community Service, Dr. David Gomez for Education, Patricia Gomez will receive the Youth Award, Phil Rodriguez will be recognized for Sports, and Sylvia Huerta will be celebrated for Cultural Arts.

The Jess Victoria Business Award will be awarded to Panaderia La Michoacana, owned by Ruben Suarez, and the Raymond Garcia Humanitarian Award will celebrate Tomas D. and Rosalinda S. Lugu.

The Jess Victoria Business Award was named in honor of a longtime downtown Santa Paula business owner. The Raymond Garcia Humanitarian Award pays homage to the founder of Latino Town Hall.

The awards dinner will be held Friday, September 9 at 6 p.m. at Casa Del Mexicano, 218 S. 11th Street. Tickets are only $45 for the dinner, which will feature keynote speaker Dr. Rudy Acuña, professor, California State University - Northridge and University of California - Santa Barbara. 

Latino Town Hall President Dr. Gabino Aguirre is also expected to be on hand for the awards dinner, said LTH Vice President Tony Perez. Aguirre, a former city councilman, has been traveling throughout the state as a member of the Citizens Redistricting Committee, which just released new - and at times controversial - maps of districts to be represented on the state and federal levels. Based on Census data, the maps are redrawn every decade and the Citizens Redistricting Committee was voter mandated to handle the process and not state legislators, which had been the practice in the past.

Perez said the annual LTH Awards have historical significance. “Going way back - I’ve been in Santa Paula since 1957 - very few of Hispanic descent were recognized” by the wider community for their accomplishments. “We reach out to parts of the community that previously were overlooked, not by design but just because they were not singled out.”

And this years honorees, said Perez, have much in common with those who came before them. “They add a positive input to our community as a whole that makes Santa Paula what it is... a great community to live in. They are just a part of what makes up Santa Paula as a whole,” the main piece of the puzzle of what makes up the beautiful city known for friendly people and nonstop activities to benefit others.

Perez said his son and daughter are college graduates now working in their professions and living out of the area, but “They would love to come back and live here” if jobs were available. “They never stop talking about Santa Paula... it’s a great town, a beautiful community. It’s the people that make us great,” and Perez said the annual Latino Town Hall Awards reflect “just one part of that.”

Keynote speaker Dr. Acuña is the acclaimed author of “Occupied America: A History of Chicanos” and he has also written for the Los Angeles Times and La Opinión, among other newspapers. His work emphasizes the struggle of the Mexican American people. Acuña is also a noted activist who has supported numerous causes of the Chicano Movement.

For more information or for tickets to the 15th Annual Latino Town Hall Awards Dinner, call Perez at 525-1274 or Tina Urias at 794-6136.

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