Master of Ceremonies Jesse Ornelas celebrates the 15th Annual Latino Town Hall Awards with (l-r) Martin Hernandez representing Supervisor Kathy Long; Thomas and Rosalinda Lugo; LTH Founding President Bob Borrego; Dr. David Gomez; Rudy Jimenez; Silvia Huerta-Wetherbee; Phil Rodriquez; Patricia Gomez; Cristina Flores representing Assemblyman Das Williams; LTH President Dr. Gabino Aguirre and his granddaughter Rose.

Latino Town Hall Awards celebrate community, hears Dr. Acuña

November 09, 2011
Santa Paula News

The capacity crowd that attended the recent 15th Annual Latino Town Hall Awards and the featured speaker Dr. Rodolfo “Rudy” Acuña were testaments to the ongoing viability of the organization.

Outstanding community leaders celebrated for their contributions were Rudy Jimenez for Community Service, Dr. David Gomez for Education, Patricia Gomez with the Youth Award, Phil Rodriguez for Sports, and Sylvia Huerta-Wetherbee for Cultural Arts.

The Jess Victoria Business Award was awarded to Panaderia La Michoacana, owned by Ruben Suarez, and the Raymond Garcia Humanitarian Award celebrated community activists Thomas D. and Rosalinda S. Lugu.

Dr. Gabino Aguirre, LTH president, welcomed the crowd that filled Casa del Mexicano where all the recipients drew cheers for their contributions to community and Acuña more cheers for his remarks.

Robert “Bob” Borrego, a LTH co-founder and founding president of the organization, said Acuña - the acclaimed author of “Occupied America: A History of Chicanos” who has also written for the Los Angeles Times and La Opinión, among other newspapers – was “Always on the frontlines of Latino causes and his work emphasizes the struggle of the Mexican American people.”

Borrego has known Acuña - a noted activist who has supported numerous causes of the Chicano Movement – for decades. In fact, Borrego’s daughter then Diana Borrego, while then a student of Acuña’s at California State University Northridge, became more and more politically active. 

Bob Borrego said Acuña, who has a doctorate in history, became the founding chair of the Chicana/o Studies department at then San Fernando Valley State (now CSUN).

It is now the largest Chicano Studies program in the nation.

But initially as a student himself Acuña’s academic advisor advised him to teach Spanish, or physical education because “Mexicans don’t have a history… ”

“Professor Acuña was outraged, which led him to pursue a doctorate in history,” specializing in northern Mexico and the Mexican origin of people in the United States. 

Borrego said Acuña “Was and is an inspiration to “and all people who believe in social justice, including my daughter,” who was only one of six Latino’s enrolled in CSUN when it had a 22,000-student enrollment.

Her own career started as counselor with a MFFC degree and Borrego later went into education where her skills as a counselor, outreach consultant and later school psychologist showed she was a “Dynamic worker. Diana,” said her father, “was out many evenings in her community,” working with students and their parents as well as to further social justice. 

Borrego noted that upon her retirement his daughter was honored with inclusion on a school mural placed among traditional American heroes.

Master of Ceremonies Jesse Ornelas led the call of “Here come two angels!” as Thomas and Rosalinda Lugo were honored with the LTH’s highest honor, the Ray Garcia Humanitarian Award for their decades of charitable work helping Santa Paula families in need.

Volunteers for the past 12 years with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul/St. Sebastian Conference, the Lugos said Borrego “Never have sought recognition, but they have consistently gone out of their way to help those less fortunate,” with food, money and even furniture.

The Lugos serve at the Food Pantry which each week serves up to 1,500, help prepare food as well as serve those by conducting home visits, delivering meals, help families with utility billing extension requests and help those in need in many other ways.

All those honored also received Proclamations from representatives of Supervisor Kathy Long and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, among other recognitions.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.