In his keynote remarks, political cartoonist and producer Lalo Alcáraz said the Latino trailblazers honored at the 17th annual Latino Spirit Awards ceremony are a great representation of California.
“All of these honorees, every single one, brings something to the table that represents what it is to be Californian,” said Alcáraz, a Latino Spirit Award honoree in 2004.
Alcáraz is renowned as the author of the comic ‘La Cucaracha,’ the first nationally syndicated, politically themed Latino daily comic strip that launched in 2002.
Every year, the state Latino Legislative Caucus honors Latinos in a variety of categories that range from athletics to business to public service to human rights.
Many of the honorees are pioneers in their respective fields and have overcome tremendous obstacles, rising to become role models and community leaders.
“Through their work, creativity, ingenuity, or service, they make California stronger and more bountiful,” said Alcáraz, a leading figure in the Chicano movement, who contributes political cartoons for LA Weekly, co-founded the political comedy troupe Chicano Secret Service, and hosts a radio show on KPFK called the ‘Pocho Hour of Power.’
Alcáraz served as a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design and is currently teaching illustration at Río Hondo College.
“They inspire us to grow, to live, to understand and respect one another. And to work even harder. And to be DREAMERs. And to be builders – of bridges, not walls,” said Alcáraz, who has also consulted on various films, most recently, on Academy Award-winning Pixar’s ‘Coco.’
He is currently a TV animation producer at Nickelodeon, where he is developing an animated Latino family show.
Alcáraz was consulting producer and writer on the animated show ‘Bordertown,’ which ran one, 13-episode season on Fox. It featured the first animated Mexican-American family on primetime American television.
The annual ceremony, which took place May 7, at the state Capitol during the Assembly floor session, serves as a reminder of the rich and diverse talent within the Latino community which is a source of inspiration to all Californians.
The Latino Spirit Awards coincide with the state’s celebration of Cinco de Mayo.
This year’s honorees included:
▪ Héctor Barajas-Varela, (U.S. Army veteran) Achievement in Military Service & Advocacy
▪ Melinda M. Cuellar, (Domestic violence advocate) Achievement in Community Empowerment
▪ Faith Estella Flórez, (Founder, Latina Legacy Foundation) 2018 Dynamic Youth Award
▪ F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc., (Gourmet coffee producers) Achievement in Business & Philanthropy
▪ Liz Hernández, (Journalist, TV personality) Achievement in Media & Entertainment
▪ Lupita Lomelí, (Host, ‘Arriba Valle Central’) Achievement in Journalism & Media
▪ Cheech Marín, (Actor, director, writer, musician, art collector) Achievement in Arts & Entertainment
▪ Chauncey Veatch, (Army veteran, school teacher) Friend of the Latino Community
▪ Kat Von D, (Tattoo artist, author, TV personality, musician, designer) Achievement in Business & Entertainment
“For 17 years now, the Latino Caucus has been proud to honor role models in the community with the Latino Caucus Latino Spirit Awards,” said Caucus Chairman, state Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego. “We’ve identified people who are committed to their communities, have excelled in their respective fields, and brought joy and honor to California. They are the essence of the Latino Spirit.”