WASHINGTON, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–September 15, 2003–The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the nation’s leading Hispanic educational organization, will honor international superstar Ricky Martin, the nation’s only Hispanic governor, Bill Richardson, and long-standing pillar of the community Raul Yzaguirre at CHCI’s 26th Annual Gala, from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m., on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2003 at the MCI Center in Washington, DC. The star-studded, black-tie fundraiser is the nation’s largest gathering of Hispanic leaders in the country and raises $3 million for CHCI’s nationally recognized leadership development programs benefiting Latino youth.
Leaders from all sectors of society, including Congressional and Presidential Cabinet members, make-up the more than 2,200 attendees who gather at the central event commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month.
“CHCI’s Annual Gala is one of the most powerful leadership gatherings in the country,” said CHCI Chairman and San Antonio Congressman, Ciro Rodriguez. “The diversity of attendees, from the non-profit executive to the Presidential Cabinet member, represents a national sentiment that the Hispanic community and the development of its youth are critical to America’s future. At a growing rate of 5,000 per day, it has to be.”
This year, CHCI will honor Ricky Martin with the first Chairman’s Humanitarian Award for his global community service. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will receive the Medallion of Excellence for Leadership as the nation’s only Hispanic governor. National Council of La Raza Founder, President and CEO, Raul Yzaguirre, will receive the Medallion of Excellence for Community Service for his more than 35 years of national advocacy.
The Gala will be hosted by NBC’s The Other Half’s Mario Lopez, and will feature Ricky Martin in a special tribute to musical legend Celia Cruz, whose recent passing after a battle with cancer gripped millions worldwide. Army specialist Shoshanna Johnson of El Paso, Texas, whose mother is Panamanian, will be in attendance for the program’s recognition of Hispanic contributions to the war on terrorism. Johnson was one of 18 soldiers whose convoy was ambushed during the Iraqi war. She was among seven POWs rescued. Eleven died.
Puerto Rican salsa superstar Olga Tañon will headline the evening’s concert with a hip-shaking 90-minute performance. Opening will be Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, the first all-woman mariachi band.
CHCI, a non-profit and non-partisan educational 501(c)(3) organization, provides leadership development programs and educational services for Hispanic college and postgraduate students. The CHCI board of directors is comprised of Hispanic Members of Congress, non-profit leaders, and corporate executives.
Rolando Rodriguez, 202-543-1771, ext. 242