Outstanding Latinos Named Local Heroes

Outstanding Latinos Named Local Heroes

Eleven Californians Recognized for Contributions to Communities


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Los Angeles, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–September 20, 2004–Ricardo Rodriguez grew up in housing projects in East L.A. dreaming of a home with open floors, a yard and low fences. Today, as an architect, he is living that dream designing for others housing projects that resemble suburban town homes and not huge apartment complexes often associated with public housing.

Rodriguez received the Local Hero of the Year Award for his accomplishments as an entrepreneur and for his commitment to giving back to the community. The award from Union Bank of California, N.A., in partnership with Public Broadcasting Station affiliates in Los Angeles, Fresno and San Diego, was presented to Rodriguez and ten other recipients at a series of receptions held in the respective cities launching the bank’s Hispanic Heritage Month activities.

A partner of Quatro Design Group — an architectural design firm that specializes in designing communities with the concept of “defensible space” in mind to reduce the likelihood of crime — Rodriguez and his business partners, Javier Molina and David Scott Stokes, have designed several venues in East L.A. including an 11-unit affordable apartment complex and a 29,000-square-foot shopping center.

“This year’s honorees reflect those elements that strengthen our culture, community and nation. They set a good example individually and collectively for everyone to follow. Their work and dedication is truly inspirational and admirable,” said George Ramirez, market president for Union Bank.

Other honorees from Los Angeles were: Bonnie Abaunza, director of Amnesty International’s Artists for Amnesty Program, for her commitment to attract human rights activists; Zelenne L. Cardenas, director of prevention services for Social Model Recovery Systems, Inc., for advocating for safer, more humane living conditions for those living in the downtown L.A. area of Skid Row; Daniel A. Castro, Ph.D., president of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, for his efforts in education, empowering students to pursue four-year careers; and Victor Ledesma, public affairs director of Hispanic Outreach Taskforce, for his advocacy for affirmative action, quality in education, migrant education, drug prevention and the improvement of health care services.

The local heroes from the San Diego area were: Sylvia Galvez, founder and executive director of Sullivan’s Group Home and Sylvia’s Place, for her dedication to social services; Jovita Juarez, prevention specialist for the North City Prevention Coalition, for her community activism; Beatrice Fernandez, teacher/coordinator for San Diego City Schools and San Diego Parent University, for hercontribution to education; Mario Aguilar and Beatrice Zamora Aguilar, capitan and capitana at the Mexi’cayotl Indio Cultural Center, for their contribution to the arts; and Lupe Ortega, consultant for O’Day Consultants and owner of Ortega Enterprises.

Heroes from the Central Valley were: Amador Galvez, director of the Community Learning Center Leadership Program, for his commitment and dedication to mentoring and encouraging at-risk students in Kern County; Ernesto Palomino, for his involvement as an activist in the arts for more than 50 years; Angie Rios-Norman, founder, owner and CEO of The Rios Company, for her accomplishments as a business owner; Yammilette Rodriguez, assistant director of admissions with Fresno Pacific University, for her commitment to empowering students to pursue higher education; and Domingo Zapata, executive director of the Hispanic Commission for his dedication to planning and implementing alcohol and drug abuse prevention classes and campaigns designed for the at-risk migrant workers of the Central Valley.

The Local Hero of the Year Award recognizes the contributions and dedication of unsung heroes in the ethnic communities working in the arts, business, education, community activism and social services.

Based in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation (NYSE:UB) is a bank holding company with assets of $46.3 billion at June 30, 2004. Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank of California, N.A., had 297 banking offices in California, 4 banking offices in Oregon and Washington and 21 international facilities, at June 30, 2004. The company’s Web site is located at http://www.uboc.com.

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UnionBanCal Corporation

Alicia Romero



Sharon Woodson-Bryant


Outstanding Latinos Named Local Heroes