Santa Rosa’s Los Cien creates ‘bridge builder’ and other awards
Nohemi Palomino is the “go-to” leader in Roseland, one of the “Mamas con Ganas” known for persevering and fiercely focusing to bring an idea into action. Among them was the Mochilada en Roseland, a backpack giveaway she helped spearhead that over the past four years has dispersed 400 backpacks full of school supplies, as well as 200 bikes and helmets, to needy kids in the southwest Santa Rosa area.
In her capacity as a community leader, Ana Lugo has frequently bridged critical gaps between the immigrant community and local government. During the October 2017 firestorms she drove a Spanish-language town hall meeting pushing for federal, state and local governments to provide appropriate services to immigrants who didn’t qualify for fire relief resources because of their immigration status.
Sandra Valencia, client services director for the Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County, for years has worked one on one with families to help them access state subsidized preschool or child care voucher programs.
All three of these women have been tenacious bridge builders between the Latino community and the broader community in Sonoma County. They are finalists for the Puente or Bridge Award, a new community service award created by Los Cien of Sonoma County to honor people who have served and advocated for the Latino community.
The organization will also confer a Ganas Award recognizing extraordinary effort on behalf of the community and a Campeon or Champion award for an organization or individuals who have been exceptional champions of the Latino community.
“There are a lot of community members and organizers reaching out beyond themselves and their day-to-day normal activities, and we wanted to really recognize their work,” said Magali Telles, the new executive director for Los Cien, Sonoma County’s leading Latino advocacy group. The organization is dedicated to encouraging civic involvement among Latinos by providing a platform for discussion of pressing issues as well as facilitating communication with political, civic and business leaders.
The new awards program furthers that with a show of recognition, encouragement and example, she said.
Los Cien will hand out the three new civic engagement awards at a special community “Puente & Ganas Awards” breakfast on Friday at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. The public is invited to attend the event, which includes an authentic Oaxacan breakfast catered by Sonoma County restaurateurs by Pedro and Octavio Diaz, who specialize in the fresh flavors of their home in the Valle Central along the base of the rugged Sierra Madre. Word is their mother, Juana Ramirez, who inspired their love of cooking, will be on hand making fresh, handmade tortillas and salsa.
There will also be mariachi music provided by students of the Luther Burbank Center Mariachi Ensemble, a group of 31 students that performs locally under the direction of Jose Soto. Tickets for the 7-9 a.m. event, which Los Cien hopes to do on an annual basis, are $50 or $750 for a table (loscien.org.)
Nominations for the Puente and the Ganas awards came in from the community at large, said Paco Cano, who is one of the founding volunteers with Los Cien and who is on the committee that selected the finalists from the eight to nine submissions that came from the community at large for each award.