2024 Latino Spirit Awards

Every year, the California Latino Legislative Caucus presents the Latino Spirit Award honor to prominent Latinos in technology, journalism & media, literature, health & science, advocacy, business, education, human rights, arts, public service, and entertainment. Each honoree being recognized has made pioneering contributions in their respective fields, rising to become role models and community leaders. They remind us of the talent within our diverse Latino community and inspire all Californians.

Honoring inspirational figures within our diverse Latino community, the Latino Spirit Awards have been a beacon of hope and celebration since their establishment in 2002. With each passing year, these awards continue to shine a light on the incredible achievements and contributions of our Latino community, reminding us all of the boundless potential within each and every one of us.


Below are the recipients of the 22nd Annual Latino Spirit Awards:

V AguilarVanessa Aguilar (Achievement in Youth Athletics)
Vanessa Aguilar is a Soledad native who was called to play in the U-17 division of the Mexican National Soccer Team. She started playing soccer at the age of eight and has played for the Bay Area Surf and San Francisco Glens. In March 2023, Vanessa was called to participate in the Montaigu Tournament in France with the U-17 Mexican National Team. During the semifinals, Vanessa’s performance led to a crucial goal in the 100th minute, propelling Mexico to the finals against the USA. Her talent and dedication have not only made her a local hero but also a rising star on the international soccer stage. Vanessa’s soccer journey soared with achievements last year, including making the prestigious Gothia Cup roster through the Player Development Program, earning a spot on the ECNL U-16 first team, and distinguishing herself as the top scorer for the ECNL league with Bay Area Surf.
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Rafael Agustín (Achievement in Cinema & Literature)
Rafael Agustín was a writer on the award-winning TV show Jane The Virgin, was the founding Executive Director of the Youth Cinema Project, and was nameda “Power Player” in the inaugural LA Vanguardia class by the LA Times. He is a Board Member of the Center for Investigative Reporting (Mother Jones, Reveal), the oldest nonprofit investigative newsroom in the United States, and of the National Film Preservation Board at the Library of Congress. He is also the author of the bestselling memoir Illegally Yours (Grand Central Publishing).
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Cástulo de la Rocha (Achievement in Health Care)
Cástulo de la Rocha is President and CEO of AltaMed Health Services Corporation. Under his leadership, AltaMed has transformed from a storefront barrio clinic in East Los Angeles into one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Centers in the nation, with over 5,000 employees and more than 75 sites across Southern California. Every year, AltaMed provides essential health and human services to more than 500,000 patients. An avid believer in the healing power of art, Mr. de la Rocha has spent 30 years assembling the AltaMed Art Collection. It features works from emerging and established artists and lives on rotating display across the AltaMed network. Mr. de la Rochaserves on several boards and his “whole community” approach to health care has earned him numerous awards and honors.
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Joe L. Del Bosque(Achievement in Agriculture Business)
Joe L. Del Bosque is a civic leader and lifelong farmer from Firebaugh, California. After years of migrant farm work, Del Bosque’s familysettled in the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley. There he grew up working on the farm with his father, starting at the age of 10, and upon graduating fromCSU Fresno in 1975, Del Bosque established his own melon farm in 1985. Today his farm produces organic melons, organic tomatoes, almonds, and cherries. Del Bosque is a vocal advocate for farmers impacted by water policies. In 2010, Del Bosque was appointed to serve on the California Water Commission. He currently serves on the Ag Foundation Board at Fresno State, is on the Board of Directors of AMOR Wellness, and is a member of the California Melon Research Board. He is also a member of the California Latino Water Coalition, Western Growers Association, and California FarmBureau.
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Ignacio A. Gomez (Achievement in Art & Civil Rights)
Ignacio A. Gomez was born and raised in East Los Angeles and is a graduate of Art Center College of Design. His most famous painting is of Edward James Olmos as “El Pachuco” for the Luis Valdez play “Zoot Suit,” which debuted on Broadway in 1979. The “Zoot Suit” image is now in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Ignacio has worked on various motion picture posters and advertising campaigns, some of which are now in corporate collections. In 2004, Ignacio designed, sculpted, and painted the César E. Chávez Memorial, the largest in the United States, for the City of San Fernando, California. He also designed César E. Chávez’ headstone in La Paz, Keene, California. In 2012, President Barack Obama dedicated the gravesite and the César E. ChávezCenter as the César E. Chávez National Monument. In 2013, a new César E. Chávez Memorial, designed and sculpted by Ignacio, was unveiled in the City of Riverside, California. In 2019, Ignacio was commissioned to design/sculpt bronze statues of César E. Chávez, Dolores Huerta and 10farmworkers for Clinicas in Oxnard, California. In 2021, Ignacio designed and sculpted the Mendez Memorial, honoring the historic Mendez v. Westminster case, in the city of Westminster, California. At present, Ignacio finished sculpting a life-size figure of CheechMarin for the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture in Riverside, California. He also has hiswork in The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, LACMA and The Autry Museum of the American West.
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Jorge R. Gutierrez (Achievement in Animation & Film)
Emmy Award-winning Jorge R. Gutierrez is an animator, painter, voice actor, writer, and director born in Mexico City and raised in Tijuana. A CalArts BFA and MFA graduate, Gutierrez has completed various films, cartoons, and paintings exploring his love affair with Mexican pop and folk culture.Gutierrez was Director and Co-Writer of the Guillermo del Toro-produced animated feature The Book of Life, which earned him a 2014 Golden Globe Award nomination. Along with his wife and muse, Sandra Equihua, they created the multiple Emmy Award-winning animated series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera for Nickelodeon. Gutierrez most recently created, wrote, and directed the event series Maya and the Three for Netflix, which won four Emmys. Gutierrez also wrote and directed the animated feature named I, Chihuahua with Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias.
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Dr. José M. Hernández (Achievement in Science & Philanthropy)
Dr. José M. Hernández is a former migrant farmworker selected by NASA as a member of their 19th class of astronauts in 2004. After completinghis training, he was selected for a mission in 2007. He flew as the flight engineer in the 2009 14-day STS-128 mission aboard Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station. Hernández also worked at NASA as the Branch Chief of the Materials and Processes Branch at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Prior to this, he spent more than 15 years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). He then went on to co-develop the first full-field digital mammography system for the early detection of breast cancer, and was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 2023, the Amazon Prime biopic “A Million Miles Away” was released about his path from an immigrant farmworker to becoming an engineer and an astronaut. It is based on his 2012 autobiography “Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut.” Today, Hernández works as a consultantwithin the company he founded in 2012, Tierra Luna Engineering, and serves on the University of California Board of Regents.
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Lupita Infante (Achievement in Music & Entertainment)
The critically adored Mexican-American singer-songwriter Lupita Infante is a leading female face in the new generation of Musica Mexicana artists. In 2023, Lupita released her album “Amor Como En Las Películas De Antes,” which was nominated at the 2024 GRAMMYs® for “Best Musica Mexicana Album,” making this her second-ever GRAMMY® nomination. Her name is familiar to tens of millions of Mexicans, as she is the granddaughter of Pedro Infante Cruz, the most beloved Mexican singer and actor of the 20th century. With a multitude of awards and recognitions, such as the Mayor’s Excellence Award from her hometown of Downey, CA, being featured in the 2024 People en Español’s “Most Powerful Women of 2024” list, and being a two-time Latin GRAMMYs® nominee, Lupita Infante is solidifying her place in becoming one of the most beloved Musica Mexicana artists of the new generation.
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Doris Anahí Muñoz (Achievement in Art & Music)
Doris Anahí Muñoz is a Whittier-born, San Bernardino-raised, Los Angeles/Mexico City-based singer-songwriter who has been rooted in the ground where art andactivism meet from the start of her career. Doris began her journey as an artist manager and founder of Solidarity For Sanctuary, a concert series that originated from a very personal need to help her own undocumented parents in their legal process, rapidly growing into benefiting immigrants’ rights organizations from coast to coast. Her story caught the eye of director Isabel Castro, who then created the feature-length documentary “Mija” about Dorisand her family’s journey, which premiered at Sundance 2022. In the same year, Doris released her debut EP “Aprendiendo Por Las Malas” to critical acclaim from the likes of Billboard and Rolling Stone. In December of 2023, Doris released her sophomore EP “Por Las Buenas,” celebrating with shows in her two homes of Mexico City and Los Angeles. Her hope is to be able to continue to uplift her community through music, storytelling, and advocacy.
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Pilar Niño (Achievement in Journalism)
Pilar Niño, an esteemed reporter for Telemundo 48, stands as a beacon of journalistic integrity and community advocacy. With an illustrious career marked by 10 Emmy Awards, celebrating her outstanding reporting in breaking news, continuous coverage, and videography, Niño has become a revered voice within the Spanish-speaking communities of Northern California. Beyond her journalistic prowess, Niño is a devoted mother and a fervent champion for social justice, civil rights, immigrant rights, education, and economic empowerment. Her tireless efforts were recognized with the prestigious Dolores Huerta Lifetime Achievement Award at San Francisco’s 17th Annual Latino Heritage Month Celebration in September 2023, underscoring her unwavering commitment to uplifting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Niño’s impact transcends her reporting; she collaborates with local authorities and community organizations to address pressing issues, embodying the spirit of activism and positive change. Her impartial storytelling is a source of inspiration, resonating with audiences and driving meaningful dialogue.
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Dr. Diana E. Ramos MD, MPH, MBA (Achievement in Public Service & Health)
Dr. Diana E. Ramos is a renowned public health leader, and California’s second Surgeon General and first Latina Surgeon General. As California’s Doctor, she is the leading spokesperson on the most pressing public health issues of the time within the State of California. Her mission is to advance the health and well-being of all Californians. Raised in South Central Los Angeles, Dr. Ramos received her medical degree from University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at the now named Los Angeles General Medical Center. She also holds a Master of Public Health degree from UCLA and a Master of Business Administration degree from the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business. Over the past three decades, Dr. Ramos has provided reproductive care tothousands of Californians as an Obstetrician Gynecologist at Southern California KaiserPermanente. Dr. Ramos’ leadership spans from the local level in Los Angeles County where she served as the Director for Reproductive Health, Chair for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, California & Ecuador (IX) District, Women’s Preventive Services Initiative, American Medical Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, and many others. Prior to her appointment as the California Surgeon General, she served as the Assistant Deputy Director of Chronic Disease Prevention for the California Department of Public Health.
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Maite Gomez-Rejón (Achievement in Culinary Arts)
Maite Gomez-Rejón, founder of ArtBites, explores the nexus of art and culinary history through lectures, tastings, and cooking classes in museums across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum. She has been a guest on the Today Show, featured in Food & Wine and Hyperallergic and interviewed on Good Food (KCRW) and The Food Programme (BBC). Her writings have appeared in many publications, including Eaten Magazine, Gastro Obscura, and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Maite’s curatorial work includes exhibits on the history of maize and cacao, and of the forgotten legacy of Mexican culinary pioneer Josefina Velázquez de León (currently on view at LA Plaza Cocina de Gloria Molina in Los Angeles). She co-hosts Hungry for History with Eva Longoria on iHeart Radio’s My Cultura Podcast Network. Maite holds a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Grand Diplome from The French Culinary Institute in New York City. She worked in restaurant kitchens in France and Mexico before combining her passions for food, art, and history in 2007 when she founded ArtBites.
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Diana Maria Riva (Achievement in Advocacy & Entertainment)
In an impressive career spanning over two decades, Diana Maria Riva has established herself as a dominant force in television and film. She is best known for starring alongside Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in the Netflix hit series Dead to Me, which resulted in Diana receiving an Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actress, and a Sag-Aftra Award Nomination for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. In 2021. Riva starred in the HBO Max series The Gordita Chronicles, as "Adela Castelli”. Riva also starred alongside Eva Longoria in NBC's half-hour comedy Telenovela. On the big screen, Diana co-starred in Disney’s McFarland, USA with Kevin Costner, Love and Mercy with John Cusak and Elizabeth Banks, and in Disney’s holiday film Noelle with Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader.

Diana recently added “activist” to her résumé, originating the idea of LATINAS ACTING UP, a group of SAG-AFTRA Latinas who gathered to stand together and picket in solidarity in support of their Union. Seeing a need for Latinas in the industry to have a community of empowerment, Diana joined forces with actor Lisa Vidal and the two nurtured and grew Latinas Acting Up into a meaningful platform, offering industry Latinas support, mentorship, resources, and community, all while striving to raise the visibility of Latinas within the industry.
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MANA de San Diego (Achievement in Community Empowerment)
MANA de San Diego (MANASD) is the largest chapter of a national Latina organization. Established in 1986, its mission is to transform communities by empowering Latinas to achieve upward mobility and a better quality of life. MANA short for “Hermana,” the Spanish word for sister, is a dynamic sisterhood of Latinas bound together by common culture and goals. In 38 years, MANASD has built a beloved community of support to empower Latinas through education, leadership development, community service, and advocacy. From its flagship Hermanitas Program serving Latina middle and high school students, to the Latina Success Leadership Program focused on mid-level professionals, MANASD serves Latinas at every stage of their lives. Through MANASD programs, Latinas reach their goals and gain the resources to not only provide for themselves and their families, but to reciprocate and pay it forward in a variety of ways that contribute to thriving communities throughout our region. When a Latina succeeds, she creates generational change that benefits the entire state of California.
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Nancy Sutley (Achievement in Public Service)
Nancy Sutley leads Mayor Bass’ environmental, energy, and sustainability policy and programs. Sutley was previously the Senior Assistant General Managerof External and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where she oversaw all external relations activities for the nation’s largest municipally owned utility. Prior to that, Sutley led the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for five years during the administration of President Barack Obama, a position for which she was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate. Sutley previously served as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
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Lisa Vidal (Achievement in Advocacy & Entertainment)
Award-winning actor Lisa Vidal played on television and in film for the past 40 years, reflecting the diversity of the Latino community while also building it up. She recently starred intheABC romantic comedy-drama “The Baker and the Beauty.” She will next be seen in the Emmy-nominated series “Ms. Pat” on BET and the second season of the Gloria Calderón Kellett series “With Love” for Amazon. She had appearances on the popular television series “The Cosby Show” and “Miami Vice,” she starred in two “ABC After School Specials:” “Class Act: A Teacher’s Story” and “In the Shadow of Love: A Teen AIDS Story.” Vidal starred opposite Gabrielle Union on the critically acclaimed BET series “Being Mary Jane.” For her performance as Kara Lynch, Vidal received an Imagen Foundation Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has also recurred on the Fox Series “Rosewood” and appeared on the Emmy-nominated Showtime series “Shameless,” FX’s “American Horror Story,” and NBC’s “Grimm.” Other notable television credits include “Boston Legal,” “CSI Miami,” “The Division,” “ER,” “Third Watch,” “Southland,” “The Event,” “Chicago PD,” “New York Undercover,” “High Incident” and “The Brian Benben Show.” Vidal has starred in the acclaimed blockbuster “Star Trek” as well as the television movie “Odd Girl Out,” for which she received an Imagen Foundation Award for Best Actress. A breast cancer survivor, Vidal is a vocal proponent of early detection and has worked alongside the American Cancer Society to helpraiseawareness. She is the co-founder of Latinas Acting Up, an organization representing underpaid and exploited Latinas and workers across all entertainment industries.
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Links to photo galleries of previous Latino Spirit Award celebrations:
Photo Gallery: 2023 Latino Spirit Awards (May 1, 2023)
Photo Gallery: 2022 Latino Spirit Awards (May 2, 2022)
Photo Gallery: 2021 Latino Spirit Awards (May 5, 2021)
Photo Gallery: 2019 Latino Spirit Awards (May 6, 2019)
Photo Gallery: 2018 Latino Spirit Awards (May 7, 2018)
Photo Gallery: 2017 Latino Spirit Awards (May 1, 2017)
Photo Gallery: 2016 Latino Spirit Awards (May 1-2, 2016)
Photo Gallery: 2015 Latino Spirit Awards (May 3-4, 2015)
Photo Gallery: 2014 Latino Spirit Awards (May 4-5, 2014)
Photo Gallery: 2013 Latino Spirit Awards (May 5-6, 2013)
Photo Gallery: 2001-2012 Latino Spirit Award Honorees

Links to Videos of Latino Spirit Award celebrations:
2021 Latino Spirit Awards Highlights video
2019 Latino Spirit Awards Highlights video (produced by the CA State Senate)
2019 Latino Spirit Awards highlights video (produced by the CA State Assembly)