California Latino Caucus Honors Ten Trailblazers from Across the State at 2021 Latino Spirit Awards

May 05, 2021

SACRAMENTO -  The California Latino Legislative Caucus has announced its ten honorees for the 19th Annual Latino Spirit Awards, a diverse group of Latino leaders from throughout California and across various professions.


“The Latino Spirit Awards are about recognizing and honoring the great accomplishments of Latinos across California, who represent the largest population of Latinos anywhere in the country, and across the United States in general,” said Latino Caucus Chair Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles). “We are very excited to recognize this year’s honorees who are at the top of their respective industries - in broadcasting, in public service, in the arts, and many others.”


“Latinos in California have challenged the frontiers of social, economic, and environmental justice and have strengthened and uplifted our state in countless ways,” said Latino Caucus Vice-Chair Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister). “I am proud that through the Latino Spirit Awards, our Caucus can recognize and celebrate this year’s honorees for their outstanding contributions to our state and beyond.”


The 2021 Latino Spirit Award Honorees are:


Dr. Jeffrey Garcia, Achievement in Health & Science 

Dr. Jeffrey Garcia, OD, has been practicing optometry at Family Eye Care Optometry in Lemoore, California, since 1996. In that time, he has grown his optometry business to four doctors and 18 staff members with three Central Valley locations. Family Eye Care Optometry has generously given back to its community, providing free eye exams and eyeglasses throughout Kings County, primarily focusing on rural unserved areas.


Reyna Grande, Achievement in Literature & Advocacy

Reyna Grande is the author of the bestselling memoir, The Distance Between Us (Atria 2012), where she writes about her life before and after arriving in the United States from Mexico as

an undocumented child immigrant. The much-anticipated sequel, A Dream Called Home, was released in 2018. Her other works include the novels, Across a Hundred Mountains (Atrial 2006) and Dancing with Butterflies (2009) which were published to critical acclaim. Her books have been adopted as the common read selection by schools, colleges, and cities across the country. 


Maria Hinojosa, Achievement in Journalism & Media

Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning trailblazer in news and investigative journalism. Her 30-year history reporting on critical issues and focusing on the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad have won her the highest levels of recognition in journalism, including four Emmy Awards.  Hinojosa dreamt of a space where she could create independent, multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience. She made that dream a reality in 2010 when she created Futuro Media, an independent, nonprofit newsroom based in Harlem, NYC with the mission to create multimedia content from a person of color perspective. Hinojosa, as the Anchor and Executive Producer of the Peabody Award-winning show “Latino USA” and Co-Host of Futuro Media’s award-winning political podcast “In The Thick,” is able to provide coverage of issues that are of critical importance to the Latino community and helps give a voice to the civic and social justice issues facing a more diverse America.


Jaime Jarrín, Achievement in Radio Broadcasting & Philanthropy

Jaime Jarrín is the Spanish language voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers. One of the most recognizable voices in Hispanic broadcasting, Jarrín, “the Spanish Voice of the Dodgers,” is also heard on Spectrum SportsNet LA’s SAP channel. His soothing voice, combined with his colorful descriptions of game action, welcomes listeners of all ages to the Dodger Spanish-language broadcasts. Jarrin honed his craft of baseball play-by-play since he arrived in Los Angeles from his native Quito, Ecuador, in 1959. Instrumental in building a large base of Latino listeners to Dodger broadcasts, Jarrín has always been a class representative of the Dodger organization.


Carlos & Linda Legerrette, Achievement in Community Empowerment

Carlos and Linda LeGerrette, inspired by freedom rights activist Cesar Chavez, and merchandising magnate Sol Price, promote civic engagement and community service activities in San Diego via their Chavez Clubs organization and its 500 young members known as Chavistas. Wanting to pass on the organizing lessons the LeGerrette’s learned through their 53-years of activism, they founded the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs in 2001 after California created Cesar Chavez Day in honor of Cesar Chavez. The San Diego natives had worked with Chavez for 12 years, beginning as idealistic college students in 1967. They then mentored under Sol Price for eight years, starting in 1983. Inspired to engage the next generation in civic participation and community service, the Chavez Clubs, located in 22 schools, learn civic responsibility and leadership through a 10-point curriculum founded on values Chavez embodied, including nonviolence, respect, and service. 


Frank V. Líma, Achievement in Public Service

Frank V. Líma has dedicated his life to family, firefighting and organized labor. Hired into his dream job in the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) at the age of 19, Lima rose through the ranks as a firefighter, apparatus operator, engine captain, and truck company captain. Now, in his 29th year of service, Líma continues to be active in the field. Just as he worked and earned his way through the ranks of the LAFD, Líma put the same dedication into the work of the union, starting as a station steward and later elected to the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (UFLAC) Local 112 Executive Board as a director, vice president, lead negotiator and eventually president in 2012. In 2016, Líma was unanimously elected as International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) 10th District Vice President, where he unified members from California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Arizona and Guam. In 2021, Líma was elected to serve as only the 12th General Secretary-Treasurer in the history of the IAFF, and the first Latino in this role.


Patty Rodriguez, Achievement in Business & Philanthropy

Patty Rodriguez is a nationally recognized entrepreneur. When she’s not raising her two beautiful children, Alexander and Oliver, she’s busy as the senior producer for “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” and MALA, her jewelry line worn by artists and celebrities. Patty also co-founded “Lil’Libros,” a publishing house that has now reached over a million dollars in revenue. Other than being a successful woman, Patty is dedicated to giving back to her community. From community events to local library speaking opportunities, she continuously keeps herself engaged. She is a role model and a thought leader in the Latino community. So much so that her grassroots campaign to persuade MAC Cosmetics to create a collection honoring the late Selena Quintanilla turned out to be a success. MAC x Selena was released on October 1, 2016.


Mary Casillas Salas, Achievement in Public Service

Mary Casillas Salas is a public servant whose South Bay roots run five generations deep. Born and raised in Chula Vista, she has dedicated her career and life’s work to family and to the community she loves. She began her public service on the Chula Vista Civil Service Commission in 1991 and was then appointed to the City’s Planning Commission in 1993, where she served until she was elected to the Chula Vista City Council in 1996. After leaving the Council in 2004, she served as a Director of the Sweetwater Authority/South Bay Irrigation District. In 2006, she was elected to the California State Assemly where she chaired the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. Her love of community spurred her to once again seek election to the Chula Vista City Council, so she ran and was elected in 2012. In 2014, she made history as the first elected Latina mayor in Chula Vista and the County of San Diego.


Simón Silva, Achievement in the Arts

Simón Silva is a distinguished artist, acclaimed speaker, and celebrated author who champions the way for a society filled with confident, creative, and critical thinkers equipped with the 21st- century skills necessary to better the world. Born in Mexicali, Mexico and raised in the Imperial Valley as a migrant field worker - Silva used his challenging childhood and harsh working conditions as inspiration to pursue a better life. Despite the odds not being in his favor, Silva graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the ArtCenter College of Design. Silva’s renowned artwork has become a global sensation; and beautifully complements his message of hope, perseverance, and individuality. Silva enjoys traveling the country sharing how to “Cultivate a Creative Mind” at his in-demand workshops and keynotes; inspiring others to overcome their obstacles, embrace their individuality, which (Silva discovered firsthand) is their greatest asset, and regain their creative confidence. 


The Latino Spirit Awards were established in 2002 at the State Capitol in Sacramento to highlight positive role models within our diverse Latino community. 


Many of the honorees are pioneers in their respective fields and have overcome tremendous obstacles, rising to become role models and community leaders.


The honorees were acknowledged on each floor of the legislature Monday during presentations by Latino Caucus Chair Durazo in the Senate and Vice-Chair Rivas in the Assembly and subsequent affirmative vote to declare May 2, 2021 - May 8, 2021 as Cinco de Mayo Week in California.


The presentations can be viewed here: 


Senate Video:[senate-floor-session-20210503]=914.014826  


Assembly Video:[assembly-floor-session-20210503]=4777.776047 




Michael Tonetti / / (213) 280-6917

Elizabeth Stitt / / (916) 802-1276