FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 2, 2015
MEDIA CONTACTS: Carole Trottere, Ryan Mulholland, Sam Marksheid, and Rebecca Cheng | (516) 869-7794
Town Honors Influential Hispanic-American Residents During Hispanic Heritage Month
North Hempstead, NY – North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the Town Board honored nine local Hispanic-American residents at Town Hall on September 29th as part of the Town’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Those honored were recognized for positively influencing the North Hempstead community in a variety of ways.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, and provides an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans and to celebrate the group’s history, heritage and culture. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American Countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.
Speaking of the evening’s honorees, Supervisor Bosworth said, “The individuals honored for Hispanic-American Heritage month inspire all of us. They have put their hearts and souls into their work and enhanced our communities in the process. We are all enriched by their contributions.”
This year’s honorees were:
- Tiffany Gonzalez (honored by Supervisor Judi Bosworth): Gonzalez is a resident of Westbury, and a nurse at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. Tiffany fills an important role by mentoring new hires in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), to ensure they can master the clinical skills necessary to provide appropriate care. Tiffany is also bilingual and speaks fluent Spanish, which is critical in helping Hispanic families deal with language barriers while receiving care.
- Francisco Villagran (honored by Supervisor Judi Bosworth): Villagran, who currently lives in Port Washington, was born in Mexico City, where he began his career as an artist, most notably in 1974, winning 2nd place in etching in the National Contest of Mexico. One of the newest members of the Town’s rejuvenated Arts Advisory Committee, Villagran has had his work displayed in galleries throughout New York City and Long Island.
- Mateo Flores (honored by Councilwoman Viviana Russell, District 1): Flores of Westbury, was born in El Salvador and came to the United States in 1981. Currently a resident of Westbury, Flores holds the position of EOC Executive Program Director for Hempstead and Westbury Flores works with low-income and disenfranchised youth and families, providing direct services and advocacy including, but not limited to: immigration, human rights, emergency food and shelter, summer youth programs, youth council programs, and more.
- Juan Barrios (honored by Councilman Peter Zuckerman, District 2): Barrios, of New Hyde Park, who is of Colombian ancestry, is a resident of Herricks and has been heavily involved in the Herricks School District for close to two decades. Some of Barrios’ volunteer positions include the Committee Co-Chair of Denton Avenue’s First Annual Heritage Week from 2009-2011, and the Chair of the Herricks School District PTA Council Traffic Committee. He has also received the Denton Avenue PTA Life Time Member Award.
- Ines Corona-Diaz & Luis Diaz (honored by Councilman Angelo Ferrara, District 3): Corona-Diaz & Diaz, second generation Dominican-Americans, live in Garden City Park and have been married for 30 years. They are Garden City Park Civic Leaders who have organized and co-hosted the 2014 GCP Town Holiday Party, and are actively involved in their church parish, Corpus Christi, and the Catholic Ministries Appeal.
- J.A. Hernandez (honored by Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, District 4): Hernandez of Manhasset, serves as a board member of the Strathmore Vanderbilt Country Club and has had a vast career in banking and real estate development as well as spending time at Sewanhaka and Floral Park High Schools teaching first year Spanish, seeing 83 percent of his students achieve Mastery level on the NYS Proficiency exam.
- Maria Elisa Cuadra-Fernandez (honored by Councilwoman Lee Seeman, District 5): Cuadra-Fernandez is the Chairperson of the Long Island Hispanic Coalition where she assures human rights and provides advocacy and promotes economic empowerment of Latino immigrant families and their children. She also serves as the Executive Director/CEO of COPAY. She is fully bilingual and works with area elected officials, leaders and funders, while supervising a large team of interdisciplinary professionals.
- Dr. Cecilia Escamilla (honored by Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio, District 6): Dr. Escamilla is a native of El Salvador and currently works as a social worker at the Port Washington School District. Dr. Escamilla is an active member of the community and her vision goes beyond the school setting. She has created different programs for the students and their parents – most recently she created College Pioneers Mentoring Program for students who will be the first in their family to attend college.
After the awards ceremony, attendees were invited to step outside the Board Room, where the Town provided a sampling of several Latin American dishes, including empanadas, rice & beans, chipotle chicken, and a tres leches cake.
For more information on the Town’s honorees or Hispanic Heritage Month, please call 311 or visit www.NorthHempsteadNY.gov.