Dr. Patricia Téllez-Girón, associate professor for the University of Wisconsin & Family Medicine Department and chair of the Latino Health Council, has won many awards for her amazing work she’s done in the Madison community. But she was particularly excited about winning the Community Leader of the Year Award at the 8th Annual Hispanic Heritage Luncheon Celebration at the Monona Terrace and Community and Convention Center on Oct. 12.
“When I learned that I was getting this award, it was really a huge surprise for me. This award is very special to me because it’s the first time that I am being recognized by my own community,” Téllez-Girón told the crowd. “For those of us that are Latinos, we do the things that we do because we know that they need to be done. We just keep on going and going and going without ever expecting recognition.
“My award today is not only for me, but it’s for all of you – el grupo de los mismos – that keep on going and going and going,” she added. “All of you, you know who you are and you deserve this award as much as I deserve it. It’s very nice to be recognized. Thank you, La Movida – Lupita and Luis [Montoto].”
Téllez-Girón was one of the many outstanding Madisonians honored as La Movida Radio, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Latino Chamber of Commerce hosted its 8th Annual Hispanic Heritage Luncheon Celebration. Attorney Mario Mendoza of Murphy Desmond S.C. once again served as Master of Ceremonies for the event that featured special guest speaker Armando Ibarra, associate professor in the School for Workers at University of Wisconsin Extension.
Ibarra is the author of the new book “The Latino Question: Politics, Laboring Classes and the Next Left,” which offers a cutting-edge overview and analysis of the transformative nature of Latino politics in the United States.
“We are not new or recent. We are not foreign, alien, or criminal. We are part of the working class that provides the labor and material use to fabricate the physical and the imaginary tapestry that binds our America,” Ibarra says. “In short, for generations our heritage, nuestra herencia, has – and continues to – make America great.”
Ibarra talked about the recent ICE raids in Madison and how it devastated parts of the immigrant communities.
“But Madison gives me hope. Dane County gives me hope. People from all walks of life came forward to denounce these horrifying acts of violence against their fellow community members,” he says. “I was especially moved by Mayor [Paul] Soglin and County Executive [Joe] Parisi who not only immediately publicly denounced these actions, but also provided access to resources to people caught up in the raid.
“I was impressed by the County, City, and UW police departments who condemned these actions,” Ibarra added. “And deemed them counterproductive to public safety.”
There is beauty in change and change is inevitable, Ibarra said, and right now the United States is undergoing a beautiful and inevitable change.
“In Wisconsin, there are approximately 400,000 Latinos. They are the largest and fastest growing group in Madison. They are the largest and fastest growing group in Dane County. They are the largest and fastest growing group in Wisconsin and they are the largest and fastest growing group in the United States,” he said. “Latinos now count for 58 million people and they are transforming who we are as a country.
“For generations, our Hispanic heritage – however we define it – has been woven into our collective national identity,” he added. “Here’s a call to action: continue to engage civically in our democracy. Organize and challenge inequality. Embrace diversity and equity, it is normal. Random and conscious acts of kindness go a long way. And when necessary, don’t be afraid to take up the good fight against all odds.”
The Hispanic Achievement of the Year was presented to Leslie Orrantia, director of community relations at UW-Madison.
“This recognition is an honor. While I’m being recognized, we all know that it takes a village,” Orrantia said. “I have so much thanks and gratitude for my family for their unwavering support and encouragement. Education has been a profound part of my experience and has afforded me a snowballing opportunity. My family really grounded me – they gave me my history and they gave me my purpose and my aspiration.”
Orrantia recognized a lot of Latino “firsts” in the room.
“Those ‘firsts’ were made possible by a lot of people before them,” she said. “So while I want to celebrate this community that has given me purpose, I also want to recognize that we have a collective responsibility to our overall community because there will be seconds and thirds and fourths and fifths and generations to come of leadership and organization and care and collaboration across the community.”
At the 8th Annual Hispanic Heritage Luncheon Celebration, La Movida also presented the following awards:
•Community Institution of the Year: Safe Communities, Cheryl Wittke, Executive Director, Safe Communities Coalition
• The Amigo Award: Henry Sanders, CEO and Publisher of Madison365
• Hispanic Entrepreneurs of the Year: Marcio and Tia Sierra, owners of Lighthouse Christian School Madison
• Making a Difference Award: Hector Portillo, WSPEI Spanish Coordinator at CESA5
• Believe and Succeed Award: Jacqueline Suárez, Centro Hispano’s Immigration Services Coordinator