According to the 2010 United States Census, 16 percent of its spoken population is of Hispanic or Latino origin. Spanish is the second most common language in the United States, which is the fifth largest Spanish-speaking country behind Mexico, Spain, Colombia and Argentina.
The Diamante Awards, hosted by The University of Toledo, will be held Friday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. at Premier Banquet Hall, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd.
This year’s event marks 25 years of honoring Latino leadership and achievements in northwest Ohio. The awards take place during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.The Diamante Awards recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding achievement and service to the Latino and greater Toledo communities. The event, a collaboration among Bowling Green State University, Herzing University, Lourdes University, Owens Community College and The University of Toledo, also serves to raise scholarship funds for Latino youth seeking advanced degrees.
“The Latino community grew over 50 percent since 2000. It currently is the largest ethnic community in the United States and shows no signs of slowing down. At this rate, by 2050, one in three U.S. citizens will be of Latino heritage,” said Margarita De Leon, Diamante Awards co-founder and volunteer chair. “The call for the Latino community to assume the mantle of leadership and to mentor and inspire younger leaders has never been greater.”
The 2014 award recipients are:
• Latino/Latina Youth Leadership: Stephanie Angel, whose research on stage-four brain tumors as a biology and pre-med major at The University of Toledo won first place in the cellular and molecular biology division and first place among undergraduate competitors at the Sigma Xi Research Symposium.
• Latino/Latina Adult Leadership: Mary Torres, who assists undocumented citizens with the naturalization process by helping them study and apply for the naturalization test.
• Latino/Latina Adult Professional: Dr. Gregory Guzman, former campus president of Herzing University in Toledo, the first Latino in northwest Ohio to hold such a position, and current executive director of Central City Ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.
• Corporation/Community Agency: Advocates for Basic Legal Equality Inc. and Legal Aid of Western Ohio Inc., which provide high-quality, civil legal assistance to low-income people of northwest Ohio and have maintained a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion.
• Friend of the Latino Community: Dr. Richard Paat, who has been providing free health care to the Latino communities of northwest Ohio, Guatemala and Honduras for more than 15 years.
Keynote speaker Juana Bordas will address topics from her award-winning book, The Power of Latino Leadership.
The Power of Latino Leadership won the 2014 International Latino Book Award for best leadership/business book. Bordas received the Peace Corps Franklin Williams Award for her lifelong commitment to advancing communities of color. She is president of Mestiza Leadership International, a company that focuses on leadership, diversity and organizational change.
“The Latino community is not a race, but a community bound by common cultural attributes and a fusion of all races. This unique makeup puts us in a powerful position to lead. Our ability to tap into the intrinsic nature of our multicultural background puts us in a powerful position to lead in a multicultural country, and a multicultural world, today and in the future,” De Leon said.
Visit DiamanteToledo.org for more information and to register for the event.