Saturday, November 14, 2009

MALDEF's 35th Annual Awards Gala

On Thursday, November 12th, I attended MALDEF's 35th Annual Awards gala. It was held at the Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. As usual, the event was a who's who of local and national Latino talent. The over 1,000 attendees included movers and shakers from politics, media, law, business, education and every other industry.

The event honored Eva Longoria-Parker, Dr. Rodolfo Acuña, Anthony Solana Jr. and Anheuser Busch Cos.

Longoria-Parker was awarded with MALDEF's Community Service Award. Years ago I attended a fundraiser that benefitted children with cancer. It was Eva's early days as a supporter and philanthropist. In the years since, Eva's career has continued to grow as well as her personal wealth and network of high-net worth people (she's married to an NBA player). She has taken the opportunity to become more immersed in doing good things. I applaud that.

Rudy Acuña, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, is one of a handful of people still living that are responsible for the Chicano rights movement that began in the 1960s. If you were to create an all-time panel of Chicano rights activists, Rudy would share a table with Cesar E. Chavez. Seeing him up on stage, still full of life and energy and never apologizing for his commitment to doing the right thing was insprirational to everyone in attendance...even the non-Latinos!

Anthony Solana Jr. received the Legal Service Award (MALDEF is a legal advocate). Anthony is the founder, president, and chairperson of For People of Color, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization whose mission is to diversity the legal profession. He is also the author of "A Guide to the Law School Application Process For People of Color" and "A Guide to the Bar Examination For People of Color." Anthony received the award for his commitment to helping the community in which grew up. Coincidentally, the church he attended is a block away from Pan American Bank's East Los Angeles headquarters.

All in, it was a very inspiring event. No matter how much I think I've acheived and how much good I've done in this world, events like this humble you and let you know that there is always more that can be done. No matter what your cause or beliefs, get out there and make a difference!

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