Washington, D.C – The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) held its 15th Annual Gala & Leadership Awards on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Washington, DC. CHLI honored the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, Congresswomen Nita Lowey and Kay Granger (Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee), and celebrated the life and legacy of CHLI Alumna Wendy Martinez.
CHLI was honored to be joined by Alex Acosta, United States Secretary of Labor, John Barsa, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Homeland Security Office of Partnership and Engagement (now the Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development), Allen Gutierrez, Associate Administrator of Entrepreneurial Development, Small Business Administration, CHLI Alumna Nina Roque, Executive Director, National Women’s Business Council, and Carlos Diaz-RosilloSenior Deputy Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities. Also attending were multiple Members of Congress and members of the diplomatic corps.
For the first time, CHLI and its Alumni Association presented The Wendy Martinez CHLI Alumni Community Engagement Award, to Wendy’s family, in honor of the late Wendy Martinez (1983 – 2018), founder of the CHLI Alumni Association. Named after Wendy Martinez, the award recognizes CHLI alumni who lead in the advancement of the Hispanic community in the United States.
“Wendy was an integral part of the CHLI community. She was a key CHLI Alumni Association Founder and its inaugural President. She worked tirelessly along with other Alumni to establish the Association. This award recognizes her commitment to the Hispanic community, global education, women empowerment, and her dedication to the freedom of her native country, Nicaragua,” stated CHLI Board Member, Patrice Webb, and CHLI President & CEO, Mary Ann Gomez Orta, as they granted the award posthumously to Wendy.
CHLI honored Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, with The CHLI Leadership in Public Service Award.
“Our diversity makes us beautiful, stronger, and more resilient. This award won’t sit on my shelf as an acknowledgment of a job well done; it will be an inspiration and a reminder that we must celebrate and grow from our differences and find strength in our unity and common ground to effect positive change,” expressed Congresswoman Lowey.
“The Hispanic community is very important to me… What CHLI is doing is extremely important. It makes our nation better. I am very proud of this recognition,” said Congresswoman Granger.
CHLI also honored OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro with the CHLI Ileana Ros-Lehtinen International Leadership Award.
CHLI Board Member, Senator Bob Menendez (NJ), recognized Luis Almagro’s exemplary career, including leading the hemispheric campaign for freedom in Venezuela and becoming a premier spokesman for human rights throughout the Americas.
“Tonight we honor an exceptional leader. Luis Almagro has provided a voice to the voiceless, to the oppressed. Concentrating in laser like fashion on the liberation of Venezuela, while remembering the oppressed peoples of Nicaragua and Cuba,” stated CHLI Chairman, the Honorable Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
“It is an honor to present The CHLI International Leadership Award, which bares my name, to a statesman who is leading the struggle to return freedom and democracy to the oppressed peoples of our hemisphere,” presented the Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
“This Award symbolizes an additional assurance that we are on the right path together, fighting the good fight for human rights and democracy in our region. If there is a regional legacy to be inherited to future generations, just as the legacy of integrity, dignity and hard work that Hispanic Americans have built in this country, is one of political leadership built upon principles, and built constructively, not destructively,” expressed His Excellency Luis Almagro.
A very special thank you to all who joined us to honor our awardees. And thank you to the following sponsors for their support: