Honorary Chairs / Padrinos de Honor
Frank & Eloise Reyes
Frank and Eloise Reyes Biographies
Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes was born and raised in Colton, attended Colton High School and San Bernardino Valley College, eventually transferring to USC. She worked up to three jobs while she worked her way through college. She received her law degree from Loyola Law School and not long after, became the first Latina to open her own law office in the Inland Empire.
As a 12-year-old Eloise struggled alongside her family, working every summer in the fields picking onions and grapes. She worked hard to earn money to pay for her school clothes, but this early experience provided the strong work ethic that defines her today. “This work helped me to appreciate the work of so many others who, even today, must work long and hard hours to support their family.”
Eloise’s volunteer work and leadership in the community started long before she became an attorney –she started a youth drill team in Colton when she was 16 and volunteered with in-school scouting and taught Catechism.
She learned early in her life that her passion was to help others and she knew that as an attorney, she could help those who needed protection and assistance.
Before her recent election to the California Assembly, Eloise spent her legal career helping injured workers. Her private practice includes workers’ compensation and personal injury. In addition to her very busy practice, Eloise unselfishly dedicated much time, treasures, and talents to helping the indigent. She was a member of the Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association, which has Legal Aid Clinics in the Inland Empire, where she volunteered for over 30 years. Recently, Eloise was named Attorney of the Year for her unequaled hours of volunteer work.
Most recently, Eloise was an Adjunct Professor at Cal Poly Pomona teaching Ethnic Identity: Latin@s, Politics, and Law.
Eloise was a co-founder of the Inland Empire Community Health Center in Bloomington and was active on many Boards including the Children’s’ Spine Foundation, Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Assoc., SBVC Foundation Board, The Brightest Star Foundation (for foster youth), and the National Orange Show Board of Directors. Eloise was also commissioned for a five-year term as an advocate with the Mexican Consulate for San Bernardino, California.
Eloise has received countless awards and honors over the years including Community College League of California Distinguished Alumna, the Barbara Jordan Award for Leadership, SBVC 75th Anniversary Distinguished Alumna Award, Democrat of the Year 2015, Community Hero Against Gun Violence Award, and the Imagen Foundation Award.
Since becoming our newest Assemblymember, Eloise was appointed Chair of the Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee and was also appointed to the Special Committee on the Confirmation of Xavier Becerra as Attorney General. Additionally, she has been appointed to various important Committees: Appropriations, Judiciary, Labor, Privacy and Utilities and Energy.
Eloise’s passion and commitment to the community will bring resources and opportunities to San Bernardino county. She will continue to be a leader –fighting alongside those who seek a better community and a better world.
College Trustee Frank G. Reyes was elected to the San Bernardino Community College District Board of Trustees, Area 1 in the most recent election. Frank has been an advocate for higher education and will continue to expand opportunities for our students.
Recognizing the importance of education, Frank shares, “A quality education is the best gift we can give our students and they all deserve the opportunity to learn in a safe and stimulating environment.”
Frank’s passion for the San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD) includes many years working for our students, faculty and staff.
Frank received his Bachelor of Arts from California State University, San Bernardino in Spanish (minor: Business Administration). He continued his education at CSUSB and received his Master of Arts in Counseling (with Pupil Personnel Credential). In addition to various other credentials, Frank enrolled at Nova University and completed his EdD coursework (short of his dissertation).
Although Frank began his professional career at CSUSB as the Outreach Coordinator for the EOP Program, he completed his career working for the San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD). Frank worked at San Bernardino Valley College, Crafton Hills College and the SBCCD for 33 years in various capacities including Professor with EOPS Program, Counselor, Head of Counseling Department, Community Services Administrator and Associate Vice Chancellor Governmental Affairs.
During his final 12 years in Governmental Affairs, Frank had the honor of working with colleagues and elected officials, receiving over $120 million in federal grants (Departments of Education, Commerce, Labor, Defense, FEMA and others); and the only grant in the Western U.S. for Nanotechnology. He saw the needs, sought the appropriate funds and succeeded. SBCCD was considered a top recipient of federal grants in California.
Frank has received many awards for his work. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, an international organization, recognized Frank with the P. Gus Cardenas Award for his leadership in higher education, Most Influential Governmental Advocate of the Year, selected as one of 15 to represent the U.S in Spain because of his leadership, traveled to China with a select group on business and educational exchange and was part of the Department of Defense/HACU Leadership Council on Higher Education.
In addition to his work with the SBCCD, he was also the Executive Director for the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Foundation where he served for 3 years.
Frank understands how the system works and will work to bring the funds back to the students. Frank will continue to work with those committed to the students, faculty, staff and community.
Often referred to as the “Power Couple,” Frank and Eloise have been married for 36 years. They have a son, Kristofer, who is a college student.
2010 Inaugural LEAD Summit Madrina de Honor
Sylvia Mendez is the oldest daughter of Gonzalo Mendez, a Mexican immigrant, and Felicitas Mendez, a Puerto Rican, who fought so she and her brothers could have equal education through the case of Mendez et al v. Westminster et al. Sylvia continues with the legacy left by her parents to campaign for education. Sylvia Mendez worked for 33 years as a nurse at the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles. Ms. Mendez spends her retirement traveling abroad and speaking at universities, conferences and schools across the nation. Her sole intent is to convey the importance of obtaining an education by encouraging students to stay in school.
2011 LEAD Summit Madrina de Honor
Judy Rodriguez Watson
Judy Rodriguez Watson, co-president of the Seal Beach-based Watson and Associates Development Corporation and ardent supporter of education, is the Honorary Chair of the LEAD 2011summit.
Affectionately termed, “La Madrina de Honor” of the second annual conference, Rodriguez Watson together with her husband James Watson, co-chaired California State University, San Bernardino’s “Tools for Education” fund-raising campaign in 2006. The effort raised more than $3 million to equip the university’s College of Education Building with technology labs, clinics, literacy and assessment centers that will serve the students and the Inland Empire community.
In 2010, CSUSB named its four-year-old public art program the Judy Rodriguez Watson Public Art Project in honor of her passion and financial support for placing art in open spaces at CSUSB, the surrounding community and around the city of San Bernardino.
2011 Inaugural Feria Educativa Padrinos de Honor
Graciano & Trini Gomez
Mr. and Mrs. Graciano and Trini Gomez graciously accepted to serve as our 2011 Honorary Chairs for the inaugural LEAD Feria Educativa. They will be affectionately known as our event's "padrino y madrina de honor".
Married for more than 30 years, Graciano and Trini are very well known, have deep roots, and are highly active in and across our regional communities. They place a high value on education and socio-economic endeavors, and in the collaboration of community groups working towards mutual goals and objectives. They are most well known for their hard work and commitment in having established the Inland Empire Hispanic News.
Since the publication's inception, Mrs. Trini Gomez has played a vital role in the development and ongoing operation of the newspaper, alongside Graciano, who served as publisher and editor. Together they have made into reality this dream of creating such an elemental resource for our communities across the region.
The Inland Empire Hispanic News has been one of the primary newspapers to bring to light important public and social policies in regards to health, education, economic development, and business news. It captures the spirit of the greater Inland Empire community by sharing the inspirational stories of outstanding role models of leaders in the community, business, education, and non-profit sectors, and individuals and families who are making positive contributions.
2012 LEAD Summit Padrino de Honor
Dr. Ernest F. Garcia
Ernie Garcia served as dean of Cal State San Bernardino's College of Education for more than a decade during the 1980s.
Garcia retired in 1990 and lives in San Bernardino, was named the LEAD 2012 honorary chair, or "el padrino de honor." He spent 36 years in education, including 13 as a teacher and an administrator in K-12 schools and 23 years in higher education that included 11 years as the dean of the CSUSB College of Education, where he also served as a professor and chair in the department of elementary education.
Garcia's educational career also included serving as an associate professor of elementary education at the University of Redlands and teaching part time and during summers at the University of Redlands, Stanford University, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside and San Bernardino Valley College. Garcia served on the board of the Rialto Unified School District for nine years; later, an elementary school was named in his honor. He received the Career Achievement Award from the University of Redlands Alumni Association and was recognized as one of "Forty Who Made a Difference" by the UCR Alumni Association on the occasion of UCR's 40th
anniversary. He was named to the Alumni Hall of Fame by San Bernardino Valley College and received the "El Fuego Nuevo" award from the Association of Mexican-American Educators, where he served as state president.
2013 LEAD Summit Madrina de Honor
Honorable Josie Gonzales
Josie Gonzales proudly serves as Supervisor for San Bernardino County's 5th District.
Supervisor Gonzales continues to champion issues important to our communities, including public safety, economic development, improved transportation, ending chronic homelessness, and environmental stewardship. She addresses these key issues through cooperative efforts developed on federal, state and local levels.
In effort to improve the wellbeing of county families, Supervisor Gonzales initiated a county wide Healthy Communities campaign. To date, 16 cities and towns throughout the county have adopted innovative Healthy Cities programs that encourage residents to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Prior to her service as a member of the Board, Supervisor Gonzales served on the Fontana City Council, and the City's Planning Commission. The San Bernardino County native has also owned and operated a successful small business in the city of Fontana.
2014 LEAD Summit Padrino de Honor
Dr. Julian Nava
It's with great pleasure and excitement that we announce Dr. Julian Nava as Honorary Chair / Padrino de Honor for our LEAD Summit 2014.
Nava is a recognized Latino leader and role model in the United States. The son of Mexican immigrants, he was raised in East L.A. and says even through junior high, he was still learning English as Spanish was spoken at home. He struggled in high school and joined the Navy as soon as he legally could at age 17 during World War II.
After his service, he attended East Los Angeles Community College before transferring to Pomona as a junior. He graduated with a degree in history and then earned his doctorate in Latin American history from Harvard University.
Nava was a civil rights activist during the height of the Chicano Movement. He was the first Mexican-American to be elected to the school board of the L.A. Unified School District in 1967.
In 1993, Nava was one of the pallbearers selected for the funeral of the labor leader Cesar Chavez. Nava worked with Chavez since his time with the Community Service Organization in Los Angeles immediately after the Second World War.
He taught history at California State University at Northridge from 1957 to 2000.
In the 2006 HBO film Walkout, the role of Dr. Julian Nava was played by director Edward James Olmos.
Most notably, in 1980 Nava was the first Mexican-American to be appointed the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico by then President Jimmy Carter. He is the author of several history books, as well as a memoir, Julian Nava: My Mexican-American Journey (2002).
Today he is retired and lives San Diego County with his wife, Patricia. He holds the title of professor emeritus of history at CSUN. Nava lectures widely about multicultural education, and serves on the board of directors of Encuentros, which promotes education among young Hispanic males. In 2011, a school was named for him.
2015 LEAD Summit Padrinos de Honor
Secretary Julián Castro
Julián Castro was sworn in as the 16th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on July 28, 2014. In this role, Castro oversees 8,000 employees and a budget of $46 billion, using a performance-driven approach to achieve the Department's mission of expanding opportunity for all Americans
"Julián is a proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods," said President Barack Obama after Castro's confirmation. "I know that together with the dedicated professionals at HUD, Julián will help build on the progress we've made battling back from the Great Recession - rebuilding our housing market, reducing homelessness among veterans, and connecting neighborhoods with good schools and good jobs that help our citizens succeed."
Before HUD, Castro served as Mayor of the City of San Antonio. During his tenure, he became known as a national leader in urban development. In 2010, the City launched the "Decade of Downtown", an initiative to spark investment in San Antonio's center city and older neighborhoods. This effort has attracted $350 million in private sector investment, which will produce more than 2400 housing units by the end of 2014.
In March 2010, Castro was named to the World Economic Forum's list of Young Global Leaders. Later that year, Time magazine placed him on its "40 under 40" list of rising stars in American politics.
Previously, Castro served as a member of the San Antonio City Council. He is also an attorney and worked at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld before starting his own practice.
Secretary Castro received a B.A. from Stanford University in 1996, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000. He and his wife, Erica, have a daughter, Carina and a son, Cristian.
Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark
Ellen Riojas Clark, Professor of Bilingual Education, holds a Ph. D. in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Texas at Austin. She received a M. A. in Bicultural Bilingual Studies from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a B. A. in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education from Trinity University.
Dr. Clark served as the Educational Content Director for a nationally acclaimed Scholastic Entertainment PBS children's cartoon series. This sixty-five episode program Maya and Miguel is focused on promoting the value of a culturally diverse society and bilingualism.
Other creative activities include the writing of book reviews and travel articles for the general public in the local newspaper. These reviews with the byline of Las Dos Abuelas and Abuela Ellen/Maria travels to… have generated great interest, provoke intellectual challenge and discussion, and most importantly, interest in reading. Teachers use the articles to promote cultural literacy and to stimulate reading with their students.
Dr. Clark has developed and presented many graduate summer institutes that focused on Latino literature and culture, multicultural education collaborative approaches, curriculum development, cooperative learning and restructuring schools for language minority students at UTSA over the years. These have included the 1999, 2001, 2003 National Endowment for the Humanities summer institutes Derrumbando Fronteras/ Breaking Boundaries: the Inclusion of Mexican American and Latino Literature and Culture in the Classroom for which she received major NEH funding. Other signature events that she has co-chaired were: the University Conference on Multiculturalism in the United States: Multiculturalism and Democracy: Strategic Alternatives that brought speakers such as Carlos Cortes, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Cornel West, and Jorge Klor de Alva and Luz: Education through Art - Orlando AB. This event included an art exhibit, workshops, and student programs structured in collaboration with the Columbian artist, Orlando Botero, traveled nationally and internationally.
A legendary star of the stage and screen Vikki Carr has captivated audiences nationally and abroad for over 50 years with her melodic voice and presence. She is one of the best loved and most accomplished entertainers in the United States, Latin America and Europe. In her illustrious career she has garnered four Grammy Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and has released over 60 best selling recordings. She has performed for the Queen of England, five United States Presidents, wartime soldiers in Vietnam and sold out audiences around the world. She has worked in radio, television, film and theater. Her music embraces four languages and she is among the first artists to bridge the cultures of the United States and Latin America, paving the way for many performers today.
Born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona in El Paso, Texas and raised in Southern California, the eldest of seven children, who would later change her name to Vikki Carr, began performing at the age of four singing Adeste Fidelis in Latin at a Christmas program. She was signed to a contract with Liberty Records in 1961. She recorded He ‘s A Rebel, which first became a hit in Australia. That title was soon followed by the unforgettable release, It Must Be Him, which charged up the charts in England. One year later, the single was released in the United States and earned Carr three Grammy Award nominations. The international hit emerged again when she and the song were featured in the storyline of the Academy Award winning movie Moonstruck. After It Must Be Him came a string of hits including With Pen In Hand, for which she received her fourth Grammy Award nomination, The Lesson, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You and For Once in My Life.
Vikki Carr has received many prestigious awards throughout her career. In addition to the 2008 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, these honors include the 2011 Medallion of Excellence given by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, 2009 Vietnam Veterans President’s Award, 2005 National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003 Latino Spirit Award, 2003 Tito Guizar Award, 2002 Trefoil Award, 2000 Inductee, Latino Legends Hall of Fame, 1998 Imagen Foundation “Humanitarian Award, 1996 Hispanic Heritage Award, 1991 Girl Scouts of America Trefoil Award, 1990 City of Hope’s Founder of Hope Award, 1988 Nosotros Golden Eagle Award, 1984 Hispanic Woman of the Year, 1981 Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1974 Doctorate in Law from San Diego University and Doctorate in Fine Arts from St. Edwards University, 1972 American Guild of Variety Artist’s “Entertainer of the Year”, and the Los Angeles Times’ highly respected “Woman of the Year” for 1970. She has earned the career achievement award of the Association of Hispanic Critics, Chicago’s Ovation Award and the YWCA Silver Achievement Award.
As a humanitarian, Carr’s list of accomplishments is equally as impressive. Her commitment to education and leadership development for Latino youth extends throughout her career. Vikki established the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation in 1971 in California. Now based in Texas, the program offers scholarships to Latino students in Texas who wish to pursue their dreams of a college education. For the past 42 years more than 300 scholarships totaling over $350,000 have been awarded to students attending the Nation’s leading Universities. Former VCSF recipients include a Superior Court Judge, the first Mexican-American Astronaut, Doctors, Attorneys and Teachers. With the majority of the recipients returning to their childhood communities to give back. Carr held benefit concerts to support Holy Cross High School in San Antonio for over 20 years. Her philanthropic support has also extended beyond the Latino community to many health related charities, several which benefit children and families. Serving for two years as chairperson of The American Lung Association, Carr was at the forefront of the anti-smoking campaign. St. Jude, The American Heart Association and The National Breast Cancer Foundation are just a few of the many organizations Carr has supported. In 2011 she was an “ambassador of hope” for children in San Pedro Sula, Honduras as she performed at a fund-raising event for Fundacion Amigos de Guarderia Infantiles.
2015 Feria Educativa Padrinos de Honor
Lilian Esther Hernandez
Ms. Lilian Esther Hernandez is the Executive Director for PIQE’s regional offices in Riverside/San Bernardino and San Gabriel Valley. She is responsible for the programs day to day operations, program development, quality control and the fiscal budget for the offices. In addition, Ms. Hernández is responsible for establishing and maintaining working relationships with local university presidents, community leaders, school superintendents, principals, and other school representatives. Ms. Hernandez was instrumental in successfully leading and sustaining the two regional offices for the past nine years. She was essential in expanding PIQE’s programs in the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino and a portion of Los Angeles. She was responsible for making sure we served multiple communities by offering PIQE’s programs in multiple languages. She joined PIQE in 1999 as a Facilitator, and then, as an Associate Director before being promoted to Executive Director.
Ms. Hernández was born and raised in Puerto Cortes, Honduras. She immigrated to the United States in 1982. She and her husband are pastors in Amistad Cristiana Church of Assemblies of God in the city of Upland. She has tremendous passion for helping others and through her involvement she has participated in numerous conventions empowering women to overcome obstacles. She is a gifted speaker being invited to lead workshops in Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, and El Salvador. In addition, she enjoys volunteering in orphanages and helping children in need. She is a proud mother of two grown children: Caleb and Joshua Hernandez.
Jorge B. Haynes
Jorge B. Haynes was Senior Director of External Relations for the California State University Office of the Chancellor. He was responsible for outreach to all California State University constituent groups and serves as the primary liaison between the Chancellor's Office and underrepresented communities in California and nationally.
Haynes coordinated the CSU's out-of-the-box initiatives, which have been nationally recognized and replicated in other states. The CSU's partnerships with African American churches, Latino organizations, Asian Pacific Islander representatives and Native American communities have created new pathways to underscore the need for academic preparation leading to a university education for traditionally underrepresented communities.
Prior to joining the Chancellor's Office in 2001, Haynes worked in the capital cities of California, Florida, Texas and Washington, D.C. While in California, he worked in the Department of Finance, the Public Employment Relations Board, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) and the California State Assembly where he was the first Latino hired as a consultant to the Assembly Education Committee. Haynes is an Air Force Vietnam veteran and is active with the American Legion, the G.I. Forum, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU) and the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. He received his BA in government from CSU Sacramento in 1972.
2016 LEAD Summit Padrino de Honor
Fr. Patrick S. Guillen, Chicano Priest
& Co-Founder of Libreria Del Pueblo
Patricio Guillen Santoyo was born in 1929 in Bellflower, California, and the eighth child of ten born to Patricio Guillen Zendejas from Michoacan and Juana Santoya Castorena from Aguascalientes, Mexico. Both of his parents immigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th Century.
Just 8 months after he was born, the Great Depression of 1929 shook the economy and his family soon lost both their dry farm and family home in Bellflower. To make matters worse the Long Beach earthquake of 1932 hit the area badly and they spent several days living outdoors until the after-shocks lessened in intensity and finally stopped completely.
From 1932 on, his family became one of the thousands of migrant Mexican American farm working families barely earning enough for food and lodging. As the Depression intensified, 4 of his siblings and 15 of his cousins all began to die in their teen years due to the great Tuberculosis Epidemic that struck with deadly force.
Patricio graduated from Chino High School in 1948, attended both La Verne College and Immaculate Heart Major Seminary and graduated in 1957 with his Bachelor’s degree. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest on March 19, 1957 (Diocese of San Diego, CA).
Fr. Guillen recounts in his written essay “THE JOURNEY OF A CHICANO PRIEST” (2011) that he began his priestly, pastoral ministry right after his ordination in St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and as he lay flat on the floor of the Sanctuary during the chanting of the litany of the Saints he “offered his life to God in the service of His People.” Little did he know then what lay ahead in his five-year priestly ministry as an associate pastor, two years as a catholic Chaplain of Narcotic Rehabilitation Center, and three years of Post Graduate Studies, Diocesan Ministries and Pastor of four different parishes.
The Civil Rights movement of the late 1950’s and 60’s was emerging more strongly each day, as he wrote “There was too little time to focus on the social issues that we were facing. Even after Vatican II the people found it difficult to move beyond traditional form of Catholicism-Mass and the sacraments.” Two of the most consoling experiences were supporting the campesinos under Cesar Chavez, and the other was the founding of PADRES (the National Association of Chicano Priests). But it was Hispanic Ministry that began to broaden the scope of pastoral ministry, forming Comunidades de Base and establishing a school of ministry for the formation of lay leadership in the areas of Catechetics, Evangelization, Liturgy and Social Action.
It was in October of 1986 he began to work with friends who were committed to organize the community and together they formed and founded Libreria Del Pueblo, Inc (LDP) a community-based non-profit organization with a 501 (c) (3) status.
Fr. Guillen recounts, “Too often we neglect to read the Bible, carefully under the historical context of the Historical Jesus and his Liberating practice. I can truly say that my experience in the Hierarchical Institutional Church has been a very limited ministry. In a way I can say that since I was allowed the opportunity to work for PADRES and for Libreria Del Pueblo Inc., an entirely new exciting ministry has opened up for me. Little did I dream that I would thank God for allowing me to work outside of the institutional Catholic Parish Ministry.”
For 30 years now, LDP has primarily focused on improving the lives of Latinos who reside in the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside. LDP has been serving the community by providing health, educational, citizenship classes and social services with a focus on the immigrant community.
LDP is strategically located in the heart of the city of San Bernardino's poorest barrios "The West side." For three decades the organization has quietly gone about its work sowing seeds of life and hope for some of the poorest and neediest of those in the community: victims of domestic violence, farm workers, undocumented individuals and juveniles.
A Catholic priest for nearly 60 years, Fr. Guillen served as executive director of LDP until stepping down from his role a few years ago under the advice of his physician. At the celebration of LDP’s 25-year anniversary, Fr. Guillen shared “I realize how my entire life as a child with my migrant parents, my years of poverty, hunger and homelessness and deaths have provided me with compassion, patience and love for those whom we daily serve. The opportunities I have had to educate myself and the desire and the need to continue learning has helped me not fall into that dreaded routine that leads to a conservatism that destroys the spirit of creativity and freedom that we need as wings to always look ahead and beyond, not only backwards where we have been.”On behalf of the LEAD Organization, we are truly honored that he has accepted to serve as our Padrino de Honor as he is among those we consider a community giant and pillar who has contributed in the fields of education, civil rights, justice for human rights, preserving the arts, journalism, youth leadership development and political awareness.