Sacramento, California - Today, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia recognized the 2016 Latino Spirit Award Honorees. The Latino Caucus honors Latinos in a variety of categories that range from athletics/sports, to public service and human rights. The Latino Spirit Awards were established by the California Legislative Latino Caucus in 2002 to coincide with our state’s acknowledgement of Cinco de Mayo and to highlight positive role models in the Latino community.

“As a member of the Latino Legislative Caucus, I’m excited to be a part of this event; many of the honorees are pioneers in their respective fields.  Many of the honorees have overcome tremendous obstacles and have become role models and community leaders,” said Assemblymember Garcia. “Our honorees serve as a reminder of the talent we have within our diverse Latino community and are a source of inspiration to all Californians,” Garcia concluded.


Pepe Aguilar, winner of nine Grammy Awards with sales surpassing 13 million copies worldwide, has pioneered the fusion of musical genres mixing the mariachi tradition with the energy of contemporary music.

Samantha Bricio is a senior at the University of Southern California who was named the 2015 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Player of the Year.

Esteban Hernandez is a Mexican ballet dancer born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico who is currently dancing professionally with the San Francisco Ballet, the oldest ballet company in the United States.

Mickey Ibarra, whose life is dedicated to advocacy for less fortunate people, It was in that role he honed the leadership skills that led him to the White House senior staff of President Bill Clinton, the creation of his own business and the development of the Latino Leaders Network.

Marco Cesar Lizárraga is currently the Director for La Cooperativa Campesina de California where he has worked for the past nineteen years.  La Cooperativa is a nonprofit organization representing and providing funding for federally designated Farm Worker Grantees in California who deliver employment and training services to farm workers throughout the state.

Kamala Lopez is an award-winning actress, screenwriter, director and producer. She has appeared in over thirty feature films, including Born in East LA and The Chico Mendes Story opposite the late Raul Julia, and directed the award-winning film about first U.S. Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, A Single Woman.

Professor Mario J. Molina, Ph. D. is a pioneer and one of the leading scientists in the world dedicated to atmospheric chemistry.  He was co-author of the 1974 original article predicting the depletion of the ozone layer as a direct consequence of the emissions of certain industrial gases, chlorofluorocarbons, earning him and Frank Sherwood Rowland the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Jose “the Future” Ramirez is an undefeated professional boxer (17-0) who is the WBC Continental America Super Lightweight Champion. Originally from Avenal California, Jose learned to box at the age of 8.

Barbara Torres serves as the youngest and first Latina President of SEIU Local 99, becoming President at the age of 33.  As President of one of the strongest unions in the Los Angeles Unified School District, she represents 45,000 education workers in K-12 schools, early education centers and homes, administrative offices, and community colleges throughout Southern California.

Porto’s Bakery & Café - Tracing the origins of the Porto’s Bakery & Café to 1960 when the Porto family made the tough decision to leave their home in Cuba.  Porto’s Bakery & Cafe has grown into a highly successful business that recently topped Yelp’s list as the best place to eat in the U.S. for 2016.

The 15th Annual Latino Spirit Award ceremony was held on Monday, May 2, 2016 at the California State Capitol, during Assembly Floor Session.