English teacher at Southeast High School in Oklahoma City, (HSF Scholar 1990, 1991), is this year's selection for Altruista, awarded for personifying the spirit of gratitude, the value of giving back and the philosophy: "Of those to whom much is given, much is expected." One of four children raised by a single mother, Lozano was on her way to pursuing a college education when life intervened and brought her a family with three children. After balancing the demands of her family, part-time job and school work, she completed her college education from the University of Oklahoma and went on to obtain her master's degree in instructional leadership with an emphasis in bilingual education. She attributes her accomplishments to the sacrifices her own mother made and she works daily to cultivate a desire for learning in her students.
Harvard Law School student and George Mitchell Fellow (HSF Scholar 2000, 2001), represents this year's Brillante, for realizing extraordinary achievements early in her career, and generating even greater expectations for contributions to come. Chirinos moved from her home in Monterey, Mexico, to Corpus Christi, Texas with her mother when she was 12 years old, where she taught herself English in only six weeks. Chirinos graduated from the University of Texas at Austin having served as the first HSF Scholar Chapter coordinator, chaired the UT Bilingual Mentoring Program, and spent this past summer studying in Ireland as a George Mitchell Fellow. Also a Truman Fellow, she is now continuing her education at Harvard Law School.
Antonio Garza, Jr.
Distinguished by the Hispanic Business Magazine twice as one of its “Top 100 Influential Hispanics,” Ambassador Tony Garza has a diverse pool of knowledge and experience.
Prior to his ambassadorial appointment, Ambassador Garza served as Texas’ 41st Railroad Commissioner. He became the first Hispanic Republican elected to a statewide office in Texas. In 2001 Ambassador Garza became a member of the official U.S. delegation to the inauguration of Peru’s President Alejandro Toledo and served on presidential delegations to observe federal elections and voter registration drives in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Ambassador Garza’s first appointment named him Texas’ 99th Secretary of State and he was appointed Senior Advisor to then-Governor Bush. During his 3-year term as the State’s Chief Elections Officer, he worked with 74th and 75th Legislature to reform the Texas Election Law, and he served as the lead liaison on border and Mexico affairs, addressing contemporary issues such as free trade, environmental concerns and other border-specific matters.
At the State level Ambassador Garza served on Governor Rick Perry’s Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities. He also served on the Advisory Board of the George W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Ambassador Garza was elected and served as the Cameron County Judge until 1995. Currently, Ambassador Garza serves as the Board of Directors of the Texas Exes, which is the alumni association at the University of Texas at Austin. Ambassador Garza has delivered many speeches before groups such as the Guadalajara American Chamber of Commerce. His diverse experience gives Ambassador Garza an edge when speaking about local and international issues surrounding contemporary debate.
Ambassador Antonio O. Garza, Jr. was confirmed on November 12, and sworn in on November 18, 2002.
Maria Vidal de Haymes, professor and faculty scholar, Loyola University of Chicago, School of Social Work (HSF Scholar 1990, 1991), will be inducted as Optimista, which honors success achieved through persistence in the face of adversity. Vidal de Haymes' family came to the United States in the early 1960s as refugees from Cuba. Quickly learning the English language, Vidal De Haymes was expected to pursue a higher education despite her family's financial challenges. While rising to the challenges of completing her bachelor of arts at the University of Nebraska, master of social work at the University of Chicago, and her doctorate at Ohio State University, Vidal de Haymes married, had two children and cared for her ailing parents. Today she is an accomplished professor, social worker, author, and committed advocate for social justice.
Anthony D. Romero is the sixth executive director of the 81-year-old American Civil Liberties Union. He became the first Latino and first openly gay man to take the helm of the nation's preeminent civil liberties organization when he started his new position in September 2001.
A highly experienced, energetic and creative executive with a decade of leadership in large, complex and global not-for-profit organizations, Romero was born in New York City of immigrant parents from Puerto Rico. Romero was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college and to receive a graduate education. He is fluent in Spanish.
An attorney with a history of public interest activism, Romero served as the Director of Human Rights and International Cooperation at the Ford Foundation, where he led the program through a period of extraordinary growth, transforming it into Ford's largest and most dynamic grant making unit. In 2000, Romero channeled approximately $90 million in grants to address issues related to civil rights, human rights and peace. Under his leadership, the Foundation launched groundbreaking grant making initiatives to address issues including affirmative action, voting rights and redistricting, immigrants' rights, women's rights, reproductive freedom and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
Before being appointed a Director at Ford, Romero served for nearly five years as the Foundation's Program Officer for Civil Rights and Racial Justice. He also worked for two years at the Rockefeller Foundation and led a Foundation review of future directions in civil rights advocacy. He is a graduate of Stanford University Law School and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. Romero received Stanford's Dinkelspiel Scholarship for Public Interest, was a Cane Scholar at Princeton and was a National Hispanic Scholar at both institutions.
Romero sits on several not-for-profit boards, including serving as the Chairman of the Center of Disability and Advocacy Rights, and as Vice Chairman of the New World Foundation's Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York State Bar Association and Hispanics in Philanthropy. His previous volunteer experiences include serving as Vice Chairman of the White House Internship Advisory Committee and as Co-Chairman of the Funders' Committee for Citizen Participation. Romero has received numerous awards for his commitment, dedication and achievements in public service.
A native New Yorker, Romero lives in Manhattan with his partner.