ROCHESTER — Members of the community gathered at Harro East Ballroom to honor four women during Latinas Unidas’ 28th-annual Reconocimiento and Scholarship Awards Luncheon Nov. 18.
The Reconocimiento Awards recognize Latinas from the Rochester community for their efforts in career achievement, leadership service, volunteer work and youth leadership.
The sold-out event featured speeches by board members, Mayor Lovely A. Warren and past scholarship winners such as Cristal Santiago, who was awarded a scholarship in 2018. With the scholarship, Santiago paid for her microblading certification and recently opened her own business, Blessed Beauty, in Ontario this past May.
“It’s because of the scholarship that I was able to and now have my own business,” Santiago told El Mensajero during the luncheon.
Additionally, the event featured music, Carnaval costumes on display courtesy of Grupo Cultural Latinos En Rochester, and raffles for gift baskets showcasing local businesses and products. The money raised during the event will go toward the scholarship fund for next year.
The following women are the 2021 award recipients:
- Dr. Jessica Guzmán-Rea received the Professional Achievement Award. She is the assistant dean for diversity and the director of the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center at the University of Rochester.
- Dr. Telva Olivares received the Inspirational Leader Award. She is an internist-psychiatrist at the University of Rochester who serves within thet department of psychiatry as assistant chair of diversity, inclusion, culture and equity; director of medicine in psychiatry services; and director of Lazos Fuertes, a mental-health program for Latinos.
- Cynthia Rochet received the Volunteer Award. She is the founder of the Afro-Latino Dance group in Rochester.
- Arianee Ortiz received the Young Latina Leader Award. She is a junior at Eugenio María de Hostos Charter School in Rochester.
Established in 1993, Latinas Unidas is a nonprofit organization that strives to unite Latinas throughout the Rochester area who share common concerns and interests affecting women. The organization has more than 400 supporting members and has awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships to nontraditional college-age Latinas who are enrolled in higher education or formal career training.