Bios 07 by forrests



Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Syndicated Columnist San Diego Union-Tribune
Ruben Navarrette Jr., a columnist and editorial board member of The San Diego Union-Tribune, is a fresh and increasingly important voice in the national political debate. His twice-weekly column offers new thinking on many of the major issues of the day, especially on thorny questions involving ethnicity and national origin. His column is syndicated worldwide by The Washington Post Writers Group. After graduating from Harvard in 1990, Navarrette returned to his native Fresno, Calif., where he began a free-lance writing career that produced more than 200 articles in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, The Fresno Bee, the Chicago Tribune and The Arizona Republic. In 1997 he joined the staff of The Arizona Republic, first as a reporter and then as a twice-weekly columnist, before returning to Harvard in the fall of 1999 to earn a master’s in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government. He joined the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News in July 2000, and in 2005, moved to the Union-Tribune. His column has been in syndication since 2001. Navarrette draws on both his knowledge of policy and politics and his life experiences to provide meaningful and hardhitting commentary. He is a gifted and widely sought speaker on Latino affairs, has worked as a substitute teacher in classes from kindergarten to high school, and has hosted radio talk shows. Navarrette has served as guest host of public television’s “Life & Times” and discussed current affairs on CNN, CNBC, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio and The PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer. He does regular commentary for NPR’s “Morning Edition.” His book, “A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano,” drew favorable reviews after it was published in 1993. In 2000, he contributed an installment to “Chicken Soup for the Writers Soul,” of the best-selling “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. His columns won second place in the 2004 National Headliner Awards presented by the Press Club of Atlantic City. In 2002 and 2003, the Dallas Observer named him “Best Columnist at a Daily Newspaper.” Navarrette was born May 11, 1967, in the farm country of the San Joaquin Valley. He attended public schools in Sanger, Calif., a town of deep roots where all four of his grandparents lived. His father is a 34-year law enforcement officer in Fresno. Ruben Sr. recently became an investigator for the California Labor Commissioner’s Office where he enforces fair labor practices in some of the very same grape fields and peach orchards where he and his brothers, along with his parents, worked in the 1930s and 1940s. Some of his published works include: “A Sense of Possibility: The Education of Ruben Navarrette”; “Affirmative Distraction: Why a Harvard Latino Opposes Racial Preferences”, “Take a Risk, Live your Dream: A Motivational Speech for College Students”, “Immigrant Nation: How Latino Immigration will Change America for the Better - and You Along With It”, and “Tapping the Hispanic Market: 37 Million Hispanics, $500 Billion/ Year & You.” Mr. Navarrette will deliver the keynote address titled, “A Clash of Absolutes: The Rights and Wrongs of the Immigration Debate” and moderate the “Media Coverage of Hispanic Arts” in the a.m.


Bobby Sanabria
World Renowned Musician, Composer, Educator 2005 Percussionist of the Year Multi-Grammy Nominee
“Bobby Sanabria is equally adept at the swinging big band sounds of drummers Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson along with another boyhood hero, fusion pioneer Billy Cobham and timbale titan Tito Puente.” - Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times Bobby Sanabria - drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, multi-Grammy-nominated recording artist, producer and educator - has performed with a veritable Who’s Who in the world of jazz and Latin music, as well as with his own critically acclaimed ensembles. His diverse recording/performing experience includes work with such legendary figures as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Paquito D’Rivera, Mongo Santamaría, Chico O’Farrill, and the Godfather of AfroCuban Jazz, Mario Bauzá, among many others. The son of Puerto Rican parents, Bobby was born and raised in the “Fort Apache” section of New York City’s South Bronx. Inspired and encouraged by Maestro Tito Puente, Bobby attended Boston’s Berklee College obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree. Bobby is recognized as a leader in the Afro-Cuban and jazz fields as a drummer and percussionist, and as one of the most articulate scholars of la tradición. He’s been featured on numerous Grammy-nominated albums, including The Mambo Kings, and on numerous television and radio projects including award-winning documentaries for PBS, Bravo, CBS, and The Smithsonian. His most critically praised work has been with the famed Mario Bauzá and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. With them he recorded three Grammy-nominated CDs, considered to be the definitive works of the Afro-Cuban big-band jazz tradition. He was also featured with the orchestra in two PBS documentaries about Bauzá, and a PBS documentary on the life of Mongo Santamaria. In 1993 Bobby released NYC Aché! receiving worldwide acclaim and a nomination for Best Record of the Year by the National Association of Independent Record Distributors. In June 2000, Bobby released Afro-Cuban Dream…Live & In Clave!! featuring him powering a big band of twenty all-stars. Critically acclaimed worldwide, it was hailed by both the jazz and Latin music cognoscenti as a masterpiece, was nominated for a mainstream Grammy as Best Latin Jazz Album of 2001, and Best Afro-Cuban Jazz Album of the Year. His latest recording, ¡Quarteto Aché!, was hailed a “classic”, critically acclaimed by the New York Times and nominated for Best Latin Jazz recording by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2003.Two new CDs are scheduled for release in summer of 2007. Mr. Sanabria has been the recipient of numerous awards, an NEA grant as a jazz performer, an INTAR Off-Broadway Composer award and recently a Mid-Atlantic Foundation Arts Connect Grant for three successive years. In 2003 he was presented with an “Outstanding Achievement Award” by Ivan Acosta, head of Latin Jazz USA, in recognition of his extraordinary creative contribution to Latin jazz. He received a second Grammy nomination in 2003 for 50 Years of Mambo-A Tribute to Damaso Perez Prado and co-produced the nationally broadcast documentary, THE PALLADIUM - Where Mambo Was King for BRAVO receiving the Best Documentary award for cable networks in 2003. His 2006 co-production, “From Mambo to HipHop—Music and Survival in the South Bronx,” is currently being broadcast on PBS. Mr. Sanabria was voted “Percussionist of the Year” for 2005 by the readers of DRUM! Magazine, a worldwide publication devoted to drums and percussion. Considered one of the foremost performers, authority and educator of AfroCuban music, he performs concerts and conducts percussion clinics around the world and publishes articles in many nationally read publications. Bobby is Chair of the International Association of Jazz Education’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Resource Team, an Associate Professor at the renowned New School University for 14 years and Professor at Manhattan School of Music since 1999. Mr. Sanabria will perform his world famous, “Clave: The Key” presentation at the conference and serve on the panel discussion, “Media Coverage of Hispanic Arts.”

12Th Annual Hispanic Leadership Conference Workshop Presenters/Panelists
Brenda Valencia Aldana – Lecturer - Florida Brenda Valencia Aldana attended Southwest Miami High School and was known there as a good student and respected athlete. She was Most Valuable Player in girls Volleyball for three years. However, before graduating from high school, she found herself in the middle of a DEA drug raid in Kendall, Florida. Though Prosecutors never accused Ms. Aldana of negotiating or selling drugs, she went on trial on January 21, 1992. She was found guilty eight days later of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Distribution of at least five kilograms of cocaine. She was sentenced in April of 1992 to 151 months (12 years and 7 months) followed by 5 years of supervised release. Her tragic story was featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes. While incarcerated at various institutions across the country, Ms. Aldana took the opportunity to educate herself by taking various courses and certification programs. She completed her GED and a certified Dental Assistant program, a certified Veterinarian Assistant program and Personal Trainer program. Ms. Aldana tutored inmates in English as a Second Language (ESL) and utilized her Spanish to translate for bible studies. Since her release from the Federal Prison Camp in Coleman, Florida. Ms. Aldana speaks to groups about her experiences in the hopes of educating young people to the realities of mandatory sentencing guidelines. She participates in the Girls Advocacy Project (GAP) Committee, an award winning intervention program for girls detained in the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Brenda will deliver a youth workshop titled, “Girl Interrupted: Decisions & Consequences.”

David Arredondo
Director of International Student Services Lorain County Community College David Arredondo, a native of Lorain, is the Director of International Student Services at Lorain County Community College. He is the son of a Mexican immigrant who came to Lorain in 1927. David is a graduate of Miami University and was a Mexican Government Scholar at la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, where he did post–graduate study in the School of Political and Social Sciences. Mr. Arredondo has more than 30 years of experience in education and government as an administrator, adjunct professor, admissions advisor, and author. He is trained in U.S. immigration regulations and is authorized to provide immigration certification for international applicants who must apply for, and receive student visas prior to entering the country and enrolling at LCCC. Mr. Arredondo wrote several articles for the Morning Journal’s El Latino Expresso: “Se Busca: Legislacion Efectiva Sobre la Inmigracion,”, “Solo Diga No al Boicott.” and “Un Asunto Americano, No Hispano.” During the 2004 presidential election, he attended the Republican National Convention as a delegate. In October 2004, he was interviewed by CNN en Español on behalf of President Bush. In 2006, Mr. Arredondo wrote several articles for the Morning Journal and El Latino Expresso on the Mexican Presidential Election including “What We learned from the Mexican Elections”, (Mexico Victorioso). Mr. Arredondo is Chairman of the Lorain Area Republican Party, and a member of the Lorain County Republican Executive and Central Committees. He serves as co-moderator of the CHIP Candidate Forum held twice a year and is a former CHIP Trustee. David is married to Michele Silva Arredondo, a Lorain County Domestic Relations Magistrate. They have two daughters, Amalia, a graduate of Oberlin College, and Eliana, a junior at Elyria Catholic High School. They are members of St Anthony’s Parish, Lorain. Mr. Arredondo will deliver the workshop, “American Immigration: From E. Pluribus Unum, to Tossed Salad to…?” during both the A.M. and P.M. workshop sessions.

Murray D. Bilfield Managing Partner, Bilfield & Associates
Murray D. Bilfield, received his JD/Law Degree from the University of Akron in 1974. He is the Managing Partner and owner of Bilfield & Associates Co., L.P.A. As a civil litigation lawyer of 32 years, Murray has extensive experience in personal injury, medical malpractice, injury from unsafe products, industrial/work related injuries, and wrongful death cases; winning many major injury and malpractice settlements and verdicts in both State and Federal Courts. He is admitted to practice in all Ohio courts and various Federal trial, appellate and U.S. Supreme Court. Over his remarkable career, Murray has represented many thousands of clients. Most notably he served as legal and trial counsel for the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, AFL-CIO (CPPA), Ohio Union of Patrolmen’s Associations, AFL-CIO (OUPA), International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO (IUPA) and helped form the Cleveland Association of Rescue Employees (CARE), a union representing the paramedics for Cleveland’s EMS ambulance services. Murray was the creator of the You and the Law@ television infomercials on behalf of Bilfield and Sandel, which were seen on television stations throughout northeast Ohio for 22 years. When he formed “Bilfield & Associates”, Murray greatly expanded the legal services available to his clients and their families by affiliating with other experienced lawyers who handle cases of Criminal Defense of felonies and misdemeanors, serious traffic charges, such as Driving Intoxicated or Impaired, Divorce, Custody and Support, Real Estate transactions, and Workers Compensation. Finally, Murray added bi-lingual access to the firm’s legal services (English/Spanish) for the growing Hispanic population in northeast Ohio. He is involved in the Cleveland Diabetes Association, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA), Ohio Association of Trial Lawyers (OATL), Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys (CATA), the Hispanic Business Association and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for Ohio. Mr. Bilfield will deliver the workshop, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) in 2007: Are you ready?”

Sylvia M. Sykes Senior Program Officer; Nuestro Futuro Fund Chicago, Illinois Sylvia M. Sykes holds a Master of Arts in rehabilitation counseling from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a graduate certificate in philanthropy and the non-profit sector from Loyola University. Ms. Sykes is Senior Program Officer with The Chicago Community Trust, the region’s charitable endowment, which through the generosity of donors awards more than $81 million in grants each year to thousands of area not-for-profit organizations. In this capacity, Ms. Sykes focuses on grant making for the Trust’s initiatives, including the African American Legacy Initiative and Nuestro Futuro Fund dedicated to meeting the needs of Chicago’s large Hispanic/Latino community.. A Cuban-American, she has focused much of her career working on issues facing Latinos. From 1997 to 2005, Ms. Sykes worked as a consultant to not-for-profit agencies throughout the Chicago area, helping organizations build their capacity to serve immigrant communities
Ms. Sykes will deliver the workshop, “Meeting the Funding Needs of the Hispanic Community.”

Alvaro DeCola Federal Court Certified English/Spanish Interpreter and Translator Akron, Ohio
Alvaro DeCola is a Spanish language Court Interpreter certified by the United States Courts and the State of California. He is also a California State certified Administrative Hearings and Medical interpreter. Alvaro is a Senior Translator-Interpreter for the Los Angeles Unified School District Translations Unit where he has provided training and professional development for interpreters, translators, teachers and school personnel. Alvaro has testified as an Expert witness about language issues and interpretation and translation challenges. In the State of Ohio, he currently serves on the Translation and Training Subcommittees for the Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Interpreter Services and he is Vice-President for the Board of CCIO (Community and Court Interpreters of the Ohio Valley). Mr. DeCola has also provided training programs to Law Enforcement Agencies and 911 Dispatchers regarding the use of interpreters and Survival Spanish for Law Enforcement and Dispatchers. DeCola is currently the only court interpreter residing in Ohio who has achieved Federal Court Interpreter Certification, the highest and most prestigious credential an interpreter may be awarded in the United States. Achieving such a credential is the result of rigorous testing, and having succeeded demonstrates a superb ability to interpret in the simultaneous, consecutive and sight translation modes. In addition, Mr. DeCola has also achieved certification from the state of California, and he has experience both as a medical and judiciary interpreter. Moreover, Álvaro is passionate about the interpreting profession and has demonstrated a special ability to interact with all stakeholders. Since he moved to Ohio, he has been actively involved in the Supreme Court’s efforts to develop a certification program, and he has shared his expertise with court administrators and government officials. Mr. DeCola will deliver two workshops: “Providing Competent Law Services to Comply with the Law” and “La Ley Federal y su derecho a recibir servicios de Interpretación en su idioma.”

LaSala Dancers
David Ramirez majored in fine arts at Wright State University, with classes at Ohio State University and Point Park College. He has performed with Burklyn Ballet Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. He has taught Ballroom dance for Fred Astaire Dance Studio’s and won dance competitions across the United States.

Ceff Ramirez majored in fine arts at Wright State University, and performed with the Alvin Alley American Dance Theater School and American Dance Festival. He has danced for Ballet Tennessee, Disney, Dayton Contemporary Dance and Carnival Cruise Lines. He is also an award winning ballroom dance competitor and instructor.

Samantha Solley-Ramirez, from Scotland, received the prestigious scholarship to attend The Dean Academy of Performing Arts in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has performed with the Scottish Ballet, Jazz Art UK and Showcase Entertainments in Europe and Asia, before moving to Carnival Cruise Lines where she met her husband Ceff.
David, Ceff and Samantha will deliver a Latin Dance hands-on workshop using their extensive experience and passion for creativity. The workshop will be presented for the Youth in the morning and Adults in the afternoon.

Dr. Roy Church President Lorain County Community College
Dr. Roy Church has been President of Lorain County Community College since 1987 and has hosted the Hispanic Leadership Conference for all 12 years. His twenty-seven years as an administrator in comprehensive community colleges includes stints as Vice-President for Academic Affairs/Student Services at St. Petersburg Community College; Provost, Academic Dean and Assistant to the President of Broward Community College; and Dean of Students at St. Joseph’s College of Florida. Career Hallmarks include significant achievements in the following areas: Building collaborative initiatives with business, organized labor and government to enhance workforce education and economic development; incorporation of continuous improvement concepts, assessing program effectiveness and services; improving program articulation and transfer of students between secondary schools, community colleges and universities. He is on the Executive Committee of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, chairs the OACC Legislative Committee, CO-Chairs the Ohio Board of Regents Articulation and Transfer Council, is a member of the Regent’s Advisory Committees on Workforce Development and Technology Infrastructure, Higher Education Funding Commission, is Vice-Chair of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, also Co-Chairing it’s Northeast Ohio Workforce initiative. He has chaired the local United Way Campaign, served as President of the United Way Board, and chaired the Board of Lorain County 2020. Dr. Church is also the Secretary/Treasurer of the Lorain County Organized Labor/Management Council. He is a Board Member of: LC Chamber of Commerce, the ACCESS Board, Center for Leadership in Education, Lorain County Work-force Institute, El Centro de Servicios Sociales, and the LC One Stop Employment Governance Team. Dr. Church will welcome conference participants on behalf of the host site, Lorain County Community College.

Honorable William Grace, Mayor, City of Elyria William Grace was elected to the Office of Mayor in November 1999 and was re-elected in 2003. Focusing on downtown and neighborhood revitalization, business development and Cascade Park improvement, Mayor Grace and his administrative team have generated more grants in the last four years than the previous fifteen years combined; most significant being a six million dollar federal grant to construct the long awaited Industrial Parkway. Mayor Grace recently negotiated a Joint Economic Development District agreement that will provide unprecedented economic opportunities for Elyria, and his administration’s sound fiscal decisions has enabled the city to maintain full employment of its safety forces at a time when peer cities have been forced to make reductions. Other accomplishments include construction of the East Falls Riverwalk (paid entirely by grant money), two new water towers improving the city’s overall water pressure, construction of the new city hall, and construction of the new industrial parkway connecting Elyria’s west side with downtown. The industrial parkway was named after the late Council President, Leo Bullocks. Prior to becoming Mayor, Bill Grace also served three terms on Elyria City Council as third ward councilman in 1989 and twice as an at-large member of council in 1993 and 1997. Mayor Grace’s memberships and affiliations, past and present include: President of the Kiwanis Club of Elyria, Board member of the United Way, Main Street Elyria, Northeast Ohio Area wide Coordinating Council, Lorain County Chamber of Commerce, Team Lorain County and the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council among many others. Mayor Grace will open the conference as host representing the City of Elyria.

Carlos and Maria Magdelena Cruz El Salvador

On Friday evening conference attendees were shuttled by trolley to this year’s pre-conference movie at the Palace Theater in Lorain. The movie, “Innocent Voices” directed by Luis Mandoki, screenplay by Oscar Orlando Torres, was a hard hitting, realistic depiction of the civil war that raged in El Salvador during the 1980s when children were caught between the army and guerillas and childhood came to an end abruptly as children were drafted into the war from both sides. The chaos and anarchy that often resulted in the separation of children from their mothers, and husbands from their families, also covered up the extermination of whole villages trying to avoid the conflict. We were honored last night at the speaker/media/sponsor reception to have our movie introduced by Carlos and Magdalena Cruz, who were born in El Salvador and fled to this country 1988 at the height of some of the worse fighting in El Salvador. Although they had been targeted it was still very difficult for them to leave El Salvador because they had to leave everything behind, family, country and careers. They had only two choices escape and live in peace or stay and possibly disappear as many before them had. Carlos was a law student in the Catholic University “Jose Simeon Cañas where he remembers meeting some of El Salvador’s soon to be Martyrs, people who stood up for what they believed and paid the ultimate penalty for their love of El Salvador and it’s people. He will never forget meeting and hearing Moseñor Oscar Romero, Jean Donovan, Dorothy Kazel, the Jesuits Ignacio Ellacuria, Segundo Montes and Ignacio Martin Baro. Maria Magdelena was a business major at Universidad Nacional de El Salvador UES at a time when students disappeared because they were students and parents prayed every day for the safe return of their children from the Capital where most of the colleges were. One of the most disturbing memories for Magdalena is when one of her classmates was found killed in the picnic area of the University she attended. Everyday was after that it seemed that there was something new to worry about: bombs going off all around you, street demonstrations, shootings, and often the dreading of impending doom as the military came and took someone out of the classroom who, would never be seen again. They both remember the guerrillas forcing young kids, boys and girls to join them as the war went on. The number of adults available for war was decreasing and the time came when the youngest of were forced to participate in a war too confusing to understand. Children lost their innocence forever as entire towns and villages were wiped out. This civil war had no direction; and people didn’t know who to fight for or who to trust. The civil war started with the poor fighting the rich and later became a game, a deadly game run like a very profitable business. Today Carlos, Maria Magdelena and their children live in Lorain, Ohio where they have made a good life for themselves. As new immigrants they faced and overcame many barriers: language, a new way of living, work, immigration laws, etc., and are now permanent residents hoping that this year they will become American citizens. The members of CHIP are grateful to Carlos and Magdelena for placing the movie in perspective and for sharing their story with those in attendance.

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