LULAC Council 307 announces Latino leadership award, scholarship winners

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For immediate release

Oct. 1, 2015

DES MOINES - The first Latina police sergeant, a young DREAMer, and two political activists are among the award recipients at this year’s Iowa Latino Leadership Banquet.

The annual banquet is Oct. 31 at the Holiday Inn-Airport, 6111 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, Iowa. There will be a press conference at 4:30 p.m. The reception is at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner, awards and evening entertainment. Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu will emcee the event, which is already drawing presidential campaigns and national Latino leaders.

“Each year we recognized Latinos and individuals supportive of our community who have gone above and beyond to play a positive role in raising the profile of Latinos in Iowa and improving their lives,” says Joe Enriquez Henry, president of Council 307.

Two influential members of the Latino community also will be honored posthumously: Warren Morrow and Lorenzo Jasso will receive the Honorary Achievement Award.

As a college student, Morrow founded an organization to help young Hispanics go to college, and later, another company that helped credit unions attract Hispanic members. Jasso served as an educator, mentor and principal for many years in Des Moines public schools.

The following individuals will be honored at the awards presentation:

• LULAC Builder Award – Janet Weaver, a member of Council 10 in Davenport. Weaver, who works as the assistant curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa, has conducted hours of interviews and research to create the Latino historical archives and the Mujeres Latinas project at the university to ensure history of LULAC’s eastern Iowa councils is not lost.

• Latino Business Person of the Year Award – Miriam De Dios, chief executive officer of Coopera Consulting. She works to improve the financial lives of Latinos by finding credit union services and financial products that fit their needs. Her company serves more than 20,000 Latinos in Iowa.

• Latino Hero Award – Sgts. Yanira Scarlett, Vince Valdez and David Murillo, all with the Des Moines Police Department. Each of these individuals has worked to serve and protect the Latino community and has advanced among the ranks of the police department to leadership positions, which demonstrates to Latino youth the potential in which they can succeed. Scarlett recently became the first Latina sergeant on the force; Murillo retired but was chief steward of the Des Moines Police Bargaining Union; and Valdez was the first Latino spokesperson for the department. He’s also a previous chief steward of the bargaining union.

• Iowa Latino Leadership Award – Monica Reyes, and Omar Padilla and Rob Barron. Reyes is founder of DREAM Iowa, an organization that advocates for immigrant children and families. She is a student at the University of Northern Iowa and is a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Padilla and Barron are co-founders of the Latino Political Network, which works to increase the number of elected Latinos in office throughout Iowa.

• Emerging Latino Leadership Scholarship Award – Edward Guillermo Sanchez and Emily Bergez, both freshmen at Iowa State University. They will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.

This year there also will be a new award: The Community Engagement Award, which is being given to the Latino Forum for its work on social media to reach out to and raise the profile of the Latino community.

Table sponsorships are available for $500; advertising sponsorships for $1,000; and event sponsorships for $2,000. Each sponsor will receive 10 dinner tickets and their name printed in the event program. Event sponsors also will be verbally acknowledge during the awards ceremony and will receive a booth during the reception.

Individual dinner tickets are $50. Seniors and youth, 18 and younger, pay $20. Purchase tickets online through LULAC’s website:, or mail checks made payable to LULAC #307 Leadership Banquet, 2463 E. Highview Drive, Des Moines, IA 50320.

For more information, contact Joe Enriquez Henry at 515.208.7312; or Melissa Walker at 515.681.7731 or, or visit


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