Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS
Since 2005, Janet Murguía has served as President and CEO of UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza)—the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization since 2005. In this role, Murguía has sought to strengthen UnidosUS’s work and enhance its record of impact as a vital American institution. Murguía has also worked to amplify the Latino voice on issues affecting the Hispanic community such as education, health care, immigration, civil rights, and the economy.
Murguía began her career in Washington, DC as legislative counsel to former Congressman Jim Slattery from her home state of Kansas. She worked with Congressman Slattery for seven years before joining the Clinton administration, where she served for six years as a deputy assistant to President Clinton and as deputy director of legislative affairs.
After serving in the Clinton administration, Murguía went on to serve as deputy campaign manager and director of constituency outreach for the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign, where she was the primary liaison between former Vice President Gore and national constituency groups.
In 2001, Murguía joined the University of Kansas (KU) as Executive Vice Chancellor for University Relations, where she oversaw KU’s internal and external relations with the public. She is credited with coordinating the university’s strategic planning and marketing efforts at the four KU campuses.
Mariana Atencio, Founder and CEO, GOLIKE LLC
Mariana Atencio took the world by storm in 2017 when her TEDx talk on authenticity “What makes YOU special?” went viral. To date, it has more than 18 million views and has been translated into 13 languages. Her book Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real was an Amazon bestseller and selected by Audible and AppleBooks. In the last decade, Mariana worked at Univision and NBC News as an anchor and reporter, and has since founded GoLike, a media company named among the 100 most powerful Latina businesses in the United States.
She has quickly become one of the most sought-after virtual speakers and secured global events, keynotes and partnerships with Microsoft, YouTube, Spotify, Deloitte, Pepsi, Clinique, AT&T, McDonald’s, UBS, Procter & Gamble, Citi Private Bank, Airbnb, LinkedIn, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations, among others. Mariana is featured in the award-winning HBO series Habla Now as one of the leaders defining the Latinx experience in the United States. Her work has been honored with a Peabody, Columbia University’s “First Decade Award,” and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Presidential Award.
Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15)
Representative Ritchie Torres is a fighter from the Bronx who has spent his entire life working for the community he calls home. Like many people in the South Bronx, poverty and struggle have never been abstractions to him, and he governs from a place of lived experience.
Ritchie’s mother single-handedly raised him, his twin brother, and his sister in a public housing project. She paid the bills working minimum-wage jobs, which in the 1990s paid $4.25 an hour. While Ritchie grew up with mold, lead, leaks, and no reliable heat or hot water in the winter, he watched the government spend more than $100 million dollars to build a golf course across the street for Donald Trump. In 2013, at the age of 25, Ritchie became New York City’s youngest elected official and the first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to office in the Bronx.
At City Council, Ritchie stood out, and during his seven-year tenure he tenaciously tackled problems big and small for the Bronx and New York City. He passed more than 40 pieces of legislation, including legislation protecting New York City’s affordable housing stock and tackling the city’s opioid epidemic.
In Congress, Ritchie is a member of the Committee on Financial Services and serves as the vice chair of the Committee on Homeland Security.
Representative Ruben Gallego (AZ-7)
Capital Award Honoree
Congressman Ruben Gallego represents the 7th District of Arizona, including parts of Phoenix, Glendale, and Tolleson, in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was first elected in 2014.
Representative Gallego is a Marine Corps combat veteran, a lifelong community leader, and the son of Latino immigrants. He was the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Harvard University.
Congressman Gallego enlisted in the Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq in 2005 as an infantryman, serving with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines.
In 2010, Congressman Gallego was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives and served until 2014.
In Congress, Representative Gallego has largely focused on U.S. national security during his time in Washington. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chair of the Intelligence and Special Operations subcommittee, a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, and a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States (SCIP).
Friends of The National Museum of the American Latino (FRIENDS)
Capital Award for Public Service
FRIENDS was established with the mission to create a museum in our nation’s capital that would educate, inspire, and encourage respect and understanding of the richness and diversity of the Latino experience. Since 2004, they have dedicated themselves to the work of educating and securing support from bipartisan members of Congress, national organizations, policymakers, cross-sector leaders, and everyday Americans for the establishment of a museum on the National Mall.
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