3rd Annual Latino Education Summit

Greetings Cultura Ambassadors and friends,

We would like to invite you to attend The 3rd Annual Latino Education Summit: Silicon Valley scheduled for this Saturday, April 21st at Santa Clara University.

Featured speakers and presenters include Dr. Byron Clift Breland, SJCC President, Keith Aytch, Interim President at EVC, Roland Montemayor, VP of Academic and Student Affairs at SJCC, Felix W. Ortiz, CEO of Viridis Learning,  Dr. Fabio Gonzalez, District Academic Senate President, Jesus Covarrubias, Academic Senate President, and our very own Cultura Ambassador and Education Champion Jorge Escobar, VP of Administrative Services of San Jose City College.

The summit’s focus is on Language, Culture, and Identity in the Education of LatinX Students

Register via the link below:

Register

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

 

 

Latino Leaders Luncheon in Silicon Valley

 

Latino Leaders Network Honored Maria Echaveste and Convened Silicon Valley Leaders

On Wednesday, March 21st the Latino Leaders Network (LLN), a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing leaders together, convened its 53rd Latino Leaders Luncheon Series event to honor Maria Echaveste with the Eagle Leadership Award. Nearly 300 local San Jose/Silicon Valley leaders were in attendance, including guest speakers Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose and Ron Gonzales, President, and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.

Maria Echaveste is the Policy and Program Development Director at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy. Echaveste joined University of California Berkeley School of Law as a Lecturer. She previously co-founded a strategic and policy consulting group, serving as a senior White House and U.S. Department of Labor official. From 1998 to 2001, she served as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. Among her responsibilities in this role was overseeing issues relating to Mexico and Latin America. She has worked as a community leader and corporate attorney. She is also a Senior Fellow with the Law School’s Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity.

“We were proud to honor Maria Echaveste with the Eagle Leadership Award for her outstanding service to our community,” said Mickey Ibarra, Founder, and Chairman of the Latino Leaders Network. “I was proud to work alongside Maria at The White House for President Clinton and the American people. Her powerful personal story inspires us to dream big, work hard, and lead by example.”

Mickey Ibarra, book co-editor, also introduced his new book featuring the powerful personal stories of national Latino leaders, Latino Leaders Speak: Personal Stories of Struggle and Triumph.

“Our Latino community has role models, inspiring heroes, and outstanding leaders,” said Mr. Ibarra. “Their stories need to be told. Readers of this book will be inspired to dream big, get prepared and get ready to lead.”

LLN’s luncheon community partner was the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. Event sponsors included PG&E, PepsiCo, Southwest Airlines, Fernandez Government Solutions, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, and Google.

LLN hosts six annual events throughout the country honoring prominent Latino leaders. The book features 33 keynote addresses delivered at the Latino Leaders Luncheon Series by leaders from a wide variety of occupations, including government, sports, entertainment, education, journalism and more.

Silicon Valley Latino founder and CEO, Alex Ontiveros, was delighted to have been present for this special event as well as to see many SVL Cultura Ambassadors and SVL Honorees in attendance. We look forward to attending and supporting future Latino Leaders Network events in the future” said Ontiveros.

For more information about LLN and Latino Leaders Speak: Personal Stories of Struggle and Triumph, visit www.LatinoLeadersNetwork.org.

Fireside Chat with Cisco CIO Guillermo Diaz Jr.

 

On February 24th, Silicon Valley Latino through a strategic partnership with San Jose City College, Milpitas Extension was honored to host an intimate and insightful interview with Cisco Chief Information Officer, Guillermo Diaz Jr. This was the second Latino Leaders Fireside Chat in its series.

Guillermo Diaz, Jr., is the Chief Information Officer responsible for Cisco’s global Information Technology organization, along with its strategy and services. His focus is on driving the business outcomes critical to the secure digital transformation of Cisco, and its customers and partners. Together with his team, Guillermo is responsible for strengthening Cisco’s foundational business capabilities, enabling new business models, and building the digital skills and talent that the organization will need in the future IT.

Since joining the company in 2000, Guillermo has been a major driver in the development of Cisco’s world-class IT organization. He has led initiatives that transformed significant business foundations, from the Cisco IT Networked infrastructure to primary business IT application areas. These application areas include Cisco’s $45B+ electronic commerce, technical services, professional services, service sales and marketing, customer service, Cisco Capital, and cloud/SaaS platforms.

Among other endeavors, Diaz is the executive sponsor of Conexión, Cisco’s Hispanic/Latino employee resource network, and a key leader on Cisco’s Diversity Council. His relationship building talent is what led him down the path of success, a path he was thrilled to share with our community.

Attendees were riveted by Guillermo’s story. Raised in the gritty east side of Pueblo Colorado, the Diaz family faced challenges early on with the death of Guillermo’s father at the age of 1 ½.  Diaz sites his mother as his hero in a town known as the “City of Heroes” due to the unusually large rate of Military icons born and raised in Pueblo. The hard work and determination of his mother coupled with the vision and encouragement of his grandmother guided “G” to excel in Martial Arts where he became a national champion in his division at the age of 14.  That same Diaz determination inspired Guillermo to enlist in the Navy with plans to leverage the GI Bill towards a college education. Through his mother’s guidance Diaz signed-up for the the Navy’s telecommunication networking job and just as he excelled with his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, he excelled in his new job.

Guillermo Diaz is a focused and determined man who never really sees obstacles, so much as assignments on a checklist of life’s “to do”.  As Diaz discussed his career moves, one thing was clear and not lost on his audience. Guillermo Diaz wakes up every morning determined to do his best, always steadfast in the resolve to make a difference. That is what makes him a great leader of people. At an early age, teachers pointed out how he possessed something clearly exceptional and it was then that he started his path towards being an effective leader.

So how does one go from setting up communication systems on an aircraft carrier of 5000 service men and woman to leading over 10,000 employees worldwide at CISCO?  Through effectively establishing and managing successful relationships.  Diaz possesses that humble confidence that makes each individual feel unique and empowered. He makes his team better. He makes those around him better. He’s making our community better.

Diaz shared a series of quotes and visual messages that spoke volumes about the keys to his success. One that resonated with most was a quote from North Carolina Basketball Coach Roy Williams, “It’s amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who takes the credit”. A stark contrast to the “look at me” climate we seem to be so bombarded with on social media today. It’s so refreshing to hear one of the most powerful individuals in the IT world speak of truly connecting one on one with people and the beauty of each individual relationship. The audience was able to learn firsthand how empowering others empowers all.  And it’s for this reason that at the conclusion of the program, Diaz was presented Silicon Valley Latino’s inaugural “Creo En Ti” Champion Award.

As the audience gathered for Q and A, Diaz eloquently and patiently answered all questions and posed for photographs with attendees, a further testament to the selfless leadership that is Guillermo Diaz. We thank all those who took the time out of there busy lives on a Saturday morning to attend this heartfelt presentation. I know we are better for taking the time, that little extra time to learn from greatness. And as Diaz explained as he did during our inaugural Inspire Higher Tour, he was once in our shoes. He’s faced hardships and rose to prominence by never wavering, never giving up. We could not have said it any better. Creo En Ti!

Personal Branding by Oscar Garcia @ SJCC Milpitas Extension

 

On January 27th San Jose City College & Silicon Valley Latino hosted a fantastic presentation Personal Branding by Mr. Oscar Garcia. He explained strategies on how to build and maintain your personal brand.

Oscar Garcia has a unique background with over 10 years of technology and nonprofit management experience. Oscar is the Founder & Chief Engagement Officer of Aspira, a community relations, economic development and training firm that empowers, engages and educates its clients. Oscar’s career journey includes business development roles at five startups, co-founding a nonprofit, Chamber President & CEO, TV host of Silicon Valley Business and Community Relations Manager at LinkedIn.

He has received various prestigious awards recognizing his leadership and community work, including the La Familia Award from the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, the NFL Hispanic Heritage Award from the San Francisco 49ers, and was nominated for Chamber Executive of the Year for the Western Association of Chamber Executives, recognizing his successful and innovative efforts to strengthen the bonds between businesses, community, nonprofits and education in Silicon Valley. As Chief Engagement Officer, his goal is to empower and engage others so they perform at their peak in order to achieve optimal results.

#CreoEnTi

 

BeVisible’s Bay Area Holibay Meet Up!

 

BeVisible Brings Together Bay Area Latinx Professionals for a Holiday Meet Up!

 

BeVisible brought the Holiday Latinxmagic spirit to the Bay Area with their first San Francisco meetup on December 13th.  Over 60 Latinx professionals and friends gathered at Alma Cocina in San Francisco for drinks, socializing, and community building with the purpose to propel LatinX in the workplace.

The evening started out with mingling and introductions. Guest enjoyed delicious appetizers and sangria from Alma Cocina, a new Latin American/Peruvian cuisine restaurant in San Francisco. All around, Latinx professionals across the innovation sector, students, and trailblazers shared their passions and career interests. Members came together to link up to promote and uplift each other by growing their network to connect with new job opportunities and recruiters seeking mission-driven Latinx professionals of the BeVisible community.

“It was inspiring to witness the community we have built all these years and to see Latinx uniting and gaining increasing access to the networks that feed the innovation economy” is how BeVisible’s CEO and co-founder of the platform that connects Latinx to inspiring peers and job opportunities with forward-thinking organizations.

Special guest and BeVisible San Francisco Member, Marcela Davison Aviles, shared her experience working as the lead cultural consultant on the film of the season, Coco.

Marcela emphasized the importance of telling authentic stories by and from the comunidad and harnessing the power of the Latinx community.

Throughout the evening members were excited to share their career journeys, interests, and future goals.

“BeVisible provided a space for us to come together and build community as Latinxs on a personal and professional level. There was a buzz of excitement in the air, one you feel when you truly feel at home”  states Karen Lazcano, BeVisible’s Ambassador

 

About BeVisible

BeVisible is on a mission to connect Latinx to opportunity to propel their careers powered by the strength of community to build and thrive together.  BeVisible launched  BeVisible’s Job portal and partnered up with organizations doing remarkable work that are looking for great LatinX talent to power their company mission. Get connected by joining the community of LatinX changemakers on www.bevisible.soy

Images taken by: Josh Masenko Sanchez http://joshmasenko.com/

Enjoy the event video below!

 

 

Inform, Protect & Defend: Our role as Immigrant Allies Forum

 

On Saturday, November 18th, Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College (SJCC) hosted a highly engaging, informative and stimulating forum related to the post-DACA landscape and the topic of immigration reform. This timely event was hosted by Jorge Escobar, Vice President at San Jose City College at the new SJCC Milpitas Extension.

The event was called “Inform, Protect & Defend: Our role as Immigrant Allies” and the convening featured a panel of immigration experts who discussed the current immigration landscape, what we could do to protect the rights of our vulnerable immigrant communities and ways to engage, advocate and support these efforts. The panel also offered the audience detailed facts and examples on what is happening on local, state and federal levels around immigration policy, ICE activities and so much more.

The forum was moderated by Zulma Maciel, Director of The City of San Jose’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. The panel featured Nikki Marquez from The Immigration Legal Resource Center, Mariela Garcia from Sacred Heart Community Service and from the Santa Clara County, Deputy District Attorney, Josue Fuentes.

All three panelists provided a unique and insightful perspective of what is happening and what we can do to help defend misinformation and assist in keeping those at-risk safe. First, they helped de-mystifying some of the rumors and fears that are circulating in our communities. They also talked about how ICE agents have been using questionable tactics in creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation throughout specific communities. When in fact, ICE agents need to follow proper law enforcement tactics and procedures to detain anyone. That includes having a warrant. They also informed the audience that anyone living in this country has the right to an attorney as well as the right to remain silent.

The most critical lesson any person can learn is that immigrants living in this country have just the same rights when it comes to law enforcement. A witness to a crime, a person volunteering at civic events, peaceful protestors and traffic violations are all protected from illegal and unnecessary investigation of a person’s citizenship.

The issue is indeed a complicated legal one. That’s why Sacred Hearts Community Services has provided a 24 hour Rapid Response Hotline. The Rapid Response Network in Santa Clara County (RRN) is a community defense project developed to protect immigrant families from deportation threats from the federal administration, and to provide moral and accompaniment support during and after immigration operations in our community. It is a 24/7 hotline that community members can call to report any ICE operations in our county and receive help in real life time.

Any concerned community member that witnesses immigration enforcement activity in Santa Clara County can call the hotline number 24/7. Please note this is not a general information line, if you need general immigration services contact a community based organization in your area.

When you call the RRN line the dispatcher that received the call will support the community member in asserting their rights, and will dispatch trained Rapid Responders to the impacted site.

If immigration enforcement is confirmed, the Rapid Responders will conduct legal observation, collect evidence that may support the immigration case of the impacted family, and provide moral support and accompaniment to the impacted family. If a community member is detained, they will be connected to immigration attorneys for legal counsel and provide additional support. They want to make sure no community member has to go through this on their own.

This is a collaborative project led by Sacred Heart Community Service, PACT, Pangea Legal Services, LUNA, SIREN, CARAS, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, the South Bay Labor Council, the City of San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations.

The most prominent and encouraging defense here in Santa Clara County has been the establishment of The Rapid Response Hotline. This is a direct number to a bank of trained responders who can instantly aid and provide legal help and protocol instantly.

Indeed, many questions persist on the immigration front. Fear runs deep as our at-risk community members are so uncertain about their status in this country and what the future holds.

There are many things we can do as immigrant allies in the community. Saturday’s panel provided 10 action items we can do as immigrant allies to help protect and defend our neighbors.

 

JOIN THE RAPID RESPONSE NETWORK: Protect our undocumented community when they face ICE action. Rapid Responders will record the action of ICE agents and provide support to individuals and families. For more information or to register for a Rapid Response Training visit: http://sacredheartcs.org/rrn/. For questions, contact Rosa DeLeon at ROSAD@sacredheartcs.org.

SPREAD THE WORD: Distribute Know Your Rights (KYR) red cards and Hotline cards to friends, family, places of worship, schools, businesses patronized by Limited-English speakers, etc. For more information on red cards, visit https://www.ilrc.org/red-cards. If you would like to pick up cards from the San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs, please email ImmigrantAffaris@sanjoseca.gov

ENCOURAGE CITIZENSHIP:

– Support family members and friends who are legal permanent residents to    naturalize.          Visit the New Americans Campaign to learn about citizenship workshops in your event as        well      as information on how you can volunteer: http://newamericanscampaign.org/citizenship-events/.

– Encourage your employer to host a free citizenship workshop for its employees. Contact Monisha Merchant at the New American Workforce: mmerchant@immigrationforum.org

SUPPORT CENSUS 2020 WORK: Volunteer to reach hard-to-count individuals so that everyone is counted. The first opportunity is during Spring 2018, email Zulma Maciel for more information: Zulma.maciel@sanjosca.gov.

JOIN PRO-BONO RESPONSE NETWORK: To help meet the demand for legal services, attorneys and law students are encouraged to sign-up for the statewide Immigration Pro Bono Response network at https://onejustice.org/ourprograms/immigration/.

ATTEND AN EVENT: Show your support for local immigrant and refugee communities. To find an event near you visit http://www.immigrantinfo.org/

STAY INFORMED: LIKE San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs on Facebook   www.Facebook.com/ImmigrantAffairs.

CALL OR TWEET CONGRESS: Members of Congress need to hear from you. Please urge representatives to act swiftly to pass a clean Dream Act – a permanent legislative solution that provides a pathway toward citizenship for DACA recipients and Dreamers. Visit the ACLU’s Clean Dream Act website for a sample script and to be connected to your Senator:   https://goo.gl/b1ndws.

DISPLAY A WELCOMING SIGN: Show your neighbors that you’re a “WELCOMER.” Pick up a lawn sign from the OIA, email ImmigrantAffaris@sanjoseca.gov.

REPORT NOTARIO FRAUD: Unfortunately, there are people taking advantage of the immigrant community by charging for immigration services that they never provide. Visit United We Dreams’ website for more information on how you can report these activities: https://unitedwedream.org/action/help-stop-fraud/.

 

Silicon Valley Latino appreciates the support of all who attended this convening and their interest to be informed as well as their desire to act as immigrant allies. We were also delighted to have the support and attendance of community and education leaders like City of Milpitas Councilmember, Bob Nuñez, Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent, Cheryl Jordan and education champion and The Center for Latino Education and Innovation and The Maestros Accelerator Program, Executive Director, Dr. David Lopez. We were also pleased to see many local high school students in attendance with interest in becoming advocates to this important issue.  All were truly encouraged to hear real action is being done to protect hard working families, students and those who hold that dream of a better life here in America. We at Silicon Valley Latino were also proud to participate in an afternoon of hope, change and ACTION.

 

Latino Leaders Fireside Chat Series Launch with Tony Quintero

 

Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College had the distinct pleasure of bringing together the community to become part of our inaugural Latino Leaders Fireside Chat Series featuring Tony Quintero at the new Milpitas Extension campus.

We were challenged with the task of condensing this man’s amazing accomplishments and adventures in the two hour talk. We could have gone all afternoon. Certainly those in attendance wanted more.

Tony awed and inspired the participants with his unique life story. Starting out as a humble transfer student at San Jose State University to leading The La Raza National Law Students Association, to teaching at different universities statewide.  He also became a commercial real estate all-star, the first Latino to own a chain of regional malls to now becoming a Latino industry champion. All with a focus to support and inspire Latinas/Latinos, never losing site of the rage burning inside of him. As a child, Tony witnessed first hand how our community was treated back in the 1960’s. Refusing to come to grips with the question haunting him from an early childhood experience. “Why does God let us be second class citizens?”

What attendees learned was that Tony was able to harness that independent spirit and align himself with those values early on. Tony has always worked as an independent agent.

When posed the question of why he never sought to run for office Tony, answers, “because he did not want to participate in the money in politics bureaucracy or red tape.” This has allowed him to make the kind of changes and have the impact he has had in his career.

A child of a WWII veteran and a warm, nurturing mother, growing up in Redwood City, Tony experienced poverty at a young age as his father struggled to find work in the post WWII bay area. After serving and becoming citizens after the war, many families struggled and often questioned what they were fighting for. Tony’s experience was a lot like many Latinos in that era, trying to find identity, while facing racial injustice and lack of opportunities in school and in the workplace. Even to the point, as Tony recalls, of Mexican children segregated in schools and forced to share classrooms in horse stables. Until in 1947 the case of Mendez v. Westminster in which the Federal Court ruled this type of segregation as unconstitutional. Tony knew early on that college was his path. He found refuge in books, became a book worm. Bullied more for this, Tony focused even more, and fueled by the discrimination and misunderstandings around him, fought to make a difference.

Those battles percolate in every turn of Tony’s career. Fighting for justice through earning a law degree from Cal Berkeley, starting the first EOP Program at San Jose State University and being Elected First National President of La Raza Law Students Association in 1970.

Tony’s ascent was rapid and clear. He wanted to give Latinos a voice. He wanted to organize and lead. Being the maverick that he is, Tony did not seek to align with red tape, he aligned with action.

The next chapter in Tony’s career lead to an interest in Commercial Real Estate. Seeking to breathe life into a downtown San Jose area that had become run down and stagnant. He saw the future of this high tech mecca. He’s quoted in the early 90’s as predicting a major corporation would call San Jose home within 5 years. His foresight was dead on, to say the least. He moved on to the buying and developing of shopping malls, and was instrumental in allowing small, minority owned businesses to share the stage with major retail players.

Tony’s latest endeavor is developing and producing films which portray Latinos in a more positive light. Latinos represent over 25% of box office ticket sales, yet are grossly under represented on film. With well under 4% of roles going to Latinos. Not only that, but often cultural biographies representing Latino figures are often cast to Anglos. Tony points out numerous examples. The audience nods in recognition.

Those who were fortunate enough to sit down with Tony at our fireside chat were allowed a glimpse of a compassionate and determined individual, who so eloquently reminded us that revolution, comes from within.

We are certainly grateful for allowing Tony to share his story and inspire so many.

 

 

 

 

College Declaration Day 2017!

 

Once again Silicon Valley Latino is proud to shine the spotlight on stellar Latinos leading the way, this time however, it’s done through a strategic partnership with San Jose City College and the focus is on the next generation of emerging leaders.

On August 23rd, San Jose City College and Silicon Valley Latino collaborated in producing the inaugural “College Declaration Day” where eight honorees were featured and celebrated for their academic achievements. Our community, which included parents, students, family members, educators and Cultura Ambassadors, gathered at the new San Jose City College Milpitas Extension to pay tribute to eight exceptional high school seniors as they took their first steps into pursuing a college degree.

The festivities commenced with welcome and opening remarks by Alex Ontiveros, founder of Silicon Valley Latino.  He then introduced Jorge Escobar, Vice President of San Jose City College, who delivered passionate and encouraging remarks to our College Declaration Day inaugural cohort.  The enthusiasm continued as Adam Mendoza, Vice President of Marketing for Silicon Valley Latino introduced the evening’s master of ceremonies, Cultura Ambassador and serial entrepreneur, Nancy Rosales. Nancy introduced each honoree by reading their inspiring bios and announcing which school they are attending this fall. After each introduction, each honoree delivered heartwarming remarks of gratitude and appreciation for all who helped along their academic journey. They also declared that they give their best effort as they start the collegiate journeys and that they will find a way to give back to their community upon their graduations. The event was also streamed via Facebook Live in an effort to reach audiences beyond Silicon Valley, in fact, the live-stream reached over 6,300 people and had just under 2,000 views.  The other goal in streaming the event was to share these stories of commitment and perseverance in an effort to inspire others in our communities, especially young girls and boys so they could also see themselves as successful scholars entering the college of their choice. We are also optimistic that this will be the first of many College Declaration Day events and that the number of academic honorees will grow each year.

The inaugural College Declaration Day cohort includes:

  • Krista Arellano – Yale University
  • Daniela Cervantes – University of California at Berkeley
  • Gissel Neri Corcoles – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • Apolinar De Jesus – University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Evelyn Lazaro-Ruiz – Vassar College
  • Yulissa Martin-Covarrubias – University of California at Berkeley
  • Anthony Bernard Tapiz – California State University at Monterey Bay
  • Josalyne Torres-Baez – University of California at Davis

We wish them all the best as they enter their freshmen year and look forward to providing our audiences with updates throughout their first year.

Lastly, we would like to give special thanks to Cultura Ambassador and education champion, Jorge Escobar, for seeing the vision of College Declaration Day and partnering with Silicon Valley Latino in producing this special event. We also want to offer a special acknowledgment to, Cultura Ambassador, Ileana Ortega Brunetti of Ceiba Public Schools for her assistance with the nomination process. Additionally, we want to thank San Jose City College and the Milpitas Extension Team including Michael Mooney, Director of the Milpitas Extension along with all our families, educators and Cultura Ambassadors that came out to support this special event.

 

Adelante!

 

Inspire Higher Panel at SJCC Milpitas Extension

 

On the evening of August 30th, Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College were delighted to present the first Inspire Higher Panel presentation to an open audience. Typically, the Inspire Higher program has been a tour involving select high schools in the South Bay. These schools have included the Luis Valdez Leadership Academy, Latino College Preparatory Academy, Cristo Rey, Milpitas High School and ACE Charter High School as well as ACE Middle School and Sacred Heart Nativity Schools. Through the Inspire Higher Tour, Silicon Valley Latino features four Latinos from the STEAM fields. Although STEAM is typically the acronym that represents Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, through our definition the “E” also represents Entrepreneurship and Entertainment and the “M” also represents Media, Marketing and Management. We typically feature two Latinas and two Latinos from these fields through a one-hour moderated panel discussion. During this hour the panelists share their journeys in a very open, honest and authentic manner, they share the good, the bad and the ugly.  The panelists share in such an inspiring way that even though the students did not know them prior to the panel presentation they rush at them at the conclusion of the Q & A segment like groupies to rock stars, it’s such a beautiful thing to watch.

One of the challenges that Silicon Valley Latino has faced in the past years while presenting the Inspire Higher Tour is that these presentations have been rather exclusive to students of the select high schools participating. However, now through an established partnership with San Jose City College, these panel presentations will be offered to the general public (students, parents, professionals, etc) on a regular basis at the new San Jose City College Milpitas Extension. Both Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College are excited about this partnership and prospect of offering a variety of similar type activities for our community.

On August 30th, the first Inspire Higher Panel presentation at the San Jose City College Milpitas Extension featured a stellar line-up of Latino Cultura Ambassadors which included Diana Albarrán Chicas (GEO Product Line Manager at SSL and co-founder of Latinas in STEM), Rich Garcia (co-founder of Blyve.com), Nancy Rosales (Serial Entrepreneur and media & business consultant), and Ivan Reyes (Serial Entrepreneur and Executive Director for the Police Activities League in Redwood City).  As usual, these panelists shared their journeys in a truly inspiring manner and passed on lessons learned as well as what inspires them these days. We encourage you to watch our Inspire Higher recap video below.

Also, stay tuned to the next Inspire Higher Panel presentation at the new San Jose City College Milpitas Extension!

 

SJZ Summer Fest 2017

 

 

SJZ Summer Fest Recap Video featuring photos from the festival and song (Somos El Son De La Calle by Braulio Barrera).

The only thing greater than experiencing the joy of a great live performance is doing so amongst an appreciative audience composed of other great music lovers. And it’s in that moment you realize festivals like the San Jose Summer Jazz Fest are really about music fans. Fans treated to so much hidden and diverse talents. Fans who get it.

This year’s Fest featured such an eclectic mix of old school favorites, world music, traditional genres like bebop and salsa, as well as a host of fresh new talent from around the world.
Silicon Valley Latino was thrilled to participate in this musical whirlwind and truly enjoyed seeing so many cultura ambassadors doing the same.

The music was rich, the food was wonderful and the weekend weather was perfect as thousands of attendees strolled the streets of downtown San Jose this past weekend.
SJZ is more than a jazz festival, it’s a cultural experience. Produced by jazz fans, for jazz fans. The love for music was prevalent and palatable on all stages. The experience of not just the music, but the stories behind the music. The rich history behind the artist’s interpretation of what we pool together and call jazz. Most settings had an element of intimacy and allowed the artist to talk and share their tales in such a refreshing format. These are the things that make San Jose Jazz Fest so unique and inviting. The artists were giving of their talents and the audience was receptive.

This widely diverse and engaging mix of musicians and audience couldn’t help but remind us how blessed we are to live in a place that champions the talent without judgments of race or background or political differences. The world could learn great lessons taught in the hearts and minds of these talented musicians. Voices that cut through division and sound the rhythm of unity and passion. Festivals like this cut through the thing that make us different, and celebrates those differences in the most artistic way. The voice and expression of love…for all.

It’s impossible to catch all the acts over the three day event, but SVL was in full force catching the sparks flying off stages all over downtown San Jo. The first Friday Night I was awestruck by the tightest band I think I’ve ever seen in my life. No not George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Although they were a different brand indeed, loose, funky and fun. It gave the audience an opportunity to shake off the sillys and just vibe to that crazy three ring circus they bring to the stage. No, the real magic came from opener Orgóne. A soulful, bad ass group of young LA funksters that brought a joy and energy to opening night that was just right. Cool but accessible. Sexy and inviting and delivered to perfection. Look out for this band. They were absolutely amazing.

Late night Friday we hung out with our favorite crazy soul sister Ginetta Minichielio from New York who had us in stitches at The Jade Leaf. She is a super spirited and talented pocket trumpet player. Just a joy. Imagine Miles Davis meets Amy Winehouse. Beautiful stuff.

The warm Saturday sun saw a massive crowd dancing through the maze of music and energy bouncing from the Salsa stage to cool little jams at the blues/big easy stage and down at Café Stritch. The evening was capped off on the main stage with Chris Botti who brought an entire orchestra and by finale had pared down to a single piano. And at every turn lent his unique voice to each movement. A dazzling and moving production.

Sunday stand outs included Cyrille Aimée and Daymé Arocena. Both bringing unbelievable vocal stylings to the very charming Hammer Theatre.
Overall, the weekend left our souls stirred and our feet on fire. But we are so grateful to have this amazing festival as part of our wonderfully diverse Silicon Valley. It’s truly refreshing to know that we live in a part of the world that enjoys the various flavors and textures of our diversity, it all starts with an inclination towards an inclusive frame of mind. We’re optimistic about seeing this rich tradition continue to thrive and grow in our beautiful and transcending downtown.