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!