- Event Co-Chairs Selina Serna, Noralba De La Rosa, and Erica Saenz
- Diane Lane, First Lady Cecilia Abbott, Mayor Steve Adler, Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos, Hispanic Alliance President Monica Peraza
- Eric Copper and Hispanic Alliance President Monica Peraza
- Star chefs: Mario Medina, Nathan Lenley, Kristine Kittrell, Daniel Brooks, David Garrido, Roberto Espinosa and Joel Fried
- Jazmine Leon-Wing and Tisun Wing
- Lee Rios and Alexia Loera
- Mariachi "Las Coronelas"
The Hispanic Alliance, a local non-profit 501C3 held it’s 6th Annual Authentic Mexico Gala at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. The theme of this year’s Gala revolved around the Mexican State of Chiapas, officially Estado Libre Y Soberano de Chiapas ( Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas). The event featured the authentic food, embroideries and textiles from this beautiful part of Mexico. Guests arrived at the Kodosky Lounge to hear the superlative music of Mariachi “Las Coronelas.” Equal delight was found in the hors d’oeuvres created by Daniel Brooks (Licha’s Cantina), Shawn Cirkiel (Parkside, The Backspace, Olive & June, Bullfight), Roberto Espinosa (Tacodeli), and Kristine Kittrell (Weather Up).
With much urging, guests were pried away from the musical and dining delights in the Lounge to gather in Dell Hall and be greeted by Mistress of Ceremonies Senator Judith Zaffirini. Two brief videos highlighting the wonders of Chiapas and the programs of the Hispanic Alliance followed before all attending moved onto the stage for dinner and the program. Chef David Garrido (dine at the Radisson) continued the high bar of the cuisine by elevating the tamale to haute cuisine. Elevating that bar even higher was Chef Marta Zepeda (Tierra Y Cielo, Gastronomic Hotel, Chiapas, Mexico) with a phenomenal Mole Coleto con Platano Macho. The stalwart crowd did find room for dessert–especially since it was created by Taylor Hall (Apis), Tracey Heffernan (The Auguste Escoffier School), Rebecca Rather and Erica Waksmunski (Parkside, Olive & June, The Backspace).
Honored this evening with the 2015 Trailblazer Award was none other than First Lady of Texas, Cecilia Abbott. The crowd signaled their approval with two standing ovations.
The Hispanic Alliance is supported solely by donations, including money raised at this annual Authentic Mexico Gala. The Hispanic Alliance mission is to provide programs that empower low-income individuals through high quality education, arts and resources in order to help them realize their full potential.
The Hispanic Alliance sponsors two programs – Austin Soundwaves and Emprendedor U (formerly known as MexNet Alliance).
Austin Soundwaves is currently bringing music education to low income students from elementary through high school in East Austin at East Austin Prep, Blackshear Elementary and Austin Achieve. Since 2011, Austin Soundwaves has been providing instruments and teaching students how to play in an orchestra setting through the renowned “El Sistema” music education program. While keeping a curriculum aligned with state and national standards, Austin Soundwaves has a proven record of empowering our students. As a result, they have seen improved self-esteem, higher engagement in school, better attendance, dedication to learning and, most importantly, higher graduation rates. “All this provides boundless opportunities for our students”, said Patrick Slevin, Program Director. “In addition, our students acquire a new appreciation for music and the arts.”The growth at Austin Soundwaves this year has been significant, having gone from 160 students at the end of the 2014/15 school year to serving over 300 students in 2015/16. Included in 2015/16 is a brand new one-to-one model of sustainability that will be launched at Trinity Episcopal School in which fees paid by each Austin Soundwaves student at the Trinity campus will support one Austin Soundwaves student in the East Austin schools.
Emprendedor U program is a unique business education program instructed in Spanish. Incomparable in Central Texas, the sessions escape the traditional teaching model and bring cutting edge classes covering topics such as innovation, scalability, technology and growth, along with marketing, sales, tax and legal topics.Close to 600 entrepreneurs have attended our seminars since 2009, entirely shifting the way they envision their business. Upon graduation from our program there is a recognizable transformation in the students’ priorities and objectives for their business that now seem limitless.The faculty of Emprendedor U are volunteer instructors who are seasoned business owners with international teaching experience. The intent is to share their knowledge of real life business lessons and how to start and successfully run one’s own business.With (4) five week seminars conducted throughout the year, Emprendedor U provides effective tools that empower business owners to make better decisions that impact their ventures. This year Emprendedor U will also host the 1st small business summit in Austin conducted entirely in Spanish. This will provide additional resources to our students and the growing community of Spanish speaking entrepreneurs.