In a heartfelt tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month, Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Board are shining a spotlight on six remarkable individuals within Houston's vibrant Hispanic community.
These exceptional honorees were nominated by their peers and meticulously selected by the Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Awards (MHHA) Committee for their exceptional contributions in enhancing the quality of life within the Houston Hispanic community.
Hispanic Heritage Month, observed from September 15 to October 15, will see Mayor Turner bestow well-deserved proclamations upon each honoree during three consecutive Houston City Council public sessions, commencing on Tuesday, September 26.
Meet this year’s esteemed Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Award recipients:
1. Pioneering the Arts: Geraldina Interiano Wise
Geraldina Interiano Wise, a long-time Houstonian, carries the title of the 2023 Mayor’s Hispanic Arts in the Community Award.
Geraldina's remarkable journey, from an accidental immigrant to a triple major graduate in Architecture, Art, and Art History, has paved the way for her to collab- orate on monumental projects alongside the nation's finest architects and designers. After 25 years of running her environmentally conscious design firm, Geraldina returned to her artistic roots, using her creations to foster empathy and awareness for our planet. Geraldina's influence extends to Houston's major universities, where she actively en- gages with students. She is also a founding
member of Latin American Women Artists of Houston (LAWAH) and a cultural ambassador for the city, representing its rich panlatinidad.
2. Transforming Education: Dr. Cruz Casiano
Dr. Cruz Casiano, the 2023 Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Education in the Community Award recipient, serves as the Director of the Career and Applied Technology Division at Lone Star College. Her role encompasses student success support, dual credit programs, scholarships, workforce recruitment, and vital partnerships with employers and school districts. Dr. Casiano's impressive achievements include initiating the Houston ISD-HCC Teacher Education Dual Credit Program and securing valuable resources for college students, such as food security and health-science internships. She extends her dedication to the community through her volunteer work with various nonprofits, making education accessible to Houston's youth.
3. A Champion for the Community: Rachel Cevallos de Gonzales Rachel Cevallos de Gonzales, a leading figure in the decorated apparel and promotional products industry, is the recipient of the 2023 Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Community Activist Award. Rachel's commitment to community service is exemplified by her role as president of the Historic LULAC Council 60, where she has revitalized the organization's mission and increased its impact on the Hispanic community.