Latinx Flint NEWS

By Asa Ascencio Zuccaro | Latinx Flint Media

2022 César Chávez service award recipient Ralph Arellano delivers acceptance speech and encourages community members to get involved and be engaged with their elected officials.

This news article is also available in: Español English (Inglés)

FLINT, Michigan – March 31st of every year is designated as National César Chávez day in the United Stated, serving as a day to honor of the life and legacy that Chávez had on the country’s history. Civil rights leader and community steward César Chávez dedicated his time and energy to the advocacy and advancements in human rights of individuals and families living in the United States. This act of selfless service to the community is recognized throughout the country and the accomplishments of the movement are associated with other prominent leaders such as Dolores Huerta and the multitude of individuals acting alongside and in support of the movement. 

The Latinx Technology & Community Center hosts an annual celebratory event recognizing the legacy of Chávez, Huerta and the United Farm Workers (UFW). This annual Flint event includes honoring a local community servant that has embodied the spirit of César Chávez and acted selflessly in the service to the community.      

The 2023 Nominees for the Chávez Community Service Award:

Aurora Sauceda

Aurora Sauceda is and has been heavily involved in the community. Working for Genesys Regional Medical Center, formerly St. Joseph Hospital for 27 years, Aurora took an early retirement in 2000 and went to work for Lear Corporation for 8 years. In 2013, after receiving BA at U of M-Flint, Aurora was hired as Prevention Specialist at Hope Network – Connexion. In 2020, Aurora implemented a public health program for Michigan United and finally retired, once again in August 2022. During tax season, worked for H&R Block and after 16 years of service, retired from there also. Community Coordinator for Latinos United for Flint, member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Past City-wide Advisory member, committee member of Community Foundation of Greater Flint Equity Task force, and Michigan State University Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions Consortium. In 2022, Aurora was sworn in as a commissioner of Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan.

Jesse Ascencio

Jesse Ascencio has dedicated his life to volunteering and community service. Jesse, a military veteran, worked for the City of Flint for 37 years, maintaining the city parks such as Whaley, Broome and Berston, while also running all the events at Atwood Stadium. In 1974, Jesse started the Cerca Boxing team on Chavez Blvd. and Davison Rd. Jesse always made sure there was no charge to join the boxing team as many youth in the neighborhood lived in single parent or low-income households. Jesse also served as a volunteer coach for youth football, baseball and softball at Flint St.Mary’s, as well as coached adult athletic teams such as the men’s softball team for Shipley and Company and head coach for the woman’s softball team El Monterrey Cerca. In the 40 years of coaching, Jesse was never paid. Jesse volunteered for 32 years for the CRIM festival of races and the Flint River clean up. Jesse volunteered as the official time keeper for the National Junior Olympic Boxing and USA Boxing traveling throughout the country and internationally. 

Sixto Olivo

Sixto Olivo has been a community activist and successful businessman in Flint for many years. His involvement in the community is well known. He formed the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he currently serves as President; is chairman of the Spanish Speaking Information Board and serves on the Citizens Advisory Council, (the only person to serve on both UM-Flint’s Corporate Advisory Board as well as their Citizens Advisory Board). He has served as co-chair of former Mayor Woodrow Stanley’s re-election campaign; received the Hispanic Leadership Award, and was Mayor Stanley’s first recipient of the Martin Luther King Drum Major Award. He has also served on MCC’s Presidential Advisory Committee, the Millage Committee for MCC’s Regional Technology Center (RTC), Chair of the Multicultural/Minority Affairs Advisory Committee and as a board member of the Foundation for Mott Community College.

Tendaji Ganjes

Tendaji Ganjes dedicated over 40 years of his life to pre-college and college level students by serving as a mentor, teacher, consultant, senior level administrator, and various other roles. He served on numerous professional and community boards and committees including, but not limited to the Board of Directors of The Urban League of Greater Flint, membership on the Flint Big Brothers/Big Sisters Mentoring Task Force, the Flint Community Action Group, the Flint Community Leadership Summit and Planning Group, 100 Black Men of Flint, the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Antioch College and innumerable others. Prior to retirement he most recently spent almost 20 years as the Executive Director of the Office of Educational Opportunities Initiatives and the Assistant to the Provost at the University of Michigan-Flint. Tendaji passed away Friday, April 17, 2015.

The Chavez Service Award vote and process is one where the award is given based on a vote by the local community, as opposed to being given based on the opinion of the Board of Directors of the Latinx Technology & Community Center.

The Voting Process will close March 15, 2023 at 11:59 PM. The process is limited to one (1) vote per person. 

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