2014 Latino Heritage Month Heroes - KCET
Director and Founder
Avenue 50 Studio
Kathy Gallegos is the founder and director of Avenue 50 Studio situated in the heart of Highland Park. For the past 15 years, Gallegos’ dedication to the non-profit gallery has supported more than 1,000 talented Latino artists, writers, and poets.
A Cuban-Puerto Rican-American born in New York City, she moved to California during the turbulent ‘60s. Her social and cultural activism led to her founding the Avenue 50 Studio championing issues of social responsibility. Through her leadership, the Studio has grown from a personal art studio to a Latina led thriving non-profit, arts presentation organization, In 2011, through a James Irvine grant, Gallegos created a program, Poesia Para La Gente, which brings poetry to the underserved in her community. This inspired her to take Latino art outside the traditional gallery walls and use art as a tool for healing and inspiration. She has curated exhibitions of Latino art at the LAC +USC MedCenter, a Councilman's office, and in local businesses.
In 2011, Avenue 50 received a grant from Cal Humanities grant to explore and uncover the little know history of the roots of Chicano art in Highland Park.
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
Florencia Molina is a Mexican national who became a victim of human trafficking in the Los Angeles garment industry. After escaping, she began to rebuild her life and speak out to raise public awareness about modern slavery. In 2003 she testified on behalf of AB22, the first law in California that established human trafficking as a crime and gave additional protections for survivors. In June 2014, her activism was recognized by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a speech regarding the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014.
Ms. Molina is a founding member of the Coalition to End Slavery & Trafficking’s (CAST) survivor leadership program and currently serves on the leadership's executive team as the membership chair. She is a member of CAST LA’s National Survivor Network’s Speakers Bureau as a speaker; she has trained a variety of audiences on human trafficking including the Los Angeles Police Department, the FBI, diplomats from Mexico and El Salvador, and legislators in Sacramento, California and Washington, D.C. Her many honors include the Minerva Award founded by Maria Shriver to celebrate women who work to make this world a more compassionate, tolerant, and just place.
View past Latino Heritage Month Honorees