Artistic rendering of roundabout construction at Cinco Puntos.

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Across the nation, Latinos are being honored for their outstanding contributions to the country and their communities for National Hispanic Heritage Month.

As part of their Local Heroes segment, KCET and Union Bank honor Teresa Campos Hernández, owner of Teresita’s Restaurant on First Street in East Los Angeles, for her dedication and commitment to enriching the lives of others.

From KCET’s Local Heroes web page:

Regarded as the “Angel de Los Angeles” by many community members, Mrs. Hernández’s spirit of giving is immeasurable and her determination is unsurpassed. Grassroots and informal at best, the 77-year-old raises funds the old-fashioned way – by way of a jarrito, or collections jar, in the restaurant and through conversations with her guests. Mrs. Hernández’s effective method of persuasion, organization and fundraising has earned the attention of key politicians such as Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar and Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina.

Locally, Mrs. Hernández has helped impoverished families and women who have been sexually assaulted, provided meals for the homeless, gathered more than 600 signatures to save the historic landmark, Golden Theatre, fought against the objectification of women in billboards sponsored by a Spanish language radio station, and provided funds for families who have lost their loved ones and who couldn’t afford the funeral. Victims of violent crimes, children in crisis, veterans and seniors in need of medical equipment and strangers all have been touched by her kindness. In addition, Mrs. Hernández has donated to schools such as Los Angeles Music and Art School and Roosevelt High School, churches such as St. Mary’s Church and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and nonprofits such as Familia Unida Living with MS.

As part of the city’s activities to celebrate Latino Heritage Month, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presented awards to three Los Angeles Latino leaders at City Hall last Friday. One of them is East L.A. native, educator and activist Sal Castro (left) who received the Spirit of Los Angeles Award.

Castro is known for his role as a key organizer of the 1968 East Los Angeles student walkouts (also referred to as “blowouts”), when as many as 40,000 Chicana/o students marched out of their schools to protest for educational justice among Mexican-Americans. Thought of as dangerous and radical, Castro was fired by The Board of Education and also fined with several charges. However last year, the Los Angeles Unified School District named a new campus in Castro’s honor, acknowledging the importance of his activism and commitment to improving educational opportunities for Mexican-American students

Also awarded was world-renowned dog trainer Cesar Millán (center) who received the Dream of Los Angeles Award, and former Dodger’s pitcher Fernando Valenzuela (right) was presented with the Hope of Los Angeles Award. Read more about the recipients in Intersections South LA. (photo from

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