20 influential Latinos in San Antonio

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15

20 Influential Latinos in San Antonio (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – All around San Antonio, hard-working Latinos are making a difference. Last year, we mentioned 25 Latinos who are influential to many, and this year, we are spotlighting 20 more Latinos.

From political figures to doctors, chefs, entertainers and community members, they are all impacting San Antonio and beyond.

The following are in no particular order:

Shea Serrano: A New York Times best-selling author, Serrano writes about basketball, movies, music and other things. Beyond his literary work, Serrano gives back to the community. Most recently, he and his FOH Army (Twitter followers) helped the “I Support the Girls” nonprofit, which helped distribute menstrual products and new underwear for Afghan women and girls.

(Getty Images)

Shelly Lares: A Tejano music pioneer, Lares, also known as “Little Miss Dynamite,” recently announced that she would be retiring from her 40-year career to pursue a career as a hospice nurse.

Isabel Ann Castro: A visual artist from the South Side, Castro co-founded St. Sucia, a Latina/x feminist magazine featuring contemporary writing and art. She also co-organized San Anto Zine Fest.

Judge Ron Rangel: The administrative judge also presides over the 379th Criminal District Court. During the pandemic, Rangel has been tasked to make sure cases continue to move along. This fall, Rangel will introduce the Manage Assigned Council System, which will overhaul the criminal justice system in Bexar County.

Judge Ron Rangel - 379th Dist. Court (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

April Monterrosa: Putting the South Side on the map is Monterrosa’s mission. In 2020, she created the “Live From the Southside” magazine, which partners with KSAT.

Cecilia López: She is the Founder of A21 Freedom Chasers, a nonprofit organization with a mission to prevent, protect and put an end to human trafficking. Lopez, in 2015, launched San Antonio’s first Freedom Chasers walk to raise awareness about human trafficking. The next walk is scheduled for Oct. 16.

Cecilia Lopez (Brenda Pina)

Ricardo Chavira: A proud SA native, Chavira can most often be found on the TV screen. Recently, he starred in “Selena: The Series” on Netflix, playing the role of Abraham Quintanilla.

Chavira joins the KSAT Q&A to talk about Selena the series and his choice to stay in San Antonio.

Dr. Ray Altamirano: Casa Salud Family Medicine Clinic was created by Altamirano. The clinic on the South Side is for those who are uninsured or undocumented. Proceeds from Altamirano’s paintings help fund the clinic. Altamirano hopes his clinic can serve as a model for others and help more patients in need across the city.

A medical clinic on San Antonio’s South Side may look like an art gallery on the inside but the paintings serve a big purpose.

Graciella Sanchez: She is an activist of San Antonio and director of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. Sanchez has helped develop programs such as CineMujer, successfully fought the demolition of Alazan-Apache Courts and defended the Hays Street Bridge against the development of nearby businesses. She’s also an advocate for the LGBTQ community.

Victor Medina & Roxanne Delgado: In 2009, Victor Medina was struck by an IED in Iraq. He survived but suffered a traumatic brain injury. Years later, he and his wife, Dr. Roxana Delgado, have started the TBI Warrior Foundation, which helps others living with brain injuries and provides help for their caregivers.

Amanda Reyna: In 2020, Reyna launched the Latina Vote initiative to help Latinos figure out if they were registered to vote or help them register. The initiative quickly grew, and many took part in helping get people registered to vote before the 2020 presidential election. The Latina Vote initiative continues to advocate and be involved in the community.

According to Pew Research, Latinos are expected for the first time to be the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority in a U.S. presidential election, with a record 32 million projected to be eligible to vote.

Dr. Maria Hernandez Ferrier: The inaugural president of Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Ferrier also had the role of director of Mexico relations for the university. Prior to her career at the university, she held national educational appointments under both Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton.

John Quiñones: The ABC News correspondent and host of “What Would You Do?” was born and raised in San Antonio. He graduated from Brackenridge High School and received his undergrad at St. Mary’s University. He often returns to the Alamo City to visit or shoot episodes of his show.

John Quinones of ABC's "What Would You Do?" shares his deep roots in San Antonio

Dr. Carmen Tafolla: The first City Poet Laureate of San Antonio, Tafolla is known for her poetry. She has authored more than 30 books and was also named the State Poet Laureate of Texas in 2015.

Alex Ramirez: He is an award-winning filmmaker, educator and San Antonio Film Society education coordinator. Ramirez created the production company Mala Bruja Pictures and teaches media and film at SAY Sí.

Eva Ybarra: Known as “La Reyna del Acordeon,” or the queen of the accordion, Ybarra is a conjunto legend. She is the first woman to make history in the male-dominated world of conjunto music.

Robert Salcido: As the executive director of the Pride Center of San Antonio, Salcido is an advocate for the LGBTQ community. Earlier this year he and his team launched a free group therapy for LGBTQ youth of color and Spanish speakers.

Pride Center San Antonio is using what they learned during the pandemic and an eye-opening three-year study to create two new hyper-focused counseling groups that help young people of color and Spanish speakers in the LGBTQ+ community.

Rico Torres & Diego Galicia: The chef duo made the 2017 Food & Wine Magazine list for best new chefs and continue to shine with their Mexican food. Their restaurant Mixtli is a dining experience like no other in San Antonio and gives you a tour of Mexican cuisine. If you get a reservation, you will enjoy a 10-course carefully crafted dinner.

Dr. Lyssa Ochoa: She is the founder of the San Antonio Vascular and Endovascular Clinic on the South Side. Ochoa saw the need for her clinic after seeing the number of diabetes-related amputations in San Antonio occurred in the city’s most underserved zip codes. She had partnered with hospitals, other doctors, schools districts and city council to develop amputation prevention programs.

Juan Morales: The Holmes High School head football coach and athletic coordinator has been a football coach in the San Antonio area for more than 25 years. Morales is also part of the Hispanic Texas High School Football Association.

Juan Morales - Holmes HS Football Coach (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

About the Author:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.