WASHINGTON -- The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) today announced its 2011 highest honors to be awarded at its 34th Annual Awards Gala on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 in Washington.
Four-time Grammy winner and legendary entertainer Vikki Carr and astronaut Jose Hernandez will each receive a 2011 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service. U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will receive the Chair's Award from CHCI Chair Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez. This year's Hispanic Heritage Month's theme is "Keeping the Promise: Unity, Strength, Leadership."
"The 34th Annual Awards Gala honors Latinos who have had groundbreaking careers and whose leadership is demonstrated by their commitment to giving back to the community," said Gonzalez. "This year's theme recognizes the importance of the Hispanic community uniting to fully embrace its growing clout in all facets of society and taking active leadership roles to ensure the future success of America."
CHCI's Annual Awards Gala is the signature event in CHCI's Hispanic Heritage Month Events that include the Public Policy Conference and Reyes of Comedy. It is the largest and most prestigious gathering of Hispanic bipartisan, public and private sector leaders in the nation.
The gala includes musical entertainment, remarks by figures of national prominence, and recognition of CHCI's highest honors, while supporting CHCI's critical educational attainment and leadership development programs.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been invited to attend. Over the past three years, the President has addressed a total of more than 8,000 guests as the keynote speaker.
Emmy award winning journalist and veteran Univision anchor Teresa Rodriguez will serve as the Gala's celebrity host with "The Prince of Salsa" Luis Enrique and Latin singer Prince Royce providing an amazing evening of entertainment.
The Medallion of Excellence is CHCI's highest honor and is presented each year to an individual (one male and one female) who conducts himself or herself in an exemplary manner and who can serve as a role model and standard-bearer for the Latino community, particularly Latino youth. The qualifying factor is community involvement through the initiation or support of programs that benefit the Hispanic community as a whole.
The CHCI Chair's Award(s) is presented each year to an individual who has dedicated his or her public or private career to improving the lives of Hispanic Americans. The honoree is chosen wholly at the Chair's discretion.