Author Archive

Lydia Mendoza

October 11, 2022

Decades before Selena was crowned the Queen of Tejano Music, there was Lydia Mendoza. Today at TAD, we are celebrating the first iconic female Tejano singer, La Alondra de La Frontera. Lydia Mendoza was born in Houston in 1916 to a musical family. Her parents had immigrated to Texas in order to escape the Mexican Revolution. Her father was a railroad worker, so her family would travel with him and together would entertain the farmers and laborers along the Tex-Mex border. Lydia would spend a great deal of her early career performing with her family, and even as a solo artist, they would accompany and open for her concerts. 

When Lydia was a teenager, she caught the attention of Spanish radio personality, Manuel J. Cortez. He signed her onto Bluebird Records in 1937 and she recorded her first well-known song “Mal Hombre”. Mendoza’s song was a hit across the US-Mexico border, and she became a symbol of pride for the Tejano population, as well as other Mexican Americans.

Carlos Santana

October 10, 2022

Carlos Santana is an American guitarist who rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band Santana, which pioneered a fusion of Rock and roll and Latin American jazz. Its sound featured his melodic, blues-based lines set against Latin American and African rhythms played on percussion instruments not generally heard in rock, such as timbales and congas. He experienced a resurgence of popularity and critical acclaim in the late 1990 and in 2015, Rolling Stone magazine listed him at No. 20 on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists. He has won 10 Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards, was inducted along with his namesake band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2002.

Beyond music, in the lifestyle and entertainment realm, River Of Colors (ROC) has enjoyed tremendous success with the Carlos by Carlos Santana and Unity by Carlos Santana brand names. Founded in 1997, ROC is dedicated to bringing products to market that embody the passion and integrity of Carlos Santana and that are true to his distinctive style and taste. The arc of Santana’s performing and recording career is complemented by a lifelong devotion to social activism and humanitarian causes. The Milagro Foundation, originally established by Carlos Santana and his family in 1998, has granted more than eight million dollars to non-profit programs supporting under-resourced children and youth in the areas of arts, education and health. Milagro means “miracle,” and the image of children as divine miracles of light and hope-gifts to our lives is the inspiration behind its name.

Santana continues to spread his music today at his residency in Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.


October 10, 2022

We can’t celebrate the Hispanic impact on American culture without celebrating the “Queen of Tejano music” herself, Selena! Selena Quintanilla-Pérez’s contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of the late 20th century. Billboard magazine named her the greatest female Latin artist of all time and she is credited for catapulting a music genre into the mainstream market.

Selena released Entre a Mi Mundo (1992), which peaked at number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart for eight consecutive months. The album’s commercial success led music critics to call it the “breakthrough” recording of her musical career. One of its singles, “Como la Flor”, became one of her most popular signature songs. Live! (1993) won Best Mexican/American Album at the 1994 Grammy Awards, becoming the first recording by a female Tejano artist to do so.

Unfortunately, on March 31, 1995, Selena’s life ended when she was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, her friend and the former manager of her Selena Etc. boutiques. Two weeks later, George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas, declared April 16 as Selena Day in Texas. Her posthumous crossover album, Dreaming of You (1995), debuted atop the Billboard 200, making Selena the first Latin artist to accomplish this feat. In 1997, Warner Bros. released Selena, a film about her life and career, which starred a then-unknown Jennifer Lopez as Selena, catapulting Lopez into fame. In 2020, Netflix released Selena: The Series starring Christian Serratos. Selena has sold around 18 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling female artists in Latin music.

General Richard E Cavazos

October 9, 2022

Gen. Richard E Cavazos was born in Kingsville, Texas in 1929. He graduated from Texas Tech University and began his military career during the Korean War. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions not just leading his company into battle, but for his rescue of 5 wounded men from the field. He received another of this award during the Vietnam War for his extreme acts of heroism on the field yielding a victory in battle. 

Gen. Cavazos remains an important fixture as he is the first Hispanic to become a four-star general.

Vikki Carr

October 8, 2022

Today we are celebrating Mexican American singer, Vikki Carr! She was born in El Paso, Texas, and has been actively making music for over 60 years! Vikki Carr was born Florencia Vicenta de Casillas-Martinez Cardona before changing to her stage name in 1962 when she signed on with Liberty Records. Carr is known for pushing to record in her native Spanish, something that wasn’t done for American markets. However, she found great success as she brought mainstream music to Spanish-speaking audiences.

Vikki has accumulated many awards throughout her singing career, including three Grammys, a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Medallion of Excellence Award in 2011, and the President’s Award from Vietnam Veterans of America in 2010, among many more. She’s one of the most awarded and well-regarded Latin singers of all time.

Carmen Crenshaw

October 7, 2022

Carmen Crenshaw was born in Lima, Peru, and came to America as an immigrant to pursue the American dream. She moved to Houston working with Oil and Gas companies as an accountant. After several years in the USA, she met and married Jim Crenshaw and moved back to South America for his work. In South America, she started working with local charities, orphanages, and other faith-based organizations, which provided her the opportunity to work with Presidents, Ambassadors, and Leaders of Industry in fundraising efforts.

After many years in South America, the family moved back to the USA. Several years later her stepson; Dan Crenshaw, ran for US Congress, and Carmen decided to get involved with the Republican Party as she saw how critical it was that we reach our Hispanic community with a positive and truthful message about the greatness of America.

She served as the Chairwoman for the RNHA (Republican National Hispanic Assembly) Texas Chapter for the last two years, where she worked tirelessly to engage the Texas Hispanic voters. Carmen is presently serving on the advisory board of “Beta Academy” a south Houston Charter school, and with the “Greater Houston Council of Federated Republican Women” board as Chair of Public Relations.

Carmen is passionate about her role with the Hispanic Leadership Alliance and committed to our great nation. She is an example of how those who immigrate to the USA properly and for the right reasons, can become a building block for our Countries future. Carmen’s drive and perseverance are now focused on giving back to the country she calls home.

Oscar Rosa

October 6, 2022

Oscar Rosa was born and raised in the Valley, from an early age Oscar worked for his father at the family’s small tire shop to help make ends meet and to earn enough money for college.

When he entered the University of Houston, Oscar couldn’t even afford textbooks, but he worked hard, and fought through every challenge. After completing his education, Oscar opened his own pharmacy to provide jobs and healthcare for his community.

Oscar is a man of deep Christian faith with a generous heart for his community. As a pharmacist, Oscar made it a store policy that no person should go without critical medication and gave away prescriptions for free to those who could not pay.

For 16 years, Oscar has taught adult confirmation classes for those seeking to become members of the Catholic Church. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and a member of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in McAllen.

Oscar decided to run for office because he is tired of seeing poverty and crime hold back the people of the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. Oscar believes it is time to end these cycles and work for prosperity and growth in our communities. South Texas should be a place where people want to come, not a place people want to leave.

As our next state representative Oscar will focus on common-sense, pro-growth, anti-crime policies to keep our families safe and allow the Valley to prosper.

Oscar and his wife Cynthia have been married for 27 years and have been blessed to have five children—Lauren, Matthew, Kayla, Joaquin, and Regina.

Cami Canales

October 5, 2022

Cami Canales was born and raised in South Texas.  She grew up hunting on her family’s ranch with her father, Gus T. Canales and her younger brother, Marc A.R. Canales (now deceased).  She attended school at Texas A&I (now Texas A&M Kingsville) and San Antonio Community College.  Then she entered the world of travel, where she worked for almost 20 years;  finishing her travel career at American Express.  She has lived in San Antonio, Texas for over 37 years, she learned about the San Antonio’s colorful history and beautiful culture from her aunts:  Bebe Canales Inkley and Mary Canales Jary. 

Cami feels that she learned about hard work from her mother, Pat Canales, who patiently raised 5 children.  She is very proud of her three sisters:  Dawn Canales, Carla Canales and Wendy Canales who are all teachers in Houston, Texas.  Cami has been happily married to her husband, Travis McLeod, a mechanical engineer for 21 years.  She is in currently charge of the human resources and the social philanthropy at Travis’ engineering firm, Silber & Associates of San Antonio.  Previously Cami was on the Parent Teacher League at her children’s school when they were in grade school.  She served four years on the executive board, two years as vice president and two years as president.  Cami is currently serving as a member of ImactSA, which is a women’s nonprofit organization that uses a collective giving model to make significant grants to nonprofit organizations serving the Greater San Antonio area.

Cami and Travis are the proud parents of two teenagers:  Brock McLeod and Kristin McLeod, who attend a STEM high school in San Antonio.  They are members of Concordia Lutheran Church of San Antonio.  They enjoy spending time with her extended family at the family ranch in South Texas.  Cami’s hobbies include: hunting, cooking, wine tasting, yoga, and travel.

Willie Vasquez Ng

October 4, 2022

Willie Vasquez Ng is a business and community advocate and philanthropist, a small business owner since 2003 and a Master Peace Officer serving San Antonio and South Texas in Law Enforcement since 1993.

Willie served the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office from January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2018. Prior to joining the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office as Chief Criminal Investigator, Willie served the city of San Antonio with the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) for 22 years. During his time with SAPD, Willie began as a Patrol Officer patrolling all areas of San Antonio, then served as a Detective Investigator where he investigated various criminal offenses in the Repeat Offenders Program (ROP) and Financial Crimes Unit. Prior to retirement from SAPD, Willie worked with the United States Secret Service where he was deputized as a Special Federal Deputy Marshal and served within the unit for over seven years. Willie’s in-depth training as a law enforcement professional range from Hand-to-Hand Combat & Self-Defense, Hand-Written Forgery, Counterfeit Currency & Credit Card Fraud, to Lie Detection, Narcotics and Emergency Management training by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Willie is a certified Trainer for Active Shooter and Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response from Texas State University. Willie has a Master Certification in Law Enforcement by the State of Texas. Willie was deputized Special Federal Deputy Marshal with the United States Secret Service.

In 2003, seeing the need to support local businesses and law enforcement, Willie established a security business that focuses on providing a variety of security services to all types of businesses, communities, and organizations, for profit and non-profit, providing over 2700 jobs throughout Texas.

In addition to public service and economic development, Willie is tireless in his efforts toward non-profit work. Willie provides community support and consulting to business leaders, entrepreneurs, law enforcement and various local and national organizations. Willie contributes his time serving on various boards. Willie is a member of the Criminal Justice Reform Committee of the Texas Associations of Business (TAB) with headquarters in Austin, Texas, where he worked in conjunction with the team to create and implement the initiative Texas House Bill 918 which went into effect in January 2020.

Willie has a Baccalaureate (Bachelor’s) in Criminal Justice from Wayland Baptist University, a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from St. Mary’s University, and Willie is currently working on his dissertation to finalize his Doctorate (PhD) in Organizational Leadership from the University of the Incarnate Word. Willie received the ASIS International Award for Exemplary Service to Business and Law Enforcement (2016), and in 2017, Willie received the award for Professional Achievement by the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement (TCOLE) for his service and accomplishments in law enforcement since his career began in1993. Willie is an award recipient at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) Dreeben School of Education in Recognition for Academic Excellence (April 2019).

As a consummate professional and public servant, Willie regularly speaks about education initiatives, business leadership, economic development and modern law enforcement throughout South Texas, to include assisting local Churches to improve their security detail for their congregations, and Willie is frequently invited to speak to students in local schools, colleges and universities, such as University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, as well as multiple businesses where he provides Active Shooter training.

Willie and his wife, Ruby, established The Willie Ng Family Foundation, which is designed to provide a diversity of support to those in need. In 2017, Willie battled cancer, and today he is a cancer survivor because of his LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. Due to the life altering experience of battling cancer, Willie and Ruby devote their time to help those who must face the battle of cancer.

Willie’s devotion and tenacity as a public servant for 28 years is evident in his life’s work, and Willie is committed to the enhancement of the quality of life and prosperity for everyone for future generations.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa

October 2, 2022

Today we are celebrating the iconic Dr. Ellen Ochoa. She is an American engineer, former astronaut and former director of the Johnson Space Center.

Dr. Ochoa was born in La Mesa, California as a second generation Mexican American. She received her bachelor’s from San Diego State University, and her master’s and doctorate from Stanford. In 1993, Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Ochoa became director of the center upon the retirement of the previous director, Michael Coats, on December 31, 2012. She was the first Hispanic director and the second female director of Johnson Space Center.


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