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José Luna—Educator/Musician/Author—to receive DHO award by Ohio Latino Affairs Commission


By La Prensa Staff


José Luna is one of the entities that will receive the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan (DHO) award at an October reception as part of Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM). The awards are given annually by the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA), a.k.a. the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission.


The DHO award will be presented Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, at an evening gala, 6 to 10 p.m., to be held in the Governor’s Ballroom at the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square, 75 E. State St., Columbus.

José Luna


The gala honors the outstanding accomplishments of the Latino community across the state, recognizing individuals, military servicemen and women, and organizations who work with and on behalf of the Hispanic/Latino community for their contributions in Ohio.


The DHO award recognizes outstanding Latinos who have excelled in the professional arena, leadership, and community services. Educator Luna has managed to combine all three into his work, advocating for students through Toledo Public Schools during a nearly 30-year career with the district.

Luna, 65, first attended the school of hard knocks as a young child. Born in Lubbock, Texas, he moved to Ohio with his mother following a divorce and his father being handed a prison sentence for selling heroin. He began working the migrant farm fields at the age of eight.


Luna graduated Patrick Henry High School in Hamler, Ohio and immediately began working at the GM Foundry in Defiance. He began attended Bowling Green State University after being laid off from his factory job. Once called back to work, he could only take one or two classes while working full-time. Luna recalls it took him 14 years to complete his bachelor's degree in education. He later added a master's degree from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan.


Luna was part of the Latino Student Union (LSU) while at BGSU. The core members of LSU were a politically active bunch, many of them getting arrested for a sit-in demonstration.


“With some politically-minded co-members, we pushed for increased Latino recruitment, the hiring of Latino professors and the further development of the Ethnic Studies Department," he recalled. “With 22 other LSU members, we camped out in the university president’s office and were arrested for trespassing. We won our case and continued our efforts to raise the Latino issues at BGSU.”


That kind of advocacy continued once Luna was hired at TPS in 1992 as a social studies teacher and Hispanic Outreach Coordinator. His early work included translating at parent meetings, serving as a district liaison, and mentoring Latino students. The mentoring portion of his job description is where Luna vowed to make the future of his students better than his own past.


Luna became heavily involved in the annual Latino Youth Summit, which plays host to 600 Latino students each May in grades 6 through 12 at the University of Toledo. The summit is designed to show students college and career pathways through workshops. Luna also has worked extensively with Lourdes University and BGSU on other college and career readiness initiatives to help TPS students, as well as Latino teens from across Northwest Ohio.


Along the way, Luna won a Diamante Award in education in 1998 and a César Chávez Humanitarian Award in 2012. He continues to serve on the board of directors at the Toledo Teachers Credit Union and on the Hispanic Advisory Committee at Lourdes University.


Mr. Luna also is a published author of several children’s books and a professional musician, playing the Congos. His published works include: El Queso y La Rata, Five Delicious Tex Mes Dishes You Can Make in 1, Hour in 1 Pan, and If a Little Girl Was President.


For more information, contact Lair Marin at OCHLA either by email at lair.marin@ohio.gov or by calling 614.728.8344. More information can be found online at https://ochla.ohio.gov/Events-Calendar/OCHLA-Annual-Events/DHO-Awards-Gala


Editor's Note: La Prensa will be profiling additional recipients in future issues of La Prensa bilingual, weekly.




Copyright © 1989 to 2019 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/03/19 20:15:19 -0700.




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