Sonia Gutierrez surrounded by DC Office of Human Rights Director Monica Palacio and Mayor Vince Gray during the awards ceremony at Kaiser Family Foundation.

    The DC Commission on Human Rights honored Sonia Gutierrez, Founder and President Emeritus of the Carlos Rosario School, with the 2014 Cornelius R. Alexander Human Rights Award on Thursday evening, December 11, 2014, at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Ms. Gutierrez was the first Hispanic woman to ever receive the prestigious recognition. The iconic Ms. Gutierrez gave a speech full of passion, humor and inspiration followed by extensive and energetic remarks from Mayor Vince Gray on the significance of Sonia's work over the past 44 years in educating tens of thousands of immigrant students.

#Taberna 25

Renewal at El Alabardero

Jose Sueiro
The jewel in the crown of Spanish dining in DC, the famous Taberna del Alabardero, is experiencing a renewal as it celebrates 25 years of fine dining in DC. The anniversary is being commemorated by a visit from founder Luis Lezama and the presentation of his book "La Cocina del Alabardero" (The Yeoman's Kitchen).   
The charming and peripatetic priest who established the restaurant here in DC in the early 80's regaled a group of journalists and friends with stories about the difficulties they faced opening the DC branch of their storied franchise. Amidst a delectable assortment of hors-d'oeuvres, classic paellas, fine wines and incredible desserts, Lezama spoke about lunches with Mayor Barry, ANC meetings with elderly African American women asking him questions about why a priest was opening a 4 star restaurant and would there be any 'live sex shows' on the premises. And, in a decidedly déjà vu moment, he commented on how long it took to open because of delays with the liquor license approval process.


What He Meant to Us

Jose Sueiro
I met him in the early 70's, well before he became Councilman or Mayor. He ran the Pride Inc. program for kids off the street who flocked to his headquarters on the corner of 16th & U for street cleaning work. At the time I was Director of the Latin American Youth Center. He came to visit me and we talked about starting a Latino group at Pride Inc. Shortly thereafter a dozen or so young Hispanics, led by one of Carlos Rosario's sons, were based at the Youth Center. They held their meetings and stored their brooms and shovels in the basement. Even then, when nobody gave a second thought to DC's growing Latino community, Barry was already building ties that would last him a lifetime.

The Power of the Hispanic Workforce

Cong. Cardenas; "You are going to see the economy increase"

By Malcolm Lewis Barnes
On the eve of President Obama’s announcement of his executive order on immigration reform, California 29th District Congressman, Tony Cardenas, addressed the National Hispanic Construction Association (NHCA) at the National Press Club as they announced they are opening a major regional chapter in California and touted the power of the Hispanic workforce.
As a former business owner representing the largest economy in the nation with a one trillion dollar state economy, Representative Cardenas reminded the group that, “ Latinos have much to do with the growth of the economy. Seventy five out of 100 construction workers in California, both union and non-union, are now Latinos... Every business owner wants loyal hard-working, honest workers. And we as Hispanics fit that bill. Our government needs to make sure that the rules and regulations require banks to provide access to capital, which is the #1 barrier to the growth of our businesses. SBA needs to do a better job, but it’s going to take organizations like NHCA  to get the word out."

The Artistry and Élan

of Casa Patas

Jose Sueiro
Jose Sueiro
The final flamenco weekend of the 10th edition of GALA Theatre's, 'Fuego Flamenco' was sparked by the brilliant, "Flamenco de Cobre y Plomo" (Flamenco of Copper & Lead) a 90 minute tour de force performed by a group of seven musicians and dancers brought directly from the legendary "Fundacion Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Patas" in Madrid to the stage at GALA.

What is Casa Patas? First of all it's a restaurant and one of the most well known flamenco venues in the singular 'Huertas' neighborhood of downtown Madrid. (On your next trip don't miss it! View a bit of what they do on their swinging website). But it is also, since the establishment of their foundation in the year 2000, a 'Conservatory', a place to preserve, and at the same time revive and renovate the art form, as its title implies. It's a fertile breeding ground for experimentation with new forms and shapes of the flamenco folkloric tradition. And this is what Casa Patas does par excellence. Here is an example of the varied and multifaceted work they perform at their 'Garcia Lorca' home studio.



By © Malcolm Lewis Barnes 2014
(Thanks to our good friend and eminent small business advocate, Malcolm Barnes, for his succinct and to the point description of the breakfast seminar celebrated on Wednesday, November 12th. A veteran journalist with a strong knowledge of the challenges facing local, small businesses we hope to post more of his insights at Metrodiversity.com in the future)
At an informational session on The SBA 8(a) Mentor Protégé Program hosted by a team of Wisconsin Avenue legal and bonding firms, SBA Assistant District Director Anthony Ruiz touted a federal sheltered contract sector as, “a $500 Billion dollar market that won’t shrink”.

Mr.Ruiz spoke with the good faith and authority of the federal government’s lead advocate on small business – SBA – as the Director of 8(a) Business Development that serves 20% of the nation’s small and disadvantaged firms (1,100) which  are concentrated in the Washington Metropolitan area.

The information session was hosted by the law firm of ASMAR/SCHOR McKENNA at their Friendship heights headquarters and was co-sponsored by the Barbour Group, one of the area’s leading commercial insurance and surety bonding agencies. Also responsible for bringing a balanced mix of minority contractors to the table, was Jose Sueiro of the Construction Alliance which represents a cross section of the area’s leading Hispanic and Black construction contractors.


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