- PDF Presentation Overview
- History of Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York Inc.
- Mission, Vision & Goals
- Photos & Video (on our Facebook page)
- Hispanic Heritage History Project
- Friend of Hispanic Heritage Award
- Echando Raices: Hispanic Life & Legacy
- Hispanic-American Veterans
- Major General Luis Raul Esteves, the organizer of the Puerto Rico National Guard
- These Hispanic American service members all received the military's highest honor
- Visit the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance National Campaign website
- Visit the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony National Committee website
- Visit the Borinqueneers Film & Documentary Website
- Visit the Hispanics in the US Army website
- Public Service / Announcement Anuncio de Servicio Publico
Esmeralda Sierra, a SUNY-Buffalo State College Masters Graduate in Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management has served as the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Inc. Chief Financial Officer for the past several years. She has a long history of activism in the community; VOICE-Buffalo Inc., Community Access Services, and the Near East & West Side Task Force. She was also involved as an adult advisor and teacher at Holy Cross R.C. Church, where she had held positions as president and secretary of the Parish Council.
In addition to her many community activities, Esmeralda is a member of various professional organizations. She was chair of the Cultural Competency Workgroup for the Health Equity Coalition for P2 Collaborative of WNY Inc., Co-Chair of the public relations workgroup for the Association of Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation; a member of the Erie County Caregiver Coalition, the Community Health Workers Network, American Diabetes Association Diversity Committee, and the WNY Cancer Coalition. Ms. Sierra was a former board member of Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo and Vice-President of the Puerto Rican & Hispanic Day Parade of WNY, Inc. and Pageant Coordinator of the Miss Borinquen of WNY Leadership Program.
Maritza Vega, is a past Vice President of HHC 2012-2018. Kaleida Health has been her employer for the last 20 years, She is presently a Financial Counselor Bilingual Facilitated Enroller. She has been involved in many community advocacy groups, such as Immigration Reform for America, The Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY, Financial Officer, Inc. Hispanic & Friends Civic Association, Inc., Treasure, Grassroots, Inc., she is currently a participating member of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Diversity Council, SBA Small Business Administration -SCORE, Erie County Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises MWBE advisory board, Erie County commission of the Status of Women ECCSW advisory board. Maritza is a motivated hard worker who enjoys family, heritage and has a passion for the arts, civic engagement and bike riding. She established a bicycle group Urban Bike Riders UBR in June 2015 to keep the community and family ready to move into health and wellness. She also retired as an entrepreneur owner of the VP Home Improvement Contracting LLC construction company. Her favorite quote is "Life is for living; Love is for Giving"
Felipe De Jesús Martínez
Felipe De Jesús Martínez, FSP, Vice President of Mission Integration at Catholic Health Systems with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, with almost thirty years of experience in healthcare and hospital chaplaincy. Felipe began an unexpected career in healthcare because of the needs of the large population of Spanish speaking patients. As the mission leader for the Administrative Regional Training Center and for Home & Community Based Care, he has oversight of integrating the mission and values at Catholic Health for the Long Term & Home Care Facilities. His team of Chaplains provide for spiritual care needs of patients, families, and associates in various healthcare settings. He also provides support to the Bioethics Consultation process when families are facing difficult choices.
Elda Pichardo is a native of Buffalo she is second generation Dominican and Nicaraguan. Elda is very proud of her Hispanic heritage specially her Latina roots from her parent. A SUNY-Buffalo State College Masters Program Student in the field of Public Administration, an employee at Catholic Health as Nurse Assistant she volunteers for many community based organizations like Citizen Action, PUSH Buffalo, and The Belle Center.
Elda identifies with individuals who come from immigrant families and aspires to work hard to build the community with Hispanic awareness. She would like to encourage youth programs within HHC to embrace ethnicity, education and building leaders.
Michele Agosto, M.A.
Past Vice President 2018-2020
Michele is the Supervisor of Curriculum in Art Education for the Buffalo City School District, serving the children of Buffalo as an art teacher, then administrator, for 20 years. Her life has been dedicated to improving and enhancing the lives of all children through appreciation and participation in the arts.
Born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in Washington Heights in New York City, Michele enjoyed a very happy, vibrant, and diverse upbringing. It was her family, especially her mother, grandmother, and aunts, who instilled in her a love for arts.
Michele was an art major at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music and the Art. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Art and Design with a Master of Science in Teaching. At the University at Buffalo's Department of Educational Leadership and Policy she graduated with a Master of Education in Educational Administration and earned advanced certification in School District Administration, Specialist in Educational Administration.
Michele has exhibited her photography throughout New York where she has received several recognitions. In addition, she has received the 1st Annual Western New York Hispanic Heritage Award (2008), Woman of Distinction: National PTA Award (2010); Mayoral Hispanic Heritage Award in the Arts (2012), and the New York State Art Teacher Association Art Educator of the Year Award- Regional (2012).
Tamara Alsace, Ph.D.
Past Secretary 2010-2020
Tamara O. Alsace, Ph.D. is the proud daughter of Dominican parents and a native Buffalonian. As the descendant of grandparents born in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Martinique - who all connected in Santo Domingo, she is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the aspects of Hispanic culture that unite us, while recognizing the unique qualities that define us.
Dr. Alsace is a bilingual educator who has devoted her career to ensuring equitable educational opportunities for emergent bilingual learners from around the world.
She retired as Director of Multilingual Education for the Buffalo Public Schools in 2015, serves on the boards of several local and statewide not-for-profits, and is Secretary of the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Inc.
Casimiro D. Rodriguez Sr.
President Emeritus / Founder
Casimiro was born and raised in WNY. He has lived a lifetime of advocacy for Buffalo's Latino Community in different areas of education, health, social and economic equality. He earned a BA in American Government from University at Buffalo and also studied management from the General Motors Institute. After 34 years of dutiful service he retired from GM.
He is passionate for community progress and envisions what can be accomplished in the future of Buffalo's community built on the strengths of everyone working together for the benefit of all.
Casimiro is driven by social justice where you can find the core of his dedication to today's community and tomorrow's leaders. He is a catalyst for revival and progress bringing people of different faiths and races together for a common goal.
Ricardo Saeb was born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, where he began his music studies and his community service work. As a classical guitarist, Ricardo has performed internationally in Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and the US. He obtained a Doctorate in Music Performance from the University of Kentucky, and in 2018 moved to Buffalo.
Ricardo believes in the importance of the arts for the betterment of society and is committed to promoting social progress through music, particularly through the guitar.
John Sanabria born and raised in WNY of Spanish Ancestry, a life of community service by being a leader to many community base organizations like Puerto Rican American Community Association [PRACA], known today at Pucho Inc.
Former board member to United Way of Buffalo, Girls and Boys Club, Beechers Boys Club, City of Buffalo Youth Board. He helped establish the structure to merge Puerto Rican Chicano Committee, PRACA, to what today is Hispanics United of Buffalo.
With a spirit of passion for sports and community youth; he was one of the Co Founder’s to the Roberto Clemente Baseball League, Latin American Youth Organization serving Buffalo’s inner city youth.
He retired from General Motors in 2007 after 35 years of dedicated service, involved with the UAW International Labor Force during 1996 – 2006.
John has been dedicated to Buffalo’s Hispanic Community all his life. He lives in North Buffalo with wife Sarah De Leon, they have two children John Jr. and Elena.
Arnold N. Zelman, Esq.
Arnold Zelman, Esq., an attorney, is of Counsel with Barclay & Damon, LLP which has its offices in Buffalo, & several other major cities in New York. He practices in the areas of business law, counseling, tax & estate planning & has been active in many civic organizations.