Union Bank Honors Local Heroes during Hispanic Heritage Month

Two outstanding Latinas -- Florencia Molina and Kathy Gallegos -- are selected as this year's local heroes

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: September 22, 2014

Union Bank Honors Local Heroes during Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and as part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and responsible banking, MUFG Union Bank, N.A., has partnered with KCETLink to honor two distinguished Latinas as local heroes. The 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month honorees are: Florencia Molina, a survivor of human trafficking and community activist with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST); and Kathy Gallegos, director and founder of Avenue 50 Studio (pictured). They will be recognized in October at a private dinner celebration with their families and executives from KCETLink and Union Bank.

Since 1998, KCETLink and Union Bank have collaborated on the Local Heroes program and recognized nearly 200 honorees. The program pays tribute to exemplary leaders who are making a difference and enriching the lives of others by improving their community, region and the world at large. The 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month honorees demonstrate a shared commitment to providing their communities with the tools to thrive in today's changing world.

In addition to the Hispanic Heritage Month local heroes, honorees were recognized during Black History Month (February); Women's History Month (March); Jewish American Heritage Month (May); Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May); and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month (June).

"Union Bank sincerely appreciates the remarkable work of our local heroes," said Union Bank Managing Director Pierre P. Habis, head of Consumer and Business Banking. "We are pleased to continue our partnership with KCETLink, as it gives us the platform to showcase these individuals and their embodiment of Union Bank's spirit of giving back."

"What powerful stories for us to honor during Hispanic Heritage month," said KCETLink President and CEO Al Jerome. "It has been a pleasure to continue our long-standing partnership with Union Bank, as it gives our viewers the opportunity to learn more about these heroes' tremendous impact on the Hispanic community and beyond."

The 2014 honorees for Hispanic Heritage Month are:

Florencia Molina is a survivor of human trafficking, community activist, and founding member and survivor leadership program chair of CAST, an organization dedicated to providing services to survivors of trafficking and slavery. Ms. Molina has rebuilt her life and shares her story as a member of the National Survivor Network's Speakers Bureau to help raise awareness about modern slavery. In 2003, she testified on behalf of AB22, the first law in California that established human trafficking as a crime, giving additional protections for survivors. Ms. Molina has educated a variety of audiences, including the Los Angeles Police Department, the FBI, diplomats, and legislators in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Her activism was recognized in June 2014 by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a speech about the U.S. Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report. She also received the Minerva Award founded by Maria Shriver to celebrate women who work to make this world a more just place.

Kathy Gallegos is the director and founder of Avenue 50 Studio, a non-profit gallery that has supported more than 1,000 talented Latino artists, writers and poets. Through Ms. Gallegos' leadership, the studio has grown from a personal art studio to a Latina-led thriving non-profit and arts presentation organization. In 2011, through a James Irvine grant, Ms. Gallegos created Poesia Para La Gente, a program which brings poetry to the community. This inspired her to take Latino art outside the traditional gallery walls and use it as a tool for inspiration. Ms. Gallegos has curated many Latino art exhibitions including at the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. In 2011, Avenue 50 received a grant from Cal Humanities to explore and uncover the little-known history of the roots of Chicano art in Highland Park, where the studio is located.

KCET, the Southern and Central California independent public broadcast service of KCETLink, showcases the rich, vibrant history and cultural diversity of the region through the Local Heroes program and by airing special programs tied to the respective heritage months, and throughout the year. For more information or to nominate a future local hero, please visit For more information about the Local Heroes program, please visit

About KCETLink

KCETLink, formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed via satellite on DirecTV 375 and DISH Network 9410, in Southern and Central California via broadcast, as well as through various digital delivery systems. KCET and Link TV are services of KCETLink. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit or

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