Daisy Garcia Montoya 
Education Reporter

Revolucion Educativa and community members gathered on Thursday, October 19, at Big Brothers, Big Sisters, to celebrate the annual Impacto Changemaker Awards and Recognition. 

The  Impacto Changemaker Awards and Recognition, created by Revolucion Educativa, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the Latino community with education, took place for the second annual edition to celebrate organizations, initiatives, and individuals who have contributed to the advancement and prosperity of the Latino community. This year there were 17 individuals and organizations that were honored during the program for their immense impact on the community. 

Ivan Ramirez, Director of Community Engagement, says this event is a way to recognize the efforts of community members who usually do not receive recognition for their work and involvement. “I’m excited because these awards are for those who are changemakers who are usually  not the face of initiatives, they don’t go to galas but they have that passion to serve in the community. These awards are for the parents, entrepreneurs, and community members for their work in our community,” said Ramirez.

As the presentation began, community members and honorees took the opportunity to mingle and have conversation while enjoying appetizers such as shrimp cocktail, sandwiches, fruit, churros and horchata. In addition, music was provided by DJ Monse and due to their collaboration and sponsorship of KC Care, a clinic dedicated to promoting health and wellness by providing quality care, access, research and education to the underserved, there was a table with resources and information available.

Edgar Palacios, founder of Revolucion Educativa, welcomed all the guests and spoke about the importance of recognizing the honorees for their immense impact on the Latino community. “I want to extend my most sincere congratulations to our honorees. Their excellent work has not gone unnoticed and their impact has been deeply felt. We look forward to seeing them continue to champion their communities through boxing, advocacy, storytelling, and elevating the voice of our people,” said Palacios. “Thank you all for joining us tonight, your presence here signifies your commitment to the mission of our organization. We look forward to fostering our continued relationship with each of you as we strive to create the conditions necessary for our youth to step into a future filled with possibilities.”

The program began with a presentation given by Milca Aguirre, brand ambassador for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization, where she gave information about the organization and ways in which individuals can get involved. During the presentation, Aguirre explained that the organization’s mission  to form relationships between boys and girls and adults to create a mentorship between the two, and the current need for new mentors given the overflowing need of children enrolled in the program looking for mentors. “I have a little sister named Alejandra. We spend time together during the month and it has created a significant impact on my life,” said Aguirre. 

After Aguirre, Ramirez followed the event with the presentation of the awards, along with videos showing a glimpse of the work that the individuals being recognized do on a daily basis. Next, Christy Moreno, director of advocacy and impact, began the awards presentation in conjunction with two Latino players, Felipe Gutierrez and Roger Espinoza of Sporting KC, the local U.S. men’s professional soccer team that plays in the Major League Soccer (MLS).

One by one, the honorees came forward after hearing a brief speech from the person who nominated them for the award. “I feel very honored, I feel very happy, I really can’t believe it with so many people who are helping the community and are involved. For me it’s special but I also say that it’s not necessary because it comes from the heart and when it comes from the heart it’s the greatest thing you can have,” said Miriam Galan, a parent, who was the winner of the Parent Advocate Award.  

Galan has been present at meetings with Kansas City Public Schools district administrators, involved in preventing school closings in the Northeast and a regular participant with Revolucion Educativa. Moreover, she had the opportunity to speak with the National Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, during his visit to Kansas City, Missouri. 

“We have to get involved. As parents we have to get involved, we have to be aware of our children, we have to accompany them to the meetings, be aware of their growth and how they develop, so we will have better adults, better citizens. I invite all parents to get involved, to be present so that we can make a better future for our children,” said Gálan.

The presentation concluded with a few words from Espinoza, where he spoke of his own journey through life and the power of the Latino community when it collaborates and empowers itself to make a change. “People like you show that positive side that in the end is something that means a lot. Getting involved socially and uniquely and the support you give each other creates a very tight-knit community. I see it in you and I want to congratulate you for that,” Espinoza said. “Congratulations to all of you and keep going because I know that one day this is going to go global and let’s continue to think big.” 

The awards and recognition presentation was concluded by an hour of networking and partying on the rooftop to give all attendees a chance to get to know each other better and create new relationships and networks within their community.

The Impacto Changemaker Award and Recognition recipients for 2023 are:

Parent Advocate Award: Miram Gálan, Parent 

Community Advocate Award: Donovan Castañeda Sr. and Marcos Ramírez, Flaco Ramírez Boxing

Student Advocate Award: Dr. Marta Silva, Olathe Public Schools

Community Award: Peyton Santana, Community member

Community Organizer Award: Ana Ramos, CleanAirNow

Teacher Advocate Award: Greg Brenner, Guadalupe Centers High School

Legislative Advocate Award: Itzel Vargas Valenzuela, Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation

Civic Engagement Advocate Award: Carla Rivas D’Amico, Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission

Education Advocate Award presented by KCCare: Robert Sagastume, Kansas City Public Schools

Representation Award presented by KCCare: María José Ramírez Braíz, Latinos Connect

Community Organization Recognition:Lykins Neighborhood Association, Ricardo Flores

Legislative Advocacy Organization Recognition: Quality Schools Coalition, Dean Johnson

Language Access Advocate Recognition: KC Tenants Language Justice Team, Jetzel Chavira and Mary Allison Joseph

Language Justice Steward Recognition: National Association of Educational Translators and Interpreters of Spoken Languages, Ana Soler

Education Media Communications Recognition:The KC Beacon, Maria Benevento

Partner Organization Recognition:Consulado de México en Kansas City, Soileh Padilla Mayer