The government of Mexico has honored city of Minneapolis employee Mariano Espinoza with the Ohtli Award, which is the highest honor for a civilian living outside of Mexico. The annual award "celebrates the commitment, vision and impact of an individual on the Mexican or Latino community."
Espinoza is a Latino community specialist in the city's neighborhood and community relations department. His job is to connect the Latino community with city services through outreach and public policy participation.
Espinoza played a key role in the passage of Minnesota's Dream Act, which provides in-state tuition and financial aid eligibility to undocumented high school graduates meeting certain criteria. Passed in May 2013, this law is helping hundreds of Minnesotans get a college education.
A celebration of Mariano Espinoza's accomplishments will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at Harriet Island in St. Paul.
Previous winners of the Ohtli Award
Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
Actress Eva Longoria
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
National Council of la Raza president and CEO Janet Murguia
Civil rights activist, Dolores Huerta
U. S. Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros
Edward James Olmos