Edward James Olmos, highly successful actor-director, activist and environmentalist, was inducted into the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) Hall of Fame, September 5th, 2014, at the MAOF Headquarters in Montebello. Olmos has long been an icon and a staunch advocate of the Latino community.
“It brings me to tears,” said Edward James Olmos, “to be among all these heroes of our community.” Mr. Olmos’ comments came Friday, Sept. 5, as he joined the ranks of journalist Ruben Salazar, United Farm Workers leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, actor Ricardo Montalban, tennis pro Pancho Gonzales and numerous others in the Dionicio Morales Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) Hall of Fame.
Mr. Olmos, sporting a beard and long hair for a movie role, pulled back a curtain to reveal his portrait photograph alongside those of the many Latino luminaries decorating the hall in the headquarters of the MAOF in Montebello.
“Mr. Olmos represents the best that our community has to offer and share with our society,” said Carlos Viramontes, Chair of the MAOF. “This hall is a kind of hallowed place where we remember and honor the names of those Mexican American and Latino heroes, both well-known and not so well known.”
Long-time friend, MAOF Board member and Treasurer of the City of El Monte Jerry Velasco said “he has inspired our community. He has made us proud. And he shares our values and our vision. Not only are we adding him to our Hall of Fame, but we also will present Eddie with the MAOF Lifetime Achievement Aztec Award at our Annual Aztec Gala on Oct. 3 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.” For ticket information, please call Tatiana Villanueva at 323-278-3603.
Mr. Olmos is a highly successful actor and director. Among his most memorable acting roles are as William Adama in Battlestar Galactica; Lt. Martin Castillo in Miami Vice; teacher Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver; and the narrator El Pachuco in both the stage and film versions of Zoot Suit. In 1988, Mr. Olmos was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in Stand and Deliver.
He also has channeled his passion for social action in areas such as community activism and the environment. Mr. Olmos has long been an icon and a staunch advocate of the Latino community. He has supported numerous causes throughout his career, including Latino culture, the environment, and has organized many film festivals and other special projects and events.
The MAOF was founded in 1963 by Dionicio Morales. “Its vision and mission is to work to preserve the pride, the values and the heritage of the Mexican American culture,” Martin Castro, MAOF President and CEO, told the reception audience. “From its small beginnings more than 50 years ago, MAOF has grown to become one of the nation’s top 10 Latino non-profit agencies as ranked by Hispanic Business Magazine,” he added. “MAOF serves the socio-economic needs of communities throughout Southern California, Monterey and Kern County. They include pre-schools, senior centers, immigration services, food banks and tax assistance.” MAOF headquarters are at 401 N. Garfield Ave., in Montebello. Telephone 323-278-3603.