And the nomination for the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award goes to…Oscar and Marco Garcia!
With Hispanic Heritage Month right around the corner (Sept 15 – Oct. 15), the NFL and Hispanic Heritage Foundation have recently partnered to launch the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Awards, which recognizes the contributions of Hispanic leaders in all 32 NFL markets.
During this Saturday's game against the Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers will recognize the outstanding work of brothers Oscar and Marco Garcia, and their positive impact on the Hispanic community of Mountain View and beyond.
Despite their busy schedules – Oscar is President/CEO of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce and Marco is a Police Officer with the Mountain View Police Department – the brothers still find a way to balance their careers with the tremendous demands of their family life and community work.
"We came from a low income household. Our parents worked hard, my dad was a dishwasher, my mom worked in housekeeping and they don't speak English," Oscar explained. "If we can be an example or motivate someone else to do something in the community or encourage others, then yes, we will pick up that torch of responsibility."
Raised by migrant farm workers who came to the United States from Mexico, Oscar and Marco were very proud to be able to pursue an education. Oscar was the first in his family to attend college – graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Chicano Studies. Although their parents couldn't assist them with their educational pursuits, they did work very hard to provide them with the stability and grounding they needed to be successful.
In 2005, Oscar and Marco cofounded a non-profit organization, Mesa de la Comunidad, in response to concerns about school closure proceedings at the Mountain View-Whisman School District. Mesa's goal was simple: to help parents (many of whom did not speak English) organize to save their schools. Using grassroots efforts, Mesa members held information sessions in Spanish, provided translation at school board meetings, and organized vigils. Their efforts during school closure proceedings highlighted the need for an organization like Mesa to advocate for and serve as a bridge between underrepresented groups, particularly the Latino community, and civic, business and educational organizations in Mountain View.
Oscar gives credit to different organizations and supportive individuals who were there to give his brother and him the opportunity to experience different things growing up. He says that is what motivates and inspires his brother and him to give back to those families and youth who are in the same position today.
"We both feel we have a duty now that we are in a position where we can help give back to the community, so it is very satisfying for us and that's why we do what we do," he said.
Since 2005, Oscar has served as the organization's president and Marco as the vice president. Together with a large group of supporters, they have launched numerous community building programs, including an annual Cinco de Mayo festival, summer scholarship program for low income middle school kids, and partnered with other organizations to establish a summer soccer camp. Additionally, they actively serve on boards of directors for local non-profit groups such as the Mountain View Police Activities League, Challenge Team, Gang Task Force, Silicon Valley Red Cross, A-Learn, and others to ensure that the Hispanic community's concerns are heard.
In order to commemorate the passion of the NFL's Hispanic fan base, the contributions of our Hispanic players and staff, and Hispanic communities nationwide, the 49ers have dubbed Saturday's game against the Raiders, *Football Fiesta. *Game day activities will begin in the all-new Grand Plaza, with performances and specialty foods to highlight Hispanic Heritage month, and entertainment continuing throughout the game.
The Hispanic festivities include recording artist Jaque Lynn, who will sing the national anthem, a halftime performance by Manuel Romero, named one of Silicon Valley's Most Influential Latinos by People's Choice Awards, and performances by Mariachi Mexicanisimo, the Ballet Folklorico Costa de Oro, *and cowboy trick roper and whip master, James Barrera.* The game will also serve to honor the Garcia brothers' nomination for the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award.