MANA de Imperial Valley honored three local women at the annual Las Primeras Gala & Scholarship Fundraiser on Friday, October 23rd. This year, the three honorees included Rosa Diaz, Juanita Rebollar, and Rita Zuno. The event took place virtually and was transmitted by Facebook Live. The annual Gala raises funds for MANA’s local scholarship program for high school and Imperial Valley College students.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to celebrate this important event in a different way this year due to the pandemic,” stated Martha Singh, President of MANA de Imperial Valley.
“We realize that we are still in the middle of a pandemic so we made sure that we continued the tradition of hosting the Las Primeras Gala as a virtual event while honoring and celebrating the accomplishments of Latina women in our community. We appreciate our members and sponsors for continuing to support MANA’s efforts in the community.”
The Las Primeras Award is presented each year to three Latina women who are first in their field in their achievements and have gone above and beyond in serving the community.
Since the inception of the Las Primeras event, seventy-six women have been honored with the recognition.
Rosa Diaz is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center. She was honored for her courage advocating for and commitment to improving the lives of individuals who are part of the LGBT community including local youth. She provides a safe space where all individuals can find services, resources, and support as they embrace their identities. Her efforts have been integral in building a community of equality, tolerance, unity, inclusion, and diversity.
Rita Zuno was the first Family Resource Center Director at Brawley Union High School District. She has been integral in empowering Latino students and their families for twenty years. Since the pandemic, she has continued serving families in Brawley and is always available to assist during local emergencies such as the recent Niland Fire.
Juanita Rebollar was honored for her philanthropic contributions and community involvement. As the co-owner of restaurants in the north end of Imperial County, she has a long history of supporting school-related activities and has been involved with the Brawley Chamber of Commerce. She is also actively involved with the Brawley Elementary School District’s Citizens Oversight Committee and during the pandemic has been delivering meals to local seniors.