Archive | May 2012

Labor Rights Pioneer Dolores Huerta Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Labor Rights Pioneer Dolores Huerta Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

(reposted from View source here.) Today, President Obama bestowed labor rights pioneer and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, Dolores Huerta with the highest civilian honor,  the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Huerta is being honored for a lifetime dedicated to workers’ rights and social justice.  She stood behind Robert F. Kennedy just second before he was assassinated, she helped create the Agricultural Labor Relations Board in California and created the Dolores Huerta Foundation to help organize low-income immigrant communities to obtain better education, health and quality of life and those are just a few of her accomplishments.

Huerta was also instrumental in securing passage of the Immigration Reform Act of 1986.

The 82-year-old Huerta was one of thirteen recipients to receive this honor at the White House today.

Huerta noted when she found out she would be receiving this honor: “I am honored to receive this award. It affirms the importance of organizing to maintain a democratic society, be it for workers, women, the LGBT community, or immigrants. Organized communities guarantee civic engagement, which creates the path for a just, fair, and peaceful society. Bringing our organized movements together can insure the majority of Americans the ability to participate fully to achieve the American dream.”


2012 VAHCC/Capital One Scholarship Winners share determination, drive to give back

alexis chaet and anahely cruz

Alexis Chaet of Chantilly (left) and Anahely Cruz of New Market (right), winners of the 2012 VAHCC/Capital One scholarship

(Richmond, Va.) The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce proudly announced the 2012 Capital One Scholarship winners this week, Alexis Chaet from Freedom High School in Chantilly, VA nd Anahely Cruz from Stonewall Jackson High School in New Market, VA. Both members of the National Honors Society and active student tutors, Chaet and Cruz will be recognized at the Hispanic Gala in Richmond on September 12th, at the black-tie event which celebrates Hispanic Hispanic Month.

Cruz, a first-generation Latina American, entered the US school system speaking Mixteco (not Spanish) as a first language, an indigenous language of Mexico. She will go on to be the first in her family to attend college with this scholarship, and wishes to study special education. Currently, she volunteers her time translating at a local food pantry, volunteers at nursing homes, and will soon become a black belt in martial arts.
Chaet, valedictorian at Freedom High School, has initiated a before-and-after school tutoring program in her community, and worked abroad for relief in Haiti. She wishes to study to become a pediatric physician to help improvrished and disaster-struck communities around the world.

“I have learned from my parents that education is the key to unlocking many doors in life,” says Chaet. She adds, “Ihave always felt an obligation to give back to the world for all the blessings and opportunities it has laid before me. This internal drive has fed my desire to become a pediatric physician in the future, so that through my healing hands I can make a difference in the lives of others.”

Cruz shares a challenge many first-generation immigrants face as students, “My parents could not give me the support that I needed to learn English because they Worked long hours to Support our family, and I could never ask them to help me with  my homework because they did not understand. It was difficult, but with determination and the help of my teachers I learned English. I have overcome my adversity and it has made me stronger.”
This same determination has made both Cruz and Chaet inspiring role models at any stage of life and education.

The USHCC recognizes Wells Fargo for their Support of Small Business’ Access to Capital

VAHCC Platinum partner Wells Fargo has been recognized by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for providing unparalleled access to capital for small businesses in this article from the Washington Business Journal:

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Commends Wells Fargo for Providing Small Businesses Unparalleled Access to Capital

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) commends Wells Fargo for providing more U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan dollars for America’s small businesses than any other lender during the first half of the current federal fiscal year. The financial services company recently announced that they had approved over $548 million in SBA 7(a) loans for America’s small businesses from Oct. 1, 2011, through Mar. 31, 2012.

“Adequate access to capital remains the single most important element, critical to the growth of small businesses,” said USHCC President and CEO, Javier Palomarez. “We commend Wells Fargo for working to meet the financing needs of entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and appreciate the continued commitment to provide growth opportunities to American businesses during these challenging economic times.”

Wells Fargo’s announcement comes with the launch of their Small Business Appreciation Celebration: a company-wide outreach effort designed to thank small businesses across the nation by providing them with discounted financial services. The celebration coincides with National Small Business Week (May 20-26) and the various local and national SBA events taking place to honor the American small business community as the engine of the U.S. economy.

“During a time of year when we celebrate the importance of small business to our nation’s economic recovery, it’s rewarding for us to meet the financing needs of thousands of small business customers,” said David Rader, head of SBA Lending for Wells Fargo. “SBA loans are an important financing tool for many small business owners and we want to do everything we can to help small businesses stay competitive and grow.”

Wells Fargo also is the No. 1 SBA 7(a) lender in dollars in 12 states for the first 6 months of federal fiscal year 2012: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming. In addition, Wells Fargo is the No.1 SBA 7(a) lender in number of loans in nine states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, South Carolina and Wyoming.

“Our friends at Wells Fargo understand the need for continued investment in our small business community,” said USHCC Chairman, Nina Vaca. “By providing more SBA 7(a) loan dollars than any other lender, they have once again affirmed our shared values when it comes to supporting small business. Both the USHCC and our partners believe that by helping small businesses – nearly 3 million of which are Hispanic owned – we can help spearhead our nation’s economic recovery.”

Fairfax Medical Leader Hopes to Show Community Work/Life Balance for Health and Happiness

(Fairfax, Va.) Fairfax County could benefit from some relaxation. As one of the wealthiest counties in the nation with an economic growth rate standing consistently over the national average, achievement is high, and rest and family time may easily slip out of harmony. Dr. Addo Ayunsu, MPH Director of the Fairfax County Department of Health, hopes to help the community in finding the essential work/life balance to empower the community to achieve more than ever, with stamina and energy at work and at home, with the help of free yoga and dance demonstrations.

Dr. Ayunsu will partner with the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Farmers Insurance to offer a free workshop to all Fairfax professionals, after work on May 31st (5pm-7pm), at Farmers Insurance in Reston (directions here). Attendance is free, simply register online at, and remember to bring yoga clothes/sneakers.

For more information about this fantastic resource, available to all members of Faifax’s diverse professional community, contact Mary Sirvent at 703-390-0303 or email

Fairfax County Hosts Small Business Conference May 24


Fairfax County is hosting the annual Vendor Forum, a small business conference, at the Fairfax County Government Center on Thursday, May 24, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Small business owners are invited to register to attend this conference, which includes workshops and panel discussions on topics geared specifically to the small business community. The event is sponsored by the Small Business Commission and the county’s Department of Purchasing and Supply Management.
The Vendor Forum features a reverse trade show, where participants can network with public procurement professionals and small business experts representing Fairfax County and other local jurisdictions and organizations.
Braddock District Supervisor John C. Cook will kick off the event. The keynote speaker is Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
All Board of Supervisors, Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission meetings are held at the Fairfax County Government Center Board Auditorium, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, unless otherwise noted.
Board of Supervisors Agenda
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 22.  View on Fairfax County Government Channel 16. Listen/subscribe to the meeting highlights podcast.
* Draft agenda (available 10 days before each meeting).
* For more information, questions or a printed copy of the meeting agenda call the County Executive’s Office at 703-324-2531 (TTY 711) or email.
Board of Supervisors Actions
The Board of Supervisors last met on Tuesday, May 1. The summary of board actions is available by 4 p.m. on the Monday following each meeting.
* For more information, questions or a printed copy of the Clerk’s Board Summary, call the Office of the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors at 703-324-3151 (TTY 703-324-3903) or email.
Board of Zoning Appeals
The Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 23 (no meeting May 30). View on Fairfax County Government Channel 16.
* For more Board of Zoning Appeals information or questions, call the Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-324-1280 (TTY 711) or email.
Planning Commission
The Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, and Thursday, May 31 (no meetings May 23, 24 and 30). View on Fairfax County Government Channel 16.
Sign up to speak before the Planning Commission.  For more Planning Commission information, questions or a printed copy of the agenda, call the Planning Commission office at 703-324-2865 (TTY 703-324-7951) or email.
** Tysons Corner Committee – Thursday, May 24, 7 p.m., Conference Rooms 9/10, Fairfax County Government Center. Continue discussion on financing options for transportation improvements in Tysons.
** Tysons Corner Committee – Wednesday, May 30, 7 p.m., Conference Rooms 2/3, Fairfax County Government Center. Continue discussion on financing options for transportation improvements in Tysons.
** Environment Committee – Thursday, May 31, 7 p.m., Board Conference Room (behind Board Auditorium). Continue discussion on proposed changes to the Green Building Policy.



Karen Smaw, Fairfax County EDA Director Of Small, Minority And Woman-Owned Business Development, Honored By U.S. Small Business Administration

(Article from

Fairfax County, Virginia USA — On May 2, the Washington Metropolitan Area District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) honored Karen Smaw, the director of small, women and minority business development at the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), as its Economic Development Partner of the Year.

Each year the SBA recognizes individuals and institutions for their contributions to improve the business climate in the Washington region, which includes Fairfax County. The SBA cited Smaw’s emphasis on education through the “Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County” workshops held monthly at the FCEDA.

Smaw created the “Starting a Business” workshops in 2003, and almost 3,000 business persons and entrepreneurs have attended the sessions. The SBA and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance are partners in the workshop series. Smaw also created workshops for small businesses that want to grow, and for companies that want to export goods and services to other countries.

“It’s an honor to receive the award and the recognition,” Smaw said. “However, none of this would be possible without the great companies I work with that are building the Fairfax County economy, and the amazing people on the entire FCEDA staff!”

The SBA also noted that Smaw is one of the first African-American women to serve on the board of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on the boards of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax County-based Community Business Partnership, and the University Life Advisory Board at Fairfax-based George Mason University.

“Karen is a tremendous resource for small businesses that want to locate and grow in Fairfax County, and I am thrilled to see her getting recognition of the role she plays in building our economy,” said Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of the FCEDA.

Time magazine called Fairfax County, just outside Washington, D.C., “one of the great economic success stories of our time.” Business growth helps Fairfax County fund the nation’s top-rated school system and library, park, public safety and human services that contribute to the quality of life of residents. Fairfax County offers businesses a state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure, access to global markets through Washington Dulles International Airport and a well-educated workforce.

The award-winning Fairfax County Economic Development Authority promotes Fairfax County as one of the world’s best business centers. The FCEDA offers site location and business development assistance, and connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies locate and expand in Fairfax County. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons Corner, Fairfax County’s largest business district, the FCEDA maintains marketing offices in six important global business centers: Bangalore, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Seoul and Tel Aviv.

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