The annual Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Awards Gala secures recognition of the accomplishments of Hispanics in Ohio.
The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs was created in 1977 with three primary purposes laid out in statute. These are to:
- Advise the Governor, members of the General Assembly, and state government in general about the issues facing the Latino community throughout Ohio. This may include proposing new programs, legislation, publishing reports, ensuring access to policy makers for the community, and other activities.
- Connect the diverse Latino communities across Ohio by gathering information about and disseminate information to Hispanic Ohioans. This may be accomplished through workshops, public meetings, reports, conferences, and town-hall meetings.
- Build and enhance the capacity of private sector not-for-profit community organizations and agencies in their service to the Latino community across the state. This work may include leadership workshops, applying for and securing grant dollars.
In 1980, in fulfillment of the mandate to “secure appropriate recognition of the accomplishments of Hispanic/Latino people to this state,” Ohio Revised Code § 121.32 (B), the Commission began presenting Hispanic Service Awards, which later became the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Award.
Every year, Latino community leaders, friends and family gather from all around to meet in Ohio’s capital city to celebrate the annual Distinguished Hispanic Ohioans Gala, along with legislators, and other representatives of state government, including the Office of the Governor.
Beginning in 2005, public nominations are now being welcomed and encouraged to share more broadly the special and unique distinction conferred by the Commission upon those who serve and strive to make a better Ohio for all.
Since 2010, the DHO honored Latinos with the Latino Military Service of Distinction Award. The Committee seeks to recognize those Latino Ohioans who have served out country honorably and continue to contribute to their community, state, and country in an exemplary manner.