Austin FC To Honor Local Latino Leaders During Hispanic Heritage Month


During National Hispanic Heritage Month, Austin FC not only salutes the trailblazers of the past -- like Richard Moya, Gus Garcia, Gonzalo Barrientos, Martha P. Cotera, Sylvia Orozco and so many others -- that helped shaped our beautiful city, but also celebrates those who continue to make meaningful  contributions in Central Texas including Bessy Martinez, Jon Salinas, George Morales III and Jackie Quintero Sekiguchi.


Martinez, Salinas, Morales and Quintero Sekiguchi are currently making huge strides in their respective fields, all in the name of making Austin an inclusive city for all.   

“The strength of Austin lies in its people and the mosaic of cultures they bring,” said Bessy Martinez, the driving force behind Austin Latinas Unidas, a dynamic community organization dedicated to empowering and unifying Latinas throughout the Austin metroplex. “Places and activities that encourage diversity serve as bridges, connecting people from different backgrounds through shared experiences. These spaces allow us to learn from one another, appreciate our differences, and celebrate our shared values.”

It is the promise of community that attracts so many, including Latinos, to choose Austin as a place to build upon the strides of others and grow their own legacies. 

“As a creative, the culture of Austin always appealed to me.  I moved here in the late 90’s and found creativity to be a glue for friendships. These friends have since exploded in their fields as artists, designers, musicians, filmmakers and, of course, other architects. Austin fed that,” said Salinas, an architect and advocate for affordable housing. “No one can pinpoint that one thing that makes Austin great but it’s very clear the city’s traditional Black and Brown neighborhoods magnetize tourists, really everyone. They are the real heart of Austin. This has led to displacement, which drives my interest in city mapping and planning.”

Salinas’ agency, a woman-owned minority-run full-service architecture firm, is working with several non-profit organizations to create more affordable housing communities in Austin.  Currently, Salis is helping to deliver almost 300 affordable units in the next year. 

To Salinas’ point, Austin is known as a vibrant city, yet its history impacted by racism and inequality continue to impact Hispanic and other communities of color. 

“Growing up in a poor community I learned to overcome being afraid to challenge the status quo and using my voice as a powerful tool to get what my community needs,” said Constable George Morales III, who was born and raised in Austin and grew up in the Dove Springs Community. “We need to educate, motivate, and inspire our future leaders by continuing to help and create a path for future leaders and always remembering where you come from.” 

Morales should know. He’s been a community activist that has worked tirelessly in East Austin. His honorable efforts led the Austin City Council to rename the Dove Spring Recreation Center to bear Morales’ name. 

Similarly, Jackie Quintero Sekiguchi is up to the challenge. 

“As a Texas grantmaker, it’s important to me to showcase the economic and social opportunities we have by lifting communities of color,” Quintero Sekiguchi, who in her role as a community affairs manager leads strategic philanthropic efforts focused on workforce development and safety training that serve working families as well disaster relief and preparedness since 2016. “This has been especially important to me, because as a Mexican American woman, I understand both the struggles that communities go through and the available opportunities that can create generational change.”

Quintero Sekiguchi serves as a steering committee member for the Mayor’s Corporate Engagement Council and as the Chair for I Live Here I Give Here. She also serves on the Texas Opportunity Youth Network Leadership Council, the Dallas Regional Chamber Education and Workforce Council, and the Advance Together steering committee. 

However, “fostering diversity isn't just about checking boxes—it's about nurturing a rich, interconnected fabric that reflects the true essence of our city,” said Bessy Martinez, “These places and activities create a sense of belonging for everyone, where each person knows they are an integral part of the Austin tapestry. As we continue to champion diversity and representation, we contribute to Austin's ongoing narrative as a city that thrives on the vibrant interplay of cultures and ideas.”