The Latino population has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years. More than 60 million Latinos live, work and raise families in the United States, yet they continue to be underrepresented in the movement to empower end-of-life choices. Our Latino Leadership Council wants to change that. We're inviting public opinion leaders, community organizers, medical professionals and celebrities to help us engage this community to build stronger advocacy coalitions across the country.
Pastor Sergio Camacho, Latino Ministry Pastor, CaliforniaRev. Camacho is the Latino Ministry pastor at Lancaster United Methodist Church. He is well known for his commitment to community bridge building and working in partnership with other churches, non-profits and health/human activists.
Reverend Dr. Ignacio Castuera, Minister, CaliforniaRev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera is a retired pastor of the United Methodist Church in Claremont, California. He is a civil and human rights activist who helped pass California’s End of Life Option Act. Rev. Castuera served congregations in Mexico, Hawaii, and California, including eleven years at the Hollywood United Methodist Church. He is editor of Dreams on Fire: Embers of Hope: From the Pulpits of Los Angeles After the Riots, one of the top ten religious books of 1992. A former Compassion & Choices board member, Rev. Castuera has championed numerous social issues that have grown quickly into broader acceptance. He was the national chaplain for Planned Parenthood for six years, married gay couples on national and international television, and has been a strong voice in the movement to authorize the option of medical aid in dying for terminally ill adults. Rev. Castuera holds a Doctor of Religion degree from Claremont School of Theology and taught Contemporary Theology at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology for 25 years.
Nilsa Centeno, Mother of the late Miguel Carrasquillo, Puerto RicoNilsa is the mother of the late Miguel Carrasquillo, a 35-year-old former chef who died in his native Puerto Rico of brain cancer in June 2016. He became Compassion & Choices’ first bilingual advocate when he recorded videos in English and Spanish urging his fellow Latinos to support giving terminally ill adults the option of medical aid in dying. Miguel became a voice for Latinos, a community he loved and fought for until his last breath. He was proud to refer to himself as the “Latino Brittany Maynard.”
Guillermo Chacon, President, Latino Commission on AIDS & Founder, Hispanic Health Network, New YorkA native Salvadoran, Guillermo studied at the National University of El Salvador and attended Fordham University’s Organizational & Leadership Development Program. Guillermo serves on several advisory boards. He is Chair of the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) Community Advisory Board. In 2014, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Guillermo to serve on the statewide task force to develop HIV/AIDS recommendations for the plan known as “End the AIDS Epidemic” in New York State by 2020. In 2012, Governor Cuomo nominated Guillermo and the New York State Health Committee confirmed him to serve on the New York State Minority Health Council and the New York State AIDS Advisory Council.
The Hon. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Former Member, Utah State LegislatureA Utah native, Rebecca represented Salt Lake City’s District 24 for 10 years in the state legislature, where she focused on policy related to health and human services, as well as voter engagement and access. She currently serves on the Governor’s Multicultural Commission and various other community boards and commissions. Her passion for supporting a continuum of patient-centered care, including sponsoring Utah’s End of Life Options Act legislation, is in part a result of having served on the health and human services committees. She continues to serve on several boards and initiatives and has been honored extensively for her efforts. Rebecca teaches non-profit administration classes as adjunct faculty within the University of Utah’s MPA program. She also provides leadership coaching and community engagement consulting through her public affairs firm, Aspira Public Affairs LLC.
Dr. Yanira Cruz, President, CEO, National Hispanic Council on Aging, Washington, D.C.Dr. Cruz is the President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA). She also serves on the Boards of the Consumer Health Foundation and the American Society on Aging. Dr. Cruz has been appointed to serve on the Advisory Panel on Medicare Education (APME), which advises the Secretary of US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Administrator of Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on opportunities to enhance the federal government’s effectiveness in implementing a national Medicare education program. She holds an adjunct faculty appointment at The George Washington University School of Public Health, where she lectures on issues related to Hispanic health.
Dan Diaz, Husband of the late Brittany Maynard, CaliforniaDan is the widower of Brittany Maynard, who died in November 2014 from a brain tumor. The couple moved from California to Oregon, one of four states at that time that had authorized medical aid in dying so Brittany could get the prescription for aid-in-dying medication. As a result of Brittany’s story, in 2015 legislators introduced bills to authorize medical aid in dying in California, 24 other states as well as Washington, D.C. Dan continues to advocate for expanding the availability of end-of-life care options for terminally ill, mentally capable individuals. His efforts were instrumental in securing the passage of the End-of-Life Option Act in California.
Dolores Huerta, Civil Rights Activist, President, Dolores Huerta Foundation
Dolores Huerta is an iconic civil rights activist, president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. She has earned numerous national awards for her community service and advocacy for workers’ rights, including the United States Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was the first Latina inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, in 1993. In 2020, she was named one of USA Today’s ‘Women of the Century.
Her support of the End-of-Life Option Act in California and the Elizabeth Whitfield End of Life Options Act in New Mexico was critical to the passage of the laws. Dolores’ advocacy was inspired by watching her mother’s suffering as she died from terminal cancer that had spread throughout her body. She is the originator of the global phrase, ¡Si Se Puede! Yes We Can!