3/13/2019

Trustee to be Honored, Chavez Son-in-Law to Deliver Speech

 
Mary Figueroa
 

Moreno Valley College will hold its César E. Chávez Scholarship Breakfast on Friday, March 29, at 7:30 am in the Student Academic Services Building. Mary Figueroa, the longest serving trustee in Riverside Community College District's history, will be honored with the César E. Chávez Legacy Award.

The annual event raises funds for scholarships for high school and Moreno Valley College students. As part of the festivities, there is a César E. Chávez Visual Arts Competition for MVC students. Each of the local high school districts hand select students to honor based on their academic success and service to the high school and/or community.

Tickets are $30 each and parking is free for the event, which will include live mariachis and other performers. Tickets can be purchased at the College's Admission & Records office or by calling (951) 571-6293. The theme is A Legacy of Inspiration: We are ready to give up everything-even our lives-in our struggles for justice."

David M. Villarino-Gonzalez, president, Board of Directors and chief executive officer of the Farmworker Institute of Education and Leadership Development (FIELD Institute) with the Cesar E. Chavez Community Legacy Award, will deliver the keynote. As CEO, Villarino-Gonzalez is the son-in-law of Cesar and Helen Chavez. He manages a $7 million budget and oversees programs that serve more than 7,000 farmworkers, immigrants and others. Since 2002, FIELD Institute has served upwards of 55,000 people in the regions of San Joaquin, Salinas, Sacramento and Coachella Valley.

Figueroa was first elected to the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees on November 7, 1995, having emerged from a crowded field of 11 candidates and one open seat. She has served six terms as president of the Board of Trustees, as well as two terms as vice president and four terms as secretary. As a trustee, her interests range from governance to student services to career technical program development to public safety. 

Figueroa, who has served as a trustee for 24 years, is active in civic and community organizations. Born and raised in Riverside, Figueroa attended Lowell Elementary School, the first school in Riverside to desegregate in 1965. She went on to attend North High School and UC Riverside, becoming the first person from her family to graduate from high school and college.

Figueroa, who earned a degree in Chicano Studies and Political Science, retired from the State of California Department of Corrections after 21 years at the California Institution for Men in Chino as a correctional counselor. She also was employed by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office as a victim witness advocate assigned to the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit; with Riverside Unified School District as a substitute teacher; City of Riverside as a placement counselor in the Summer Youth Employment Program; and with the Riverside County American Red Cross.

Her accomplishments are many. Her list of service is even more impressive.

"Beginning at the age of 16, as a local election campaign volunteer, Trustee Figueroa has been advocating for neighborhood youth, crime victims, corrections, employment opportunity, environment justice and so much more," Robin Steinback, president, said. "It is in recognition of her work, on behalf of the community, that I am pleased to recognize Trustee Figueroa with this award."

Figueroa often cites her education as the means to develop her self-esteem and confidence. Growing up in the Eastside of Riverside to a single mother, Figueroa has advocated for opportunities for every child regardless of background so that they can be successful. Figueroa says she is a living example of it.