Senior Vice President, Multicultural Strategies and Initiatives, Lifetime Television Networks
Ms. Alonzo was named to her current position with Lifetime Entertainment Services in September 2004, spearheading the multicultural strategy initiative aimed at increasing Lifetime's reach to diverse audiences. Since joining the network a decade ago, she has been a leader in promoting diversity, both at Lifetime and throughout the telecommunications industry. Ms. Alonzo is also the immediate past president (and first Hispanic female) of the board of directors of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. Most recently, she was selected to chair the National Latino Technology Awards in July.
As a writer whose words span the pages of novels, magazine articles, nonfiction, and children's books, Ms. Chambers has often tapped her mixed African and Panamanian heritage to good effect.
It certainly influenced one of her most recent and celebrated books, "Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa."
"Growing up a black Latina, people always questioned my heritage. As a kid in Brooklyn, I loved hip-hop and double dutch and all the stuff that was 'black,' but I also loved my Panamanian culture, too. I loved salsa and empanadas and dreamed of having a quince," she explains. "Celia Cruz was, and always has been, a bridge for me between those two worlds."
Since interviewing Ms. Cruz for a Newsweek cover story, Ms. Chambers started putting together a picture book that has since been named the 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, placed in the NYPL 100 Books for Reading and Sharing List, and made the Miami Herald's 2005 list of Best Books for Young Readers. Although Ms. Cruz passed away before she was able to present the book to her, Ms. Chambers established a Celia Cruz scholarship at her alma mater that gives music students the opportunity to take private voice lessons with a professor.
"I hope wherever she is, when she hears those students sing, Celia Cruz says, 'Azucar!'"
Ms. Chambers' other books have also garnered recognition. In 1996, she wrote a memoir about growing up, "Mama's Girl," that was an American Library Association Best Book of 1996. She has also written and edited for national magazines for 12 years, including the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Esquire, Vogue, Essence, and Travel and Leisure, among others. In October, she released a children's book, "Double Dutch: A Celebration of Jump Rope, Rhyme and Sisterhood."
This spring, Ms. Chambers will be working at the University of Hawaii, where she was invited to be a distinguished visiting writer.
Ballet Pacifica Academy
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate's appointment to director of the Ballet Pacific Academy this year was preceded by more than 20 years as a principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet. She has performed the lead roles in classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and La Sylphide. Her talent led to her being featured on the covers of Dance Magazine and Ballet News, as well as honorary doctorate degrees from Mills College and the University of California at Monterey Bay. After retiring from the San Francisco Ballet in 1999, Ms. Cisneros-Legate was appointed ballet education coordinator in the San Francisco Ballet Center for Education.
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