Tucson Weekly staff writer Mari Herreras has been named the winner of this year's Community Ally Award by Wingspan.
Herreras covers the LGBT community for the Weekly—including this week's cover story, "The Bi Life," for the Weekly's latest thrice-yearly Pride section.
Other award winners announced today by Tucson LGBT community center Wingspan: Alex Lopez and Ana Jimenez—co-coordinators of Puertas Abiertas, Wingspan's Latino-outreach program, are the Steve Hall award winners; and Jennifer Hoefle, the University of Arizona's program director for LGBTQ Affairs, was named the Godat Award Winner.
Read the news release after the jump.
COMMUNITY ALLY AWARD WINNER — MARI HERRERAS
Mari Herreras, a fifth generation Tucsonan, is an award-winning writer with the Tucson Weekly, and has been working in journalism for more than 18 years. When she’s not writing about the ugly and beautiful that makes Tucson weird and wonderful, she writes with a local women’s writing collective. An anthology of their poetry and essays will be published next month.
When Mari’s not writing, she and her husband explore the city with their super-hero and musical-theater obsessed 10-year-old son, remind each other to feed the dogs and cats, and work around their old house.
In this new media day and age, Mari feels very lucky to not only be employed (thank you Tucson Weekly), but have a job that allows her to do what she loves most — writing and hanging out and meeting interesting people.
STEVE HALL AWARD WINNERS — ALEX LOPEZ AND ANA JIMENEZ (PUERTAS ABIERTAS CO-COORDINATORS)
Alex Lopez was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. His volunteer experience began when he was in high school and was active in after-school volunteer projects. He volunteered for Tucson Pride In 2009 and connected with organizations serving the LGBT community. Alex joined the Wingspan development committee where he assisted with the Night Thing New Year’s Eve event in 2010. Alex has been active in Wingspan Anti-Violence Programs by helping implement the RainbowCONNECT warm line, joining in on Anti-LGBT Bullying awareness activities and by co-coordinating Puertas Abiertas, Wingspan’s Latin@ LGBT outreach group. Alex helps plan one social activity a week as well as special events for Puertas Abiertas participants.
Ana Jimenez (Puertas Abiertas Co-Coordinator)
Ana Jimenez was raised on the Mexico/US border and is passionate about supporting progressive issues that create a positive border culture. Ana has volunteered with the Anti-Violence Programs crisis line for the last four years and serves as a Bilingual Advocate on an on-call basis when a Spanish speaking community member needs assistance. Ana Jimenez has co-coordinated the Puertas Abiertas Latino LGBT outreach group on a volunteer basis for the last year. Ana’s passion for sports and cultural events has helped propel her goal to create diverse schedule of activities that reach a diverse population. This year, Ana co-chaired the Tucson Latin@ Gay Pride planning committee. As part of her efforts, she has traveled to rural communities to spread awareness of Latino LGBT identities and cultures. Ana’s vision for Puertas Abiertas include to continue to grow the program’s reach and involve more participants as well as expand activities and projects that create visibility of LGBT Latin@s.
GODAT AWARD WINNER — JENNIFER HOEFLE
Jennifer Hoefle earned a Master of Arts in Applied Sociology from Northern Arizona University in 2001. She is an educator with ten years experience. She was an adjunct faculty member for five years at NAU where, among other courses, she taught a Sociology of Sexuality and a special topics course in Race, Class and Gender. Since 2007 she has served the University of Arizona campus. She was the Program Director for Social Justice Education Programs through the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership until 2009. She currently serves as the Program Director for LGBTQ Affairs through the Dean of Students Office. In this role she directs the Safe Zone Training Program, runs an internship program that provides students the opportunity to plan a variety of events and programs, advises Pride Alliance, and collaborates on an LGBTQ Support Group, among other things.