This event is free to the public; advanced ticketing purchase is available and recommended.
We are uniting with cultural organizations from around America to pay tribute to the generations of Latine and Hispanic Americans who have enriched our nation and society. Join us as we learn about Latino heritage from the perspectives of Ohioans with different cultural backgrounds. This panel discussion is part of the the programing happening during Celebrando, for more information please follow this link.
Please stick around after our discussion to connect with our Panelists and each other! Tables will be available by the Red Carpet area of the museum for further dialogue.
Rosa Rojas - Moderator (National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center)
Curator, artist, educator and designer Rosa Rojas creates through many mediums: mixed media, printmaking, fiber arts, jewelry, ceramics, and graphic design. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City, Rojas attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and worked with several N.Y. design studios before accepting a position with the Ohio History Connection and currently curating exhibits at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. An advocate of expression and healing through the Arts, Rojas is a community artist who uses art to develop multicultural understanding.
Lourdes Barroso de Padilla (Columbus City Council)
Lourdes Barroso de Padilla has an extensive background in youth development and leadership. She has served with City Year, an education focused organization dedicated to helping students and schools succeed for more than 20 years. Barroso de Padilla has helped to found five of City Year’s twenty nine sites across the country, and has worked at all levels of the organization. She is a certified Youth Development Trainer and was awarded the Hewlett Packard Alumni Leadership Award in for her impact and service to the organization.
As Senior Vice President of Site Stakeholder Engagement for City Year Inc. Barroso de Padilla oversees the organization’s major gifts, corporate and grant programs. Since its inception more than a decade ago Barroso de Padilla has led and currently serves on the Board for the Latina Mentoring Academy a unique professional development and mentoring program for Latinas in Central Ohio.
Barroso de Padilla was featured in the inaugural editions of The Women’s Book and Who’s Who in LatinoColumbus as well as WELD Ohio’s Women Welding the Way Calendar. She has been honored as one of Business First’s 40 under 40, and was named a Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan by the Ohio Commission on Latino Affairs. In November of 2021, Barroso de Padilla made history by becoming the first Latina to be elected as a member of the Columbus City Council.
Lourdes is a bilingual first generation Cuban-American who was born and raised on the eastside of Columbus, and is a product of the Columbus public school system. She resides with her husband, Ernesto, and daughters, Eva and Valentina in Eastmoor.
Ramona R. Reyes (Catholic Social Services)
Ramona R. Reyes is the director of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center at Catholic Social Services. The Guadalupe Center, is a community center that provides a welcoming environment that builds community, strengthens family, improves economic status, and promotes health and well-being. Prior to coming to the Center, she worked as a Human Resource professional at Nationwide Insurance where she was employed for 24 years.
Ramona R. Reyes was appointed to the Columbus City Schools Board of Education in January 2009 to advocate for a quality education for all children. She is serving in her fourth term and is the first Hispanic elected member of the Board and first Latina elected in the city of Columbus. She chairs the Public Engagement Committee which has championed the annual Columbus City Schools Children’s Day celebrations, “Kicking it with CSS” a student lead radio show, and the student/parent ambassador program.
She originally came to Columbus when she was awarded the Campbell Soup Migrant Scholarship, a scholarship for children of migrant farm working families, to attend the Ohio State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Transportation Logistics. While at Ohio State, she was a member and president of Alpha Psi Lambda fraternity and cabinet member of the Undergraduate Student Government. She is an alumnus of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, a Grass Roots Leadership program.
Over the last several years she has committed herself to volunteerism. She is currently serving as secretary of the Board of East Coast Migrant Headstart Program, Mt. Carmel School of Nursing, Columbus Association of the Performing Arts (CAPA), and member of the NAACP. She has served as a Commissioner with the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where she founded the Latina Mentoring Academy (LMA), and a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of central Ohio. She founded the Ramona Reyes Foundation sponsoring the first ever Latino scholarship and graduation ceremony, Avance Escolar.
Ramona received the Champions of Diversity Pioneer award and an EXPY from Experience Columbus as chair of CAPA’s Latino Festival steering committee. She was featured in the inaugural edition of Women's Book and the 2013 WELD - Women You Should Know Calendar. She has been named a Columbus Hispanic Hero by the City of Columbus and the Columbus Crew, served as the Publisher for Who’s Who in Latino Columbus, and named a Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan by the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs and the Governor of Ohio. She was recognized as a “Healthcare Heroes” by Columbus Business First.
She is a breast cancer survivor. She is married to the Rev. John T. Coats II and their daughter is a sophomore at the Ohio State University.
Edwin V. Juarez (OSU's Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity)
Edwin V. Juarez, Sr. is a 1st-year Ph.D. fellow in City and Regional Planning at The Ohio State University, where he also earned his Master of City and Regional Planning focusing on Cannabis Oriented Development with a double minor in Public Policy and Management and Rural Sociology. Before his current academic pursuits, Edwin served for almost eight years in the U.S. Army as a Reconnaissance Leader. He was deployed to various global locations, such as Combat Outpost Cashe South, located in southeastern Baghdad, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Originating from South Central Los Angeles, Edwin's journey is marked by resilience and dedication. Growing up as a civil war refugee from El Salvador, he faced multiple bouts of homelessness and lived in Skid Row as a teenager and young adult. These formative experiences ignited his passion for equitable housing and community development, particularly within migrant communities.
Transitioning to civilian life, Edwin began his academic journey at Cerritos Community College in Norwalk, California, where he earned an Associate of Arts in Real Estate. As a licensed California Realtor, he possesses extensive knowledge of the Southern California mortgage and real estate markets.
Beyond his academic and professional pursuits, Edwin is actively involved in student organizations and advocacy. He is currently a Research Associate at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. He was selected and serves as Ohio State's 2023 National Veterans Leadership Foundation Fellow, as well as the Military Community Advocate, and a Diversity and Inclusion Committee member for the Knowlton School of Architecture.
In his leisure time, Edwin enjoys spending quality time with his family, crafting, gaming, and discovering novel cuisines during his travels.
Lair Marin-Marcum (The Libre Initiative - Ohio)
Lair Marin-Marcum is the Ohio Strategic Director for The Libre Initiative. In her past roles, Lair worked for the state of Ohio for over 13 years, first as the State Community Liaison for the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission for 12 years and second as a State Regional Outreach & Hispanic Community Manager for the Ohio Department of Transportation. Lair also worked at Nationwide Insurance in the Corporate Insurance Markets for five years. Lair's professional career began in Europe where she worked for Canon as Marketing Training Manager for four years, and at Virgin Records international in national artists management for almost eight years. Lastly at SAP as the Europe, Middle East and Asia Corporate Event Director for five years.
In her many other roles in the community, Lair is the President and Chair of the Latina Mentoring Academy "LMA" that is on its 13th Academic cycle. She also leads the Hispanic Chamber of Columbus as the Chair of the Education & Events committee and is the 1st Latino to sit on the South-Western City School District Education Foundation board of trustees.
Lair was brought up between the USA and Spain and studied pre-med at the University of Minnesota and Economics & Languages at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. Lair also studied violin & voice at the Music Conservatory of Madrid in Spain and continues to perform at local venues, churches, conferences, events, and sports stadiums in Ohio. Lair's passion is focused in working with all minorities & diverse communities. Marin-Marcum is a strong advocate for Diversity & Inclusion, Health Equity, Education, Mentoring, Music, the Arts, Entrepreneurship & overall Minority Leadership. Lair lives in Grove City, Ohio. She's married to Tim Marcum, a very supportive, understanding and amazing husband. She has a daughter Mackenzie and two grandchildren, Colt & Daniel.
Rebecca F. Kemper (Columbus Landmarks)
Dr. Kemper's research is concerned with the intersections of urban studies, technology, and cultural sites. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Columbus Landmarks and is a former researcher at the COSI Science Museum as well as a co-founder of the Latina & Latina Engineering Graduate Student Association in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Kemper has graduated from Columbia University and Ohio State University, holding degrees in City Planning, Architecture, and Psychology. Her work has been featured within The Royal Society, Journal of Urban Affairs, Columbus and Dayton African American News Journal, and Technological Horizons Education.
Kemper has academic degrees in architecture and psychology and has a doctorate in city and regional planning. She also serves as a member of the Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Commission.
Andy Verhoff (Ohio History Connection)
Andy Verhoff is the Ohio History Fund & Outreach Manager in the State Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio History Connection. An employee of the Ohio History Connection for more than 28 years, he has worn a number of “hats.” In addition running a grant program and serving as the SHPO’s social media liaison, he has led the Ohio Historical Markers programs, consulted with hundreds of local history organizations, interpreted Civil War-era life in Ohio Village, and managed two historic sites – the Campus Martius and Ohio River Museums in Marietta. Between stints at the Ohio History Connection, he was a curator at the Ross County Historical Society in Chillicothe. He has an AB in History from Ohio University in Athens and an MA in Public History from Indiana University, Indianapolis. He lives in Columbus and is from the northwest Ohio village of Ottawa.