WASHINGTON, August 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) and CHCI President, Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán, proudly announce the winners of the 2022 Medallion Award, Music Legend Celia Cruz and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra. At the 45th Annual CHCI Awards Gala, held September 15, 2022 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in washington d.c., Celia Cruz will be remembered posthumously with the 2022 Medallion of Excellence Award and Secretary Xavier Becerra will be recognized for exemplary leadership with the 2022 American Dream Medallion Award.

The Medallion Award is CHCI’s highest honor and one of the Latino community‘s most prestigious honors, given annually to individuals who are positive role models and whose extraordinary careers, civic leadership and service contribute to American society as a whole.

by Celia Cruz incredible legacy and contributions to our culture, and Secretary by Xavier Becerra exemplary career and exceptional civic leadership, and public service embody the core principles of CHCI,” said CHCI President, Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán. “We are proud to celebrate and recognize these two pioneers at our 45th Annual Awards Gala this year.”

“We are delighted to honor both Celia Cruz and secretary Xavier Becerra at this year’s gala. by Celia Cruz The medallion of excellence, presented posthumously, testifies to his eternal legacy not only within the Latino community – but the country – and the world. The American Dream Medallion presented to the Secretary Xavier Becerra honors the first Latino to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and a champion of Latinos for more than two decades,” said Marco A. DavisPresident and CEO of CHCI.

The 2022 CHCI Medallion of Excellence in Arts, Entertainment, Media, Music and Sports will be awarded to Celia Cruz (posthumously)

Celia Cruz was a gifted artist and singer who grew up in Santos Suárez, Cuba where she was inspired by talented musicians and artists who influenced her future singing projects. Beloved as the “Queen of Salsa,” Cruz’s visibility as a groundbreaking Afro-Latin artist placed Cuba on the map as a hotbed of traditional Afro-Cuban music. Throughout his career, Celia Cruz redefined salsa, recording over 80 albums and songs, earning 23 gold records and winning five Grammy Awards. Cruz passed July 2003 brain cancer, however, his prominent legacy highlights Celia Cruz as a unique musician and performer in the genre of salsa and Latin music.

“During his distinguished 50-year career, by Celia Cruz the music captured the unique vibrancy and magic of Latin culture and won the hearts of millions around the world. Today, as part of Cruz’s incredible musical legacy, the Celia Cruz Foundation raises funds for Hispanic students whose dream is to study music. On behalf of Celia Cruz Knight Estate and the Celia Cruz Foundation, we are honored by CHCI’s recognition of Celia’s lasting impact and look forward to continuing her original mission of opening doors for Hispanic students who want to pursue musical studies” said Omer PardilloPresident of the Celia Cruz Foundation.

The 2022 CHCI American Dream Medallion in Education, Science, Medicine or Civil Rights will be awarded to the Secretary Xavier Becerra

Born in Sacramento, California, Secretary Becerra is the son of working-class parents. As the 25th Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the first Latino to hold this position in the history of United States, Becerra has a responsibility to realize President Biden’s vision of building a healthy America, ensuring health security and access to health care for all Americans. Secretary Becerra served 12 terms in Congress as a member of the United States House of Representatives, advocating for health care, patient safety, and cost reduction for seniors. Throughout his career, Becerra has cracked down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud, acted to combat the opioid crisis, including holding drugmakers accountable, won an unprecedented award $575 million antitrust settlement against one of the world’s largest healthcare systems Californiaand took the case to federal court to save the ACA and with it, the protections of the 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

“Developing the next generation of Latino leaders is critical to ensuring that all of those hard-working people in our country are represented at the highest levels in both the public and private sectors,” said the HHS secretary Xavier Becerra. “As the son of parents of Mexico, I know from experience how important it is to open doors for families across the country. Representation, whether in the halls of Congress or in boardrooms across the country, is essential to protecting America’s health. I am proud to receive the 2022 American Dream Medallion Award and encourage young Latino leaders to continue to do their part to create a more perfect union. At HHS, our work continues to improve the health and well-being of communities nationwide, including the Latino community. From strengthening reproductive health care and protecting LGBTQ+ communities from discrimination, to increasing access to federal insurance programs, and reducing disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates , we at HHS, like the Institute, always have an eye on fairness.

45th Annual CHCI Awards Gala hosted by

Bank of America

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the 45th Annual Awards Gala. Please email [email protected] for more information.

On-site press credentials and interview requests with select winners, musical talent, participants and organizational leaders may be available upon request.


The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) is the nation’s premier nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) Hispanic leadership development organization that educates, empowers, and connects emerging Latino leaders by offering leadership development programs. leadership and educational services. The organization was established in 1978 by Hispanic members of Congress to ensure a diverse and inclusive leadership pipeline. CHCI’s leadership is comprised of Hispanic/Latino members of Congress, community leaders, and business leaders who guide the Institute’s mission. CHCI directly impacts the lives of more than 1,700 students and young professionals each year through its scholarships, congressional internships, and the R2L NextGen High School Program. For more information or to get involved, visit

Media Contact:
Jennifer Meza
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SOURCE Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

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