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2023 Gala Honorees
Photo of John Leguizamo

John Leguizamo, actor and host of "Leguizamo Does America," receiving the 2023 Ronald J. Tabak Community Champion Award

A multi-faceted creator, John Leguizamo has established a career that defies categorization. His work in film, theater, and television covers a variety of genres, continually threatening to create a few of its own.

Leguizamo received a Special Tony Award at the 2018 Tony Awards after wrapping an extended Broadway run of Latin History For Morons, his latest one-man show, delivering his take on 500 years of Latin History spanning the Aztec and Incan Empires to World War II. He has garnered numerous other accolades throughout his career including an Emmy Award, a Drama Desk Award, as well as nominations for Tony Awards and Golden Globes. His more than 75 film credits include Carlito’s Way, To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Summer of Sam, Encanto, and The Ice Age franchise.

Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown, a graphic novel adaptation of his Broadway one-man show of the same name, was nominated for an Eisner award. He also launched a groundbreaking Latinx comic book series, PhenomX, in partnership with Image Comics.

Recently, John co-starred in Mark Mylod’s The Menu, Amazon's series The Power alongside Toni Collette, as well as MSNBC Films’ Leguizamo Does America, a six-part series following John across the country to celebrate Latino history, culture, and communities.

John earned both a Critic’s Choice and Emmy Award nomination for his role as Raymond Santana Sr. in the Netflix series When They See Us, and an Emmy nomination for his role in the Paramount Network television series Waco alongside Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon. His directorial debut, Critical Thinking, was selected to premiere at SXSW Film Festival.

He has garnered numerous other accolades throughout his career including an Emmy Award, a Drama Desk Award, as well as nominations for Tony Awards and Golden Globes. His more than 75 film credits include Carlito’s Way, To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, Summer of Sam, Encanto, and The Ice Age franchise.

John Leguizamo resides in New York City with his wife and two children.  

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Willie Hernández, General Counsel, International, The Coca-Company, receiving the 2023 Lucero Award

Willie Hernandez currently serves as the General Counsel, International of The Coca-Cola Company.

After earning his undergraduate degree from UC Berkley and J.D. from UCLA, he began his legal career practicing as a litigator with Jackson Walker, LLP., before representing technology companies around the globe. For the past 20 years, Mr. Hernandez has held executive roles at IBM, Amazon (Lab126), and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, representing these companies in the United States and globally. Between 2008 and 2011, Mr. Hernandez lived in Shanghai, China, leading IBM’s legal team across Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle-East, Africa and Latin America. Mr. Hernandez has served these companies across all lines of business, including hardware, software and services, and led legal support for the growth areas of software, cloud and IoT solutions.

Mr. Hernandez was raised in East San Jose and was the first member of his family to attend college. Drawing from his personal experience he has committed himself to the educational and professional development of students from low-income backgrounds with the ultimate goal of creating bridges to college and professional careers. Mr. Hernandez is a current Board Member of the Silicon Valley Urban Debate League (SVUDL), an organization that teaches competitive debate to students in underserved communities. Mr. Hernandez developed a coalition of law firms and legal departments to partner with SVUDL to provide long-term mentoring to help students navigate their path from high school to “day 1 of Law School.” Mr. Hernandez is also the Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, a national organization dedicated to the advancement and inclusion of Hispanic lawyers. Mr. Hernandez also serves on the advisory board of La Raza Lawyers Association (Santa Clara). 


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Milbank LLP, receiving the 2023 Pro Bono Publico Award

Milbank believes that, as attorneys, we have a responsibility to use the law to make a difference. The firm has a long history of commitment to social justice work. We helped found the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in 1963, and in 1993 we were one of the first law firms in the country to appoint a partner solely devoted to our pro bono practice.

Throughout the past three decades, Milbank lawyers have contributed over 1.35 million hours on matters involving the promotion of racial equity and social justice, civil and voting rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, advocating for immigrants, protecting survivors of domestic abuse or gender-based violence, and assisting not-for-profits that protect our environment and animal rights. We are actively engaged in both the direct representation of individuals and broader advocacy for systemic change.

Our work with LatinoJustice PRLDEF in the ongoing class action lawsuit against the Suffolk County Police Department alleging discriminatory policing reflects our shared commitment to achieving a more just society by supporting transparency and equitable justice. 

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Bloomberg LP, receiving the 2023 Corporate Leader Award Through its news coverage, philanthropic efforts and corporate initiatives, Bloomberg LP has a strong track record of elevating and supporting the advancement and well-being of Latinos and others.

In the media realm, this includes telling the personal stories of migrants with dignity and humanity, speaking out on the harms perpetuated against Latinx communities after mass shootings in Texas, New York, Florida and Colorado.

In the philanthropic area, Bloomberg has provided relief and support to marginalized communities impacted by climate change, Having direct and positive impact on the lives of millions of Latinos.

And within the company, Bloomberg has fostered greater understanding of diversity through employee-led activities such as Cafecito Chats, and leveraged its formidable collective expertise by fostering mentoring projects through partnerships with schools like the University of Puerto Rico.