Jerry Velasco, actor, producer, businessman, social activist, arts advocate and currently a candidate for the El Monte City Council, has been chosen by the NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) Board of Directors to receive its: Life Achievement Award in Media Advocacy. Velasco will be honored on April 14, 2012 at NALIP’s gala awards at its annual conference to be held at the Universal Sheraton in Universal City, California.
He was selected to receive the NALIP Life Achievement Award because of his humanitarian work and his lifelong commitment to social justice, labor and workers’ rights, which insured an improved quality of life and many benefits for workers and their families, not only in the entertainment industry, but in the U. S. labor movement in general.
Velasco is one of the founding members of the oldest Latino Arts Advocacy organization in the U. S., Nosotros, founded by the late actor Ricardo Montalban in 1970. Nosotros’ mission is to improve the image of Latinos in the media and to further employment opportunities for the Latino community in the entertainment industry, both in front and behind the camera. Velasco served several terms as the organization’s President since 1979-2009, and is currently its President Emeritus.
As a producer, Velasco was responsible for bringing the first primetime Latino Awards show to television, the Nosotros Golden Eagle Awards, which honored such celebrities as Anthony Quinn, Cantinflas, Gilbert Roland, Salma Hayak, Jennifer Lopez, Rita Moreno, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Smits, Robert Rodriguez, Mike Gomez, and Eva Longoria, among others. He is also responsible for co-founding the Ricardo Montalban – Nosotros Foundation and its Theater in Hollywood, California. He is credited with almost singlehandedly securing the finances to purchase the theatre, which remains the only major legitimate theater of its size to carry a Latino name in the U. S.
He opened his own public relations firm, Velasco and Associates in 1982 and was one of the first to market Latino celebrities from Hollywood and Mexico to the Hispanic consumer market in the United States.
Over the years, he has served on many boards. He has served on the national and local boards of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), as well as on several committees for the entertainment industry unions, which have brought about many significant changes and benefits for actors.
Velasco is a longtime member of the National Council of La Raza, NALEO and LULAC, and is presently serving as a Board Member on the National Latino Media Council and, has served on commissions for the cities of Los Angeles and El Monte, and a long time supporter/friend of the late Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers.
Entering a new phase in his career, Velasco has tossed his hat into the political arena. Having served on many commissions/committees in the city where he resides he was recently appointed Planning Commissioner for the City of El Monte.
An impressive career worthy of the NALIP Life Achievement Award in Media Advocacy.
Past awardees for NALIP’s Life Achievement Awards include Actor Ricardo Montalban in 2003, Founder of NCLA Raul Yzaguirre in 2005, Actor Edward James Olmos in 2007, Activist Ray Andrade in 2009, Activist Alex Nogales in 2010 and in 2011, Gov. Bill Ricardson (ret.), former U.S. Secretary of Energy and former U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations.