Latin Chamber of Commerce awards UNLV professor
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27th annual awards gala honors law professor
The Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce recognized an individual whose work in the community transfers over into her classroom at UNLV.
The 27th annual Latin Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala was held on Oct. 10. at the Paris to honor the work of Sylvia Lazos, UNLV law professor and community activist.
“I am very proud, very happy, very gratified that people of my community have recognized my efforts,” Lazos said.
As co-chair of the Southern Nevada Diversity Roundtable and member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, those honoring Lazos said she has defined the issues that are most important within these organizations.
“The organizations that I am involved in deal with key issues like making sure minority students have equal opportunities in education, equal opportunities for success and getting students politically involved,” Lazos said.
Lazos said she believes their segregation present in the school system that works to hold minority and lower-income students back.
“Triple segregation is present in our school systems and it is based on [English-speaking ability], race and ethnicity and income,” Lazos said.
Lazos went on to explain her interpretation of the best way to combat these issues.
“It is more effective to have students talk with their parents about these issues and for students to help their parents get away from old-fashioned ideas that may not help them,” Lazos said.
She explained the ways her law training helped prepare her to educate students about achieving social change.
“A lawyer is someone who knows how to argue well,” Lazos said, “so we teach students about political issues and where to apply pressure.”
Lazos said she was glad to win the award, but she said the fight for change is not over yet.
“It is public validation for all of my work,” Lazos said. “I am very happy to get the award, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Among those who attended the Gala were Salvador Guido, a Las Vegas business owner, who was enthusiastic about being part of such a large, prestigious event.
“I thought the Gala would be a great opportunity to network and to promote my business,” Guido said. “I am happy to be a part of a community event that focuses on leadership.”
Guido went on to talk about his own journey to success and what events like the Gala mean to him.
“I came to this country as a Mexican immigrant and I didn’t speak English,” he said. “I don’t follow misguidance and I dream. If a guy like me who came here like I did can succeed, all the kids born here can do it.”
Guido added that the focus of on minority leadership the event is part of what made him happy to be there.
“The lack of unity among us is what has been causing us to fall behind other minorities,” Guido said. “If we want to compete in an industrialized economy, it is important for us to become unified and communicate with one another.”
Guido said he believes the Latin Chamber of Commerce “is crucial for [Latinos] to have a place to belong and to express our thoughts within the Latin community.”
He encouraged students to stay focused and to strive for their dreams, no matter what challenges they face.
“This is still the land of opportunity, even with the challenges,” Guido said.
The Latin Chamber of Commerce honors people like Sylvia Lazos every year for their continuous efforts to break down social barriers and to bring social change on many different levels.