LULAC honors local women for inspiring community

The annual Women in Action reception is scheduled for Saturday, August 25 at Paine's Restaurant in Hollister. Tickets can be purchased online, as none will be sold at the door.

This article was contributed by San Benito County LULAC.

Since 1988, San Benito LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) has hosted the scholarship fundraiser Women in Action reception in celebration of the accomplishments of local women.

The reception is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at Paines Restaurant in Hollister. This year, LULAC welcomes keynote speaker Maria Echaveste to San Benito County. Ms. Echaveste is former U.S. presidential advisory to Bill Clinton and White House deputy chief of staff during the second Clinton administration. Echaveste is one of the highest-ranking Latinas to have served in a presidential administration. The event will be emceed by Bianca Beltrán, KSBW Action News 8 weekend sunrise anchor. 

Each year, the event pays special tribute to local women who have committed themselves to inspiring others through their unyielding civic and professional contributions. The 2018 Women of the Year reception honorees include Elvira Bustillos and Maria Mendez.

Elvira Bustillos is a Hollister native and graduate of San Benito High School. In her adolescence, Elvira secured employment at Hollister Super Market and through hard work and dedication earned the position of supervisor of Baler and Hollister Super Markets. For many years, Mrs. Bustillos has facilitated numerous generous donations to local nonprofits, organizations, and schools. Contributions include support for children, health initiatives and fairs, youth programs, and countless of other causes. Elvira is honored for her philosophy of creating positive change through personal integrity, generosity, and humility.

The second honoree is Maria Mendez, born in Mexico and raised in California. Ms. Mendez has over 10 years of employment experience with the City of Hollister in the areas of finance, housing, economic development, and building and planning. Since 2016, Ms. Mendez has served as assistant planner and provides experienced leadership to those who seek guidance on the establishment and/or expansion of business and services that benefit our local economy and city. Maria is a San Jose State University graduate with a degree in political science. Ms. Mendez is a role model to young women – aspiring them to continue their education and profession in local government. 

LULAC also recognizes two San Benito High School graduates as the recipients of the Young Woman Award. Riana Gutierrez was born in Hollister and currently attending college where she is pursuing a degree in nursing and a minor in Chicano(a) studies. She is currently President of the LULAC Young Adult Council and Coordinator of the Adelante! after school program, which helps mentor local youth by connecting them with individuals in various professions of interest.

The second honoree is Bernadette Hernandez, a junior at Sacramento State University where she is pursuing a degree in child development with a minor in counseling. Her passion for education was planted by her parents who came to the United States pursuing the American Dream. Bernadette has overcome adversity while trying to overcome personal struggles of being an undocumented student and first generation college student. These young women have demonstrated community leadership and commitment to making a difference in San Benito County through hundreds of combined volunteer hours. 

The proceeds from the Women's Reception are contributed to the LULAC scholarship program, which has provided over $165,000 to local graduating students that are continuing their path to a higher education. 

Ticket Information: The program includes dinner, entertainment by Cafecito Combo, an awards presentation, and silent auction. The cost to attend is $40 per ticket and no tickets will be sold at the door. The annual event is expected to sell out.

Tickets may be purchased online at or by contacting Ruth Hermosillo (831) 596-2914, Elia Salinas (831) 537-7312, Riana Gutierrez (831) 801-2901, or Veronica Lezama (831) 245-6971.



San Benito LULAC

LULAC is the largest and oldest Latino organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, housing, health and civil rights through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide.