Founding Members

We are a small group consisting of historians, educators, journalists, activists, librarians, archivists, and active community members who all share a passion for recovering the history of Latinas and Latinos in Tarrant County.

Rita Rodriguez-Utt

HOLA Member/Retired Attorney

Born and raised in La Fundicion, also known as Worth Heights, in Fort Worth, Rodriguez-Utt has deep ties to and memories of her barrio and the families that lived in this community. After completing high school, she earned a nursing degree and eventually a law degree. After getting married and moving to Michigan, then to Austin to attend UT, and Houston she returned to Fort Worth as a new mother and a lawyer. She and her husband became continued their work in local politics. Rodriguez-Utt worked in the District Attorney’s office, met the local bar, and involved herself with the community through joining local Latino and Anglo organizations. Her wish was to bring the knowledge and experience she had gained to the Latino community for its betterment. She and her husband spent a lot of energy in community work which was both satisfying and rewarding. Now in retirement Rodriguez-Utt aims to help document, preserve, and archive the contributions of Latinos to Tarrant county while also preserving the ethnicity, culture and values.  All are invited everyone to join us in our endeavor. To learn more about Rodriguez-Utt’s journey, click here.

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Dr. Peter Martínez

Hola Member/Professor, Tarrant County Community Colleges

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Peter Martínez earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History from the University of Texas at Arlington before receiving his Doctorate in History from the University of North Texas in 2017. While an undergraduate student, Dr. Martínez was awarded Best Undergraduate Paper in Political Science for a paper entitled “The Under-representation of Hispanics in Congress.” Subsequently, as a Master’s student, his research paper entitled, “Helping and Hurting the Poor: Mexicans in the Way of Fort Worth’s First Public Housing” was awarded Best Graduate Student Essay in the 38th Annual E.C. Barksdale Essays in History competition. After earning his PhD, Dr. Martínez’s dissertation, “Ready to Run: Fort Worth’s Mexicans in Search of Representation, 1960-2000,” was awarded Best Dissertation in Tejano/a Studies by the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies – Tejas Foco in 2018. Currently, Dr. Martínez serves as an Associate Professor of History at Tarrant County College – Northeast Campus. Dr. Martínez is a dedicated student and educator of history with an emphasis on Chicano history.

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Richard J. Gonzales

Hola Member, Author and Journalist

Richard J. Gonzales graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington, majoring in English with a History minor in 1972. He founded the Association of Mexican American Students in 1970 at UTA and wrote a student paper, El Alacran. He returned to UTA and graduated with a Master’s in Social Work in 1977. The Americas Review, a literary journal of the University of Houston, published two of his short stories. He worked as a guest columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2001-2007, publishing hundreds of op-ed pieces. Many of his articles were reprinted in newspapers across the country, online news outlets and a Texas Christian University student reader.  He wrote Raza Rising: Chicanos in North Texas, published by the University of North Texas Press, March 2016. The Texas Book Festival organizers invited the author to speak at their 2016 festival about Raza Rising. Latino selected him as the number one, non-fiction Latino author in 2016 for Raza Rising. His historical fiction novel Deer Dancer, portraying the Yaqui Indians’ struggles to keep their homelands, was published by Sleeping Panther Press, July 2017. He’s currently working on another historical novel, Mexica, telling the conquest of the Mexicas, commonly known as the Aztecs, from their point of view.

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Cecilia N. Sánchez Hill

Hola Member, TCU Ph.D Candidate and Educator

Cecilia N. Sánchez Hill is a Ph.D. candidate at Texas Christian University focusing on Mexican American history in Fort Worth and also working toward a graduate certificate in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES). She is the winner of the first Diversity in Research Award from the TCU’s AddRan College of Liberal Arts for her master’s thesis, “¿Mi Tierra, También? Mexican American Civil Rights in Fort Worth, Texas, 1940-1990s.” She served as member of the CRES contract team that worked with Fort Worth ISD in creating the K-12 Latina/o Studies Curriculum Guide. Prior to school at TCU, Hill taught US History and AP World History for Fort Worth ISD, served as social studies middle school specialist, and helped write the curriculum for the Latina/o Studies Elective course. After she completes her Ph.D. program, Hill hopes to continue to help secondary history teachers move beyond the traditional narrative used in history classrooms and assist these teachers in creating lessons that nurture critical-thinking skills.

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Rosalinda Martinez

Hola Member, Community Volunteer and Advocate

Rosalinda Martinez is a seasoned Community Volunteer and Community Advocate. A longtime resident of Fort Worth. She is an active member of her community. She has worked for Tarrant County College District for the past 11 years. Rosalinda Martinez is no stranger to community and civic involvement.  Her volunteer activities began when she joined the Fort Worth ISD, Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). She spent the last 11 years serving in many capacities as PTO Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President and President. After a successful career in the PTO, it provided her the perfect foundation to establish two Parent Teacher Association’s (PTA), at the elementary and Middle school levels. She serves on the Board of Directors for CASA of Tarrant County, the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation and serves on the Executive Committee as Secretary. Plus on two Fort Worth ISD District Committees, District Advisory Committee, and North Side High School Site-Based Decision Making Committee. Co-Founder of Hispanic Heritage History Project Committee/Chicano Trailblazer. Mission: To host a free public event during National Hispanic Heritage Month highlighting the cultural, heritage and Hispanic contributions to our city and community. Founding Member, Latino History/Historia Latina Fort Worth and Catechist Religious Education – Volunteer at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. Rosalinda received her bachelor’s degree in 2000 from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, TX.  She has been married to Arturo Martinez for 20 years and they have two daughters and one son. 

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Arturo Martinez

Hola Member, Director of Creative Services, TCCD

Arturo Martinez is the son of immigrant parents who migrated to Texas in the late 1960’s. Martinez was born and raised in “La Loma”, Fort Worth’s Far Greater Northside, a prominently Latino working-class historical neighborhood. On the Hill, Martinez was a product of FWISD public school, junior college attendee, and a first-generation college graduate from Sul Ross State University, with a B.F.A. Degree in visual communications and mathematics. As a lifelong resident of Fort Worth, Martinez has always made it a point to give back to his community. And his volunteerism got him involved in a variety of civic and philanthropic activities. Currently, he serves on the City of Fort Worth’s Human Relations Commission. As past Chair, it afforded him an excellent opportunity to be a strong voice and raise awareness on matters involving racial, religious, or ethnic discrimination. Martinez also served on the Fort Worth’s Race and Cultural Task Force, appointed by the City Council to identify racial and cultural disparities in Fort Worth. In 2017, the Fort Worth Business Press honored Martinez as one of Tarrant County’s top minority leaders in business and the community. Martinez currently serves as the Director of Creative Services with Tarrant County College District. Martinez oversees management of the Graphic Services team and is accountable for the overall departmental work, growth and deliverables. Martinez continues to advocate for his community and for the betterment of others. 

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Emerico Perez

Hola Member and Photographer

Emerico Perez has been a Professional photographer for over 15 years. Starting out photographing his family, Emerico started getting jobs photographing Quincianeras and weddings. In 2006 Emerico started photo shooting events in the Latino community starting with the Immigration rally in April of that year. Emerico started photo shooting political events, festivals, Tejano concerts, and various local Latino organizations. Most notably, Emerico served as the official photographer for Dolores Huerta when she came to Fort Worth to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the elementary school named in her honor. The University of North Texas displayed the Dolores Huerta event exhibit and the Fort Worth Public Library have both displayed Capturing History through Latino Lenses during Hispanic Heritage Month. Besides his photography, Emerico retired from AT&T after 30 years as an outside technician. He was also an active member of HISPANIC ASSOCIATION of COMMUNICATIONS EMPLOYEES (HACEMOS). Emerico has been recognized for his commitment in the Latino community by the UNITED HISPANIC COUNCIL and City councilmen Sal Espino and Carlos Flores. He is the Chairperson for the San Mateo Men’s club Golf tournament since 2007. He has also served as a Parade Judge for the 50th Anniversary of the Dies y Sies de September Parade, was president of HALOS, Treasurer of the San Mateo Men’s Club, Member and Chairperson for T.O.M ( Tejanos for Onda Music), on the San Mateo planning committee for their new church and community center. He sits on the board of the North Texas Community Health Center and is on the Scholarship committee for Juntos Si Se Puede.

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Max Krochmal, Ph.D.

Hola Member, Associate Professor of History, TCU

Max Krochmal, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History and founding chair of the Department of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He is the author of Blue Texas: The Making of a Multiracial Democratic Coalition in the Civil Rights Era, winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Award of the Organization of American Historians, the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco Non-Fiction Book Award, and other accolades. He also directs the Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project, which has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Krochmal serves as co-chair of the Fort Worth Independent School District Racial Equity Committee and is an active member of United Fort Worth. A native of Reno, Nevada, he majored in Community Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, before earning his graduate degrees in History at Duke University.

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Jennifer Brancato

Hola Member, Archivist, Fort Worth Public Library

Jennifer Brancato, a native of Dallas, earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in History from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Her desire to preserve and make history available to everyone led her to devote her graduate studies to the field of Public History. After graduation, she became an Archivist at the East Texas Research Center located on the campus of SFASU. During her tenure, she was appointed Assistant Director and Digital Archivist. In 2013, she became the University Archivist and Special Collections Coordinator at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. After five years in Ohio, she decided it was time to return home to Texas, where she accepted the Archivist position in the Genealogy, Local History, and Archives unit at the Fort Worth Public Library. She is a Certified Archivist and a Digital Archives Specialist. She is passionate about working with communities to help them preserve and share their history.

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Priscilla Escobedo

Hola Member, Special Collections Archivist, UTA Special Collections

Priscilla Escobedo, a native of Dallas, earned her BA in International Studies from Baylor University, and her MLIS from UNT. She is a Certified Archivist and board member of the Dallas Mexican-American Historical League (DMAHL). Her passion for history, preservation, and organization led her to archival work, and she is the Special Collections archivist at UTA’s Special Collections. Much of her work involves building relationships with members of the community and collecting materials for the UTA archives, including photographs, papers, and oral histories. She has also worked to create UTA’s Dallas Death Map project. In her spare time, she enjoys writing Wikipedia articles on Texas history, submitting photographs and biographies to Find A Grave, and working on her family genealogy. 

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William E. Girón

Hola Member, Executive Director, Artes de la Rosa (ADLR) Cultural Center for the Arts

 Prior to ADLR, William has worked in both the public & private sectors with responsibilities in economic/business/education/workforce/program development, program & project management, budgeting, and grant writing. He prides himself with more than 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur and serving the community. William is a native of Guatemala and a Fort Worth graduate of Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas Wesleyan University with a major in Marketing & Management and minor in Spanish. He also earned two Associate of Applied Science degrees in Marketing and Small Business Management from Tarrant County College. He is a graduate of Leadership Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program. For more about William, click here.

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Stephanie Cuellar

Hola Member, Ph.D. Student, Texas Christian University

Stephanie Cuellar is a Ph.D. student at Texas Christian University. She is studying Higher Educational Leadership and pursing a graduate certificate in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) with concentrations in research and pedagogy. She earned a bachelor of arts and a master of arts in Psychology from Midwestern State University. Cuellar is originally from Sherman, TX and has lived in Fort Worth since 2015. She was recently selected to serve as a national diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) facilitator for her sorority, Sigma Kappa. Cuellar is also a member of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE). She served on the 2021 TACHE conference planning committee and was a recipient of the TACHE Graduate Student Fellowship Award. Cuellar’s research interests include examining ethnic-racial identity development and resilience among Latinx students. Upon graduation, she hopes to become a professor of Ethnic Studies.

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