Joseph Chacon demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to his law enforcement family and the Austin community. He began his police career with the El Paso Police Department, where he worked for six years in various assignments. During his 28-year career in investigations, Chief Chacon supervised Homicide, Robbery, Sex Crimes, Child Abuse, Special Investigations units and the Organized Crime division. Before being promoted to Assistant Chief in 2016, he served as a Patrol Commander in North Austin and as the department's Intelligence Commander. He also led the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, a multi-disciplinary fusion center located in Central Austin, whose responsibility encompasses the ten-county Central Texas area. As an active member of the Major Cities Chief's Association (MCCA) Intelligence Commander's Group and the National Fusion Center Association, Chief Chacon has helped facilitate a more transparent Police Department to bridge the community and its officers.
Chief Chacon is grounded by his strong faith and support of a loving family. Amid a busy schedule, he always makes time for the ones he loves most; his endearing family. Chacon also has a heart's desire to give back to worthy volunteer opportunities. At the top of that list is giving his time and love to Special Olympics Texas, where his beautiful and beloved daughter, Elena, has participated for the past ten years, igniting his passion for developing and caring for Special Needs children. He spent time as a coach and mentor in the Miracle League of Austin, an adaptive Little League baseball organization. He is on the International Association of Chiefs of Police Torch Run Committee, an anchor organization committed to the Special Olympics.
Chief Chacon is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington School of Urban and Public Affairs, where he earned a Master's degree in Public Administration. His Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences is from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX. He is also a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum's Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), Texas State University's Certified Public Manager (CPM) Program, and the MCCA Police Executive Leadership Institute.
Erika Leos is the Manager of the Financial Wellness Department and has overseen the Financial Coaching Program at Foundation Communities since its start in 2008. For the last 19 years, she has created opportunities for Austinites to become Financially Fit for free through the Financial Coaching and Education Programs she started and continues to oversee. She is certified in Financial Capability by the NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling. Moreover, her oversight of the Foundation Communities’ financial education, loan, saving, and credit-building programs has helped community members achieve their financial goals.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Leos led the adaptation of the Financial Wellness programs to meet the changing needs of central Texas families through her management of Emergency Assistance Programs. These programs were designed to help Austin residents access various pathways to help pay rent and utilities as they faced financial hardship during the pandemic.
In addition, Ms. Leos serves as the Head Deacon on the leadership council at Sunrise Community Church. Her role is to lead the management of church finances and help church members become better stewards of the resources they have received. Erika graduated from Irvin High School, and she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, with a major in Marketing.
Saúl González II - Recognizing the need to build community and organize activism at the intersection of multiple oppressions, Saúl González co-founded ALLGO (Austin Latina/Latino Lesbian and Gay Organization) in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis among Latine and Black communities in Austin. ALLGO sought to nurture community building, culture, and arts, and is currently the most extended surviving LGBTQ people of color organization in the US and still benefits from Saúl's leadership and legacy today.
Saúl passed the bar and practiced as an attorney for 10 years before shifting his focus to working as an Information Specialist for the American Cancer Society. He excelled in this role for the last 22 years, helping countless people navigate the fears and complicated medical terrain involved in a cancer diagnosis. For years, he has also served as a commissioner on the Austin Human Rights Commission, a Board member on the Austin Reading is Fundamental Board of Directors and the ALLGO Board of Directors. He has been a member and strong supporter of El Paso in Austin, fundraising for scholarships for Latine young people and a Community Health Champion through Central Health.
Saúl is a proud El Paso High School graduate and a Texas Law Alumus. He has recently served as the treasurer for the governing Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Quality of Life Advisory Commission for the City of Austin. Serving as treasurer for José Orta's campaign for Williamson County Commissioner for Precinct 4 this year is only one example of the myriad campaigns he has worked on throughout the years to support progressive Latina and Latino elected officials. He was elected as a Democratic National Delegate for SD 21 in 2016. He was never afraid to dive into the mess and heartbreak of politics with a never-ending hope that change was indeed possible.
Jill Ramirez currently serves as the Executive Director for the Latino HealthCare Forum, an Austin-based nonprofit organization formed to help others understand, learn, and advocate for their own and the community's health. Jill arrived in Austin after receiving her BA at UTEP and graduated with a Master of Education and Master in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin.
Jill was the Author and Instructor of PromoSalud, a State of Texas Certification Program for Community Health Workers /Promotores de Salud. At the Forum, she has coordinated Manantial De Salud Dove Springs, a project focused on health promotions, and funded by the City of Austin, the CDC, the Affordable Care Act Community Outreach Project and the Southeast Health and Wellness Center Community Assessment. Her experience in Early Childhood Special Education, Bilingual Speech Pathology for Bilingual Autism, and Bilingual Special Education and Consultant for AISD. Jill also facilitates various trainings and workshops in self-empowerment, biliteracy skills, bilingualism and biculturalism for parents of English-Language Learners. During this term, she authored: "PROMESAS," a curriculum for Spanish-speaking parents, and served as a Bilingual Speech/Language Pathologist at CHILD, INC.
As Guest Lecturer at UT Austin, she shared her knowledge of Assessment and Communication Issues in Multicultural Special Education with Emphasis on Autism, Bilingual Education, Parent Involvement and Cultural and Linguistic Competency. Her awards and recognitions include: "Orgullo Latino" by Univision, the "Dennis R. Garza Lifetime Achievement" Award by LULAC District 7, nominated for "The Power of One Award" by the University of Texas at Austin Principalship Program, a "Certificate of Recognition" by the State of Texas House of Representatives, for working with Spanish-speaking children with autism, and was inducted in the "Women's Hall of Fame" by the City of Austin. She is also part of the Austin Latino Coalition and has been a tireless advocate for the underserved communities of Austin during the pandemic.
Jill is a force behind the scenes who advocates for inclusive covid health education, equitable testing and vaccine distribution and has led the efforts to get funding for the Forum and the Coalition to do food, PPE, testing and vaccine distribution for underserved communities in Travis County. Currently, she leads a group of Promotoras that educate business partners and community members about COVID-19 related topics, conduct vaccine and Personal Protective Equipment distribution and sign-up people to vaccination appointments.
Bonnie White is an incredible force within the education system here in Central Texas; her heart and dedication are awe-inspiring. Bonnie graduated from El Paso HS in 2004 and briefly attended New Mexico State before transferring to Texas State University. Having found her calling in education, Bonnie has worked with elementary children, first at Del Valle Independent School District, and is now a Special Education Teacher in the Leander Independent School District. She is currently part of a brand-new program that is making ripples in addressing learning in a more holistic approach and advocacy for students with significant behavioral needs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bonnie, like many educators, had to teach through one of the most challenging times in our generation, and somehow, SOMEHOW, she made it fun and interactive for her classroom. She challenged her third graders to read 1,000 books, and in return for their accomplishment, she would shave her head. All during a time when kids and parents alike were navigating distanced learning and finding ways to keep her classroom engaged, she not only thought outside of the box, but she rose above the challenges and nailed it. It was "Mrs. White's 1,000 Book Challenge," and it is on YouTube.
Bonnie has worked tirelessly through the ups and downs of overseeing forming young minds. She has been through the stress and celebrated in the joyous moments. Bonnie teaches through love, acceptance and with a tenacity that few share. This woman has the most intellectual mind ever, borderline someone who could easily have been a supervillain but instead chose to love this world and use her power for good. Our future minds and the young individuals that she molds and teaches are better for it.