Camacho Souza, Blase (1918-). Camacho Souza founded the Puerto Rican Heritage Society in 1980, and he is also the project director of the Puerto Rican House at Hawaii’s Plantation Village. Born in North Kohala, Hawaii, to Puerto Rican parents and the first Puerto Rican graduate of the University of Hawaii, Camacho Souza is an authority on the Puerto Rican experience in Hawaii.
Carr, Norma (Gomez) (1927-). Carr’s 1989 doctoral dissertation Puerto Ricans in Hawaii: 1900-1958, from the University of Hawaii, is an obligatory reference for any study dealing with the Puerto Rican migration to the Islands. Carr, who was born to Puerto Rican parents in New York, moved to Honolulu with her husband in 1958.
Evans, Faith (1937-). A locally born Puerto Rican, Evans is a former state legislator and the first woman to serve as a U.S. marshal. A cofounder of the Puerto Rican Heritage Society, Evans was appointed by Governor Ben Cayetano as chair to the Puerto Rican Centennial Commission.
Ortiz, Nancy N. (Perry) (1942-). Ortiz is a radio host to Alma Latina (Latin Soul), the longest running Latin music program in the Pacific. Born in Aiea, Oahu, Ortiz, whose grandparents arrived from Puerto Rico at the turn of the twentieth century, describes herself as a Boricua Hawaiana. Ortiz created Alma Latina Productions to promote salsa and latin music in Hawaii. One of the cofounders and executive director of the Centro Hispano de Hawaii/Hawaii Latino Center, she remains active in the United Puerto Rican Association.
Dias, Austin (1946-). Born in Honolulu and raised on Kauai’s Kilauea Sugar Plantation, Dias, professor of Spanish at the University of Hawaii, was chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures of Europe and the Americas for over 10 years. Dias, who is an honorary member of the Puerto Rican Heritage Society and was appointed to the state’s Puerto Rican Centennial Commission, has been instrumental in bringing to the forefront the forgotten literature of the early migrants of Puerto Rico to Hawaii.
Valdez, Pedro (1946-). Valdez, a native of Texas, arrived to Hawaii in the 1970s after retiring from the U.S. Navy and became host of the only local Spanish-speaking television program ever broadcast in Hawaii, iQue pasa Hawai? which ran from 1991 to 1998. Villa, Jose (1948-). From 1994 to 1999, Villa published the bilingual Spanish-English newspaper Hawai’i Hispanic News, also available in an online format from 1996 to
2000. He cofounded, and serves as secretary of, the Latin Business Association. Villa, who is involved in providing a forum from which to educate Latinos with dignity and respect, presents This Week in the Hispanic Nation on Ray Cruz’s Sabor Tropical show on Hawaii Public Radio.
Cruz, Ray (1951-). Cruz is undoubtedly the most important Latino DJ in Hawaii. Born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico, Cruz has promoted Latino music on the Islands for over 18 years, hosting the weekly Sabor Tropical on Hawaii Public Radio. Cruz has been extremely influential in maintaining the high profile of Latin music on the Islands. Sanchez, Rolando (1951-). Sanchez, a native of Nicaragua, moved to Hawaii in 1984 and in 1987 formed the band Salsa Hawaii. With events such as the Hawaii International Latin Music Festival, Miss Latin-Hawaii Scholarship Pageant, and many other cultural events, this Honolulu-based percussionist, songwriter, singer, and producer has been instrumental in infusing the salsa scene in Honolulu with the vitality it has today.
Sanchez, Martha (1953-). Sanchez, from Cuernavaca, Mexico, opened the Mercado de la Raza in 1994, one of the first Latino markets on Oahu. Sanchez is a cofounder of Centro Hispano de Hawaii/Hawaii Hispanic Center and is so active in Latino affairs on that island that her business doubles as a Hispanic food market and Hispanic referral center for the community.
Ortiz, Eddie (1964-). Ortiz, a retired U.S. marine bandsman of Puerto Rican descent and a transplant from New York who has been on the Islands since 1997, formed the salsa band Son Caribe in 2002. Garnering the admiration of fans locally, nationally, and internationally, Son Caribe has opened for Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, and received a
2004 Grammy Award consideration for Best Salsa/Merengue Album of the Year.