(CBS SF) — The Bay Area’s Hispanic heritage includes visionary artists and political leaders, authors, activists, and musicians. As the nation celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month September 15th through October 15th, KPIX-TV, KBCW, KCBS Radio, Radio Alice, 99.7 Now and Live105 salute Bay Area Latinos making a difference.

Using nominations from Facebook, the names below are just a sampling of the amazing achievements the Hispanic community makes to our neighborhoods, cities, state, and world.

ADD A NAME TO THE LIST: Nominate Other Latino/Hispanic Leaders Here

Isabel Allende, Author
Chilean author Allende blazed a trail in a male-dominated Latin American literary world with a bestselling first novel, “The House Of Spirits” in 1982, based on a farewell letter to her dying grandfather.
All her books are written in Spanish, but have been translated to more than 35 languages, selling 65 million copies.
She moved to San Rafael in 1987 where she lives with her second husband. She became a U.S. citizen in 1993.
From her official biography:
“Allende, who has received dozens of international tributes and awards over the last 30 years, describes
her fiction as “realistic literature,” rooted in her remarkable upbringing and the mystical people and
events that fueled her imagination. Her writings are equally informed by her feminist convictions, her
commitment to social justice, and the harsh political realities that shaped her destiny. A prominent
journalist for Chilean television and magazines in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Allende’s life was forever
altered when Gen. Augusto Pinochet led a military coup in 1973 that toppled Chile’s socialist reform
government. Allende’s cousin Salvador Allende, who had been elected Chile’s president in 1970, died
in the coup. The Pinochet regime was marked early on by repression and brutality, and Allende became
involved with groups offering aid to victims of the regime.”


George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney
As the first Latino district attorney for the city, Gascón has risen to national prominence as a criminal justice visionary working to lower crime in innovative ways. He’s also the first police chief to become district attorney in the United States. Homicides are down 36% in the first six months of this year, according to his county biography page, while prosecutions for felony assaults, gun crimes and robbery are up 14, 17, and 9 percent in the last two years. He also became a national leader in reducing smartphone theft with the passage of the California “kill switch bill” this year.
After dropping out of high school originally, District Attorney Gascón returned to school to earn a Bachelor of Arts in History from California State University, Long Beach, and a Juris Doctor Degree from Western State University, College of Law.

Frank Carbajal, Author, Business Leader
As founder and president of EsTiempo, the author and business leader writes about building the “Latino Future.” Carbajal is a frequent keynote speaker in the Silicon Valley, guiding CEOs, small business owners and individuals with insight to achieve.

Carlos Santana, legendary fusion guitarist
Santana’s legendary guitar sound and riffs are instantly recognizable, and his musical career speaks for itself. Santana arrived in the Bay Area’s music scene in the late 1960s with shows at the Fillmore, and even played Woodstock in 1969. He would go on to sell 100 million records and win 10 Grammy Awards.
He is now telling his story with a memoir coming out this fall called “The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light,” describing his story of inner self-discovery and how he forged ahead with a new genre of music while embracing divine inspiration and finding “infinite possibility in each person he meets.”
From his official biography:
The arc of Santana’s performing and recording career is complemented by a lifelong devotion to social activism and humanitarian causes. The Milagro Foundation, originally established by Carlos Santana and his family in 1998, has granted more than five million dollars to non-profit programs supporting underserved children and youth in the areas of arts, education and health. Milagro means “miracle,” and the image of children as divine miracles of light and hope—gifts to our lives—is the inspiration behind its name.

Lucho Ramirez, Executive Director of Cine+Mas SF Latino Film Festival
Ramirez’ Cine+Mas film festival celebrates the arts in the Bay Area, not just one time, but continually.
From SFLatinoFilmFestival.com:
Cine+Más San Francisco contributes to the Bay Area’s active and diverse arts scene through SFLFF, year-round programming and special events centered on Latino arts- including the visual, performance, and literary arts.
The San Francisco Latino Film Festival showcases the work of emerging and established filmmakers from the US, Latin America, Spain and Portugal. It is a celebration of the latest work coming out of the 20+ countries with which we share a bond.


ADD A NAME TO THE LIST: Nominate Other Latino/Hispanic Leaders Here