This program features the eleventh annual Hispanic Heritage Awards, presented on September 22, 1997 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and hosted by actors Jimmy Smits and Rita Moreno. After the hosts' introductory comments, TV host Giselle Fernández and seven-year-old aspiring golfer Erika Rendon take the stage to present the Sports award to golf star Nancy Lopez, the first Latina and youngest woman elected to the Ladies Professional Golf Association Hall of Fame. Lopez comments on her determination to break into the "rich man's sport," thanking God and her parents for assisting her to achieve her goals. Next, singer Jon Secada performs "Believe," after which Xavier Becerra, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, presents the Leadership award to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who has served eight terms in Congress so far and also held roles as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Richardson comments on his desire for a future free from the threat of nuclear weapons, among other issues.

Actor Lauren Vélez and Charles Nieves, a student of the next honoree's John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy, then present the Education award to Amalia V. Betanzos, who works to educate so-called "impossible" students who have struggled in traditional school environments. Betanzos seeks to help her students, as well as young women on welfare, attend college and find promising careers. Next, Little Joe y La Familia performs "Save the Barrio," and Carmen Zapata receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for her long and varied career in acting as well as her efforts to bring theatre and the arts to the impoverished youth of Los Angeles through her work with the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, which she co-founded. Liz Torres sings a humorously reworded version of "Trees," based on the Joyce Kilmer poem, and TV host Barbara Alvarez presents the Literature award to Nicholasa Mohr, whose novels, including the award-winning "Nilda," reflect her own upbringing in the Bronx and her "Nuyorican" culture.

The Children's Choir of San Juan performs a song, and 1993 honoree Gloria Estefan presents the final award, in the category of Arts, to Andy García, who grew up in Florida after his family's political exile from Cuba and, in addition to his wide-ranging acting career, has also created and performed music alongside mambo co-creator Israel "Cachao" López. After García's speech, López and singer Albita close the evening with a performance of "Valga El Brillo De Tus Ojos." Includes commercials.


  • DATE: 1997 7:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:56:31
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:77940
  • GENRE: Award presentations
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Award presentations
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV, 1997
  • COMMERCIALS: TV - Commercials - Dr. Pepper soft drinks^TV - Commercials - 7-Up soft drinks^TV - Commercials - Denny's restaurants^TV - Commercials - Allstate insurance^TV - Commercials - United States Postal Service^TV - Commercials - General Motors company^TV - Commercials - IBM computers


    • Elaine DagenBela … Executive Producer
    • Diego Echeverria … Executive Producer
    • Ozzie Alfonso … Executive Producer
    • Tom Cammisa … Producer
    • Ron de Moraes … Producer, Director
    • Amanda Foust … Associate Producer
    • Mari Garcia Pimienta … Associate Producer
    • Simone Wicha … Associate Producer
    • Daryl Bornstein … Audio Producer
    • Dave Hewitt … Audio Producer
    • Philip Hack … Line Producer
    • Jimmy Smits … Host
    • Rita Morena … Host
    • Roger Pretto … Announcer
    • Jon Secada … Performer
    • Little Joe y La Familia … Performer
    • Liz Torres … Performer
    • The Children's Choir of San Juan … Performer
    • Israel "Cachao" López … Performer
    • Albita (see also: Albita Rodríguez) … Performer
    • James A. Johnson … Guest
    • Nancy Lopez … Honoree
    • Bill Richardson … Honoree
    • Amalia V. Betanzos … Honoree
    • Carmen Zapata … Honoree
    • Nicholasa Mohr … Honoree
    • Andy García … Honoree
    • Giselle Fernández … Presenter
    • Erika Rendon … Presenter
    • Xavier Becerra … Presenter
    • Charles Nieves … Presenter
    • Lauren Vélez … Presenter
    • Barbara Alvarez … Presenter
    • Gloria Estefan … Presenter
    • Joyce Kilmer