2013 Óscar Romero Award for Human Rights

The 2013 Óscar Romero Award will be given to Ms. Blanca Velázquez Díaz, a champion of worker rights and dignity in Mexico.  The twelfth such award given by the Rothko Chapel since 1986, this award honors unsung heroes who work under extraordinary circumstances to advance human rights.  The award is named after Archbishop Óscar Romero of San Salvador, who was murdered on March 24, 1980 because of his opposition to violence and his courageous defense of the poor in his country.

Ms. Velázquez Díaz is the Director of the Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador (Center for Worker Support – CAT), which was founded in 2001 by Ms. Velázquez Díaz and a few other young, female labor rights activists to promote the rights of workers in Mexico’s garment and auto-parts industries in the state of Puebla.  Formerly a maquila worker herself, Ms. Velázquez Díaz’s work to support the rights of this primarily female workforce puts her up against powerful, often corrupt and violent actors. The CAT office has been vandalized numerous times and Ms. Velázquez Díaz has received death threats over the years, including very recent threats that followed the kidnapping and torture of a CAT member.

In order to highlight and contextualize Ms. Velázquez Díaz’s significant work, the Rothko Chapel will present several programs preceding the presentation of the Award.

Upcoming Programs

Mexico Today: A Portrait of Contemporary Mexican Society

Katharine Donato, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, Vanderbilt University
Tuesday, March 19, 7pm
Suggested donation $10
To RSVP, please click HERE.

Slow Justice is No Justice: The Mexican Case

Jose Calderoni, Economist and International Consultant
Thursday, March 21, 7pm
Suggested donation $10
To RSVP, please click HERE.


Monseñor: The Last Journey of Óscar Romero
Film Screening on the Plaza

Sunday, March 24, 7:30pm
Suggested donation $10

Economic Justice: Labor Rights as Human Rights

Joie Chowdhury, Co-Director of Human Right to Work with Dignity Program, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
Tuesday, March 26, 7pm
Suggested donation $10
To RSVP, please click HERE.


Óscar Romero Award Ceremony Honoring Blanca Velázquez Díaz

Benediction: Rev. Hannah Atkins, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church




Keynote Address: Baldemar Velásquez, Co-Founder and President, Farm Labor Organizing Committee


Award Presentation: Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder, United Farm Workers



Sunday, April 7, 3pm
Bilingual program with simultaneous interpretation
Suggested donation $10
Registration is currently closed. Please come at 2:30pm to get on the waitlist for seating in the Chapel. Audio and seating will also be provided on the plaza.


The Rothko Chapel would like to thank the following Óscar Romero Award Honorary Committee Members:

Sissy Farenthold, Chair
Wafa Abdin
Dave and Peggy Atwood
Laura Boston
Elsa Caballero
Erika de la Garza-Chaoul

Elizabeth Chiao
Gayle and Mike DeGeurin
Mimi Detering
Pat Dougherty
Helen Fosdick
Stephen Fox
Ann Friedman
Lisa Fuentes
Ginny Goldman
John and Patsy Howard
Maria Jimenez
Claudia Kolker
Pancho Arguelles and Christine Kovic
Willy Kuehn
Isabel Longoria
Rafael Longoria
Mary Welch and Ernesto Maldonado
Laura and Joseph Marcinkowski
Muriel Pollia Foundation
Juan Parras

Marta Ramirez
Sr. Ceil Roeger
David Ruiz
Gracie Saenz
Sehba Sarwar 
Janis Scott
Richard Shaw
Dinesh Singhal
Michael Tracy
Mark and Katherine Yzaguirre

Underwriting the 2013 Óscar Romero Award

To become an underwriter, please click HERE.  Levels and benefits are as follows:

$250 Human Rights Advocate

Includes two VIP seats at the 2013 Óscar Romero Award Ceremony and Program and name recognition in print programs and the annual Member Newsletter.

$500 Human Rights Hero

Includes Advocate benefits PLUS an invitation for two to a private reception.

$1000 Human Rights Champion

Includes Hero benefits PLUS an invitation for two to a private lunch with the keynote speaker and Award recipient.