Jose Antonio Quezada  
Jose Antonio Quezeda, 2013 Medalist
Nominated by: Carmelita Lucero and Corina Moran
Self-proclaimed cowboy and cattle rancher, Jose Antonio Quezada, is a talented artist and community activist making selfless contributions toward the advancement of the Latino community and through his art, which connects the Latino community’s sense of identity and self to his mission of encouraging community members to take ownership for the overall advancement of their lives and education.

Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Jose Antonio studied Art at the Academy of Graphic Arts and Advertising, Guillermo Prieto, after graduating from high school. He migrated to the United States in 2002 to improve his life for himself and his family. Once he settled in his new home, he began to practice his art. Following the footsteps of his artistic uncles, who are recognized in the Mexican capital, Jose Antonio has created hundreds of Mexican culture inspired paintings in an attempt to open new perspectives for others. He is proficient in sculpture, oil, and acrylics. He uses airbrush, computer, and comics to express the beauty of the world around, and he is the go-to photographer in his community. Jose Antonio serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the ‘Latino Economic and Development Center (LEAD)’ non-profit organization that is dedicated to assisting the Latino community with capacity building and economic development. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for ‘La Escalera’ – a non-profit group that provides Spanish-language G.E.D. classes.

As a self-proclaimed cowboy and cattle rancher, Jose Antonio Quezada never imagined he’d be, “a city boy transforming into the image of the western cowboy seen on television and the movies,” but Jose Antonio loves the tranquil surroundings of farm life. Although he endures long hours caring for between 1000 and 1500 animals, he continues to find time for his art and its vibrant role in the community at large. His art and community service helps young, confused immigrants know who they are, where they come from and how they, too, can create a beautiful future.

Jose Antonio is a humble and rare asset to his community, demonstrated by his willingness to dedicate his time and talents to literally paint a brighter future for immigrants and the society that is willing to take them in. All of extra time when not on the farm is spent contributing the causes that help to overcome the negative stereotype that burdens the life of Latinos and immigrants. There is a sense of urgency in Jose Antonio’s voice and actions that echo his knowledge of the challenges Latino’s face – not only in his community – but in this country. His work, his contributions, his art – resonate his belief that – in order to be considered, Latinos must put their imprint on the policies that affect them.