North Aurora businessman and youth advocate Robert Renteria is being honored with two Martin Luther King Jr. awards by a pair of Chicago organizations. | File Photo
Updated: February 9, 2013 6:06AM
North Aurora businessman, author, advocate and civic leader Robert Renteria will become the first Hispanic to receive two Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. awards this month for his work in anti-violence education, youth initiatives and community change.
The author of “From the Barrio to the Boardroom,” Renteria will be honored by Rev. Jesse Jackson’s coalition, PUSH Excel, on Jan. 15, and again on Jan. 26 by the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations (ICDHR).
Through his Barrio Foundation, Renteria uses his book series and school- and faith-based programs to inspire, motivate and teach teens and at-risk youth how to make better choices.
“We’re honoring Robert Renteria ... because of the outstanding civil and human rights work he has done in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” the PUSH Excel Organization said in a release.
According to PUSH Excel and the ICDHR, Renteria has been instrumental in expanding youth and anti-violence initiatives, and is being recognized for his ability to reach youth from different backgrounds and countries.
Michero B. Washington, president of ICDHR, said Renteria “is joining a list of illustrious leaders throughout the country, and based upon (his) work in education and community change, we will be honoring him… Dr. King would be proud.”
Renteria said he was humbled by the honors.
“I am throwing down the gauntlet and am calling on community leaders, politicians and corporations to help the Barrio Foundation exchange ... books for guns, knives, drugs, needles, booze and cigarettes.”
PUSH Excel will honor Renteria at 8 a.m. Jan. 15 at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago. The Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations program will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan Ave.
For information on Renteria and The Barrio Project, visit http://www.fromthebarrio.com.