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Fresno EOC’s Chief Executive Officer, Emilia Reyes, was presented with the Ohtli Award for her work to empower and advance Mexican citizens in the United States. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Mexican Government upon an individual. The ceremony took place at the Consulate of Mexico in Fresno on Friday, November 18, 2022.

The award is called ohtli, which translates to “path” in a centuries-old Aztec language and alludes to opening paths for others. Reyes has certainly paved the way for many. As CEO of one of the largest non-profit organizations in California, Reyes leads more than 35 programs designed to lift people out of poverty. The programs help people from diverse communities in areas including education, health services, transportation, and job training. Recently, Fresno EOC partnered with the Mexican Consulate in Fresno to help protect the rights of people from Mexico who are living here and identify with the LGBTQ+ community.
While accepting the Ohtli award, Reyes spoke about the significance of the award as a first-generation Mexican American. “As a proud daughter of a Mexican immigrant, receiving the Ohtli Award from the Mexican Consulate is the most humbling honor of my life. My father who passed a few months ago, would be so gratified knowing how I have used my passion, love for others, and hard work to serve the Latinx and other communities of color. I accept this recognition on behalf of the people who have helped create my path, people like my mother, like thousands of migrant parents, who make enormous sacrifices for their children. Because of the legacy they have left, it is my greatest passion to continue this legacy and forge paths which lead to justice, meaningful opportunities, understanding, and belonging for future generations of Mexicans and Latinos.”
Reyes took on the CEO role at Fresno EOC on January 20, 2020, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is the first woman of color to hold the role of CEO in the agency’s 57-year history.

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