Hispanic Hero Awards: Elia Chinó—In Her Own Words

Photo: Al Torres Photography, courtesy of Comcast

In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, which occurs each year from September 15 through October 15, Comcast is honoring 8 Hispanic community volunteers who have demonstrated their commitment to Houston, its community organizations, and more. We’ve partnered with Comcast to highlight all 8 honorees and share a little bit about them, living in Houston, and giving back, all in their own words.

Now in its sixth year, Comcast’s Hispanic Hero Awards recognizes individuals who have served as forces for change in the community and also helps to celebrate Houston’s renowned diversity.

“We are inspired by the accomplishments and passion of each of these honorees and honored to be able to shine a light on all they do to make a difference to so many,” said Ralph Martinez, senior vice president for Comcast’s Houston region.

Today, we’re pleased to partner with Comcast to spotlight Elia Chinó.

Nominated by Fundacion Latinoamericana De Accion Social (FLAS), Elia Chinó is a health and wellness advocate who works tirelessly to educate people about preventable diseases, behavioral health, and mental illness.

After losing many close friends to HIV/AIDS, Chinó decided to take action and founded FLAS to help end the devastation wrought by this disease in the Latino community was the founding of the Fundación Latinoamericana de Acción Social, Inc. (FLAS).

A former City of Houston Community Planning Group member and chair for the Latino HIV Task Force, she has repeatedly been recognized for her work to create a healthier environment Houston’s Latino community. In 2006 she was a guest speaker on Sabado Gigante, an international TV program on Univision, and was named Anonymous Hero by host Don Francisco. Other accolades include Certificate of Honor (2006) by Houston Health and Human Services; Telemundo’s Heroes Hispanos (2009); OutSmart magazine‘s Top LGBTQ Latino Leader (2016); Premio Revolución Award (2016); and the Jefferson Foundation Award (2016) for her outstanding public service. In 2018 she was nominated by the General Mexican Consulate and received Community Leader Award for International Women Day.

Most recently, Chinó was named Transgender-Gender-Nonconforming and Nonbinary Advocate (2019) by Poz Magazine and Premio Ohthli (2021) by the federal government of Mexico.

She remains active as a consultant and presenter regarding HIV/STD and Viral Hepatitis Prevention.

Learn more about Chinó’s career, community engagement, and commitment to Houston’s LGBT+ population on Comcast’s local Houston website and in the video below.

In Her Own Words: Elia Chino

We also asked Chino to share some additional thoughts on her community involvement and life in Houston.

On her favorite way to give back in Houston…

“[I love to give] my time by providing my expertise to individuals and grassroots organizations. I like to get involved with different committees to raise the LGBTQ voice in different sectors such as local and federal government. Also, I like to raise funds, for people who are in need of emergency assistance or funeral costs, at night clubs.”

On the habit that has contributed most to her success…

“I’m hungry for justice for others. It hurts me to see so many injustices towards the marginalized community. I’m very hard-headed and humble beginnings made me the way I am. I want to give strength and motivate my community. My faith in God and to prayer at all times. Also, being humble, honest and accepting anyone.”

On her personal inspiration

“My father worked in agriculture. He would cut hair in the local town, he would build furniture and caskets, he would lead the bible study group, he was a seamstress, he build the first road, he brought the running water and electricity. He was the only person in the village to provide shots and always fought the local government so all the people who worked their lands had more benefits. My father worked from sunrise to sunset every single day of his life. He always helped regardless of an exchange of anything. He never had any wrong doings and always forgave anyone who did harm to him. My father did so much for our village in Mexico and he inspired me to do the same. Also, God and my love to help others inspire me to continue to work every day.”

Advice to young and young-at-heart Houstonians who want to get involved in their communities…

“Share their stories like mine to inspire and encourage others to get involved and can give back to their communities. Understand to concept of ‘If you don’t give, how can you receive?'”

Finally, on her favorite Houston restaurant…

“My favorite restaurant is Xochi Restaurant in Downtown. I love it because the food is so genuine, fresh, and authentic; cooked with ingredients from Mexico. My favorite dishes are the chicken mole, tlayudas, and the quesadillas. My favorite dessert is the Piedras de Oro and churros. It’s so delicious!”

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