Charlotte painter Edwin Gil joins Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and NASA Astronaut José Hernández as national Latinos of the Year.
Gil was among a list of Latino politicians, journalists, engineers, chefs, and artists honored by the Spanish language wire service EFE for their success and contributions to the Latino community this year.
Gil, one of the most well known Latino artists in Charlotte, has gained national and international notoriety for his work on a 70- by 30- foot mural aimed at uniting displaced Colombians living around the world. Using the colors of the Colombian flag, more than 8,000 Colombians have put their hand prints on the mural in a sign of unity. Gil himself is a displaced Colombian. He moved to North Carolina after he was kidnapped at gun point in Medellin, Colombia and spent the night locked in the trunk of a car. That experience changed his life, led him to leave his home country, and later become a painter. At a ceremony in Boston this summer, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe met with Gil to present him with a national award.
In August, Sotomayor became the first Latina named to the Supreme Court. Astronaut Hernández is a former migrant worker who last month returned from a two-week space mission aboard shuttle Discovery to make repairs to the International Space Station. He later took a rare public stand for a U.S. astronaut when he said the country needs to give illegal immigrants a path to legalization.
Photo: DAVID T. FOSTER III - email@example.com