Illinois civic leader, Robert Renteria has been selected to receive two Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., awards for excellence in his work in anti-violence education, youth initiatives and community change. Renteria will be honored by Reverend Jesse Jackson’s coalition, PUSH Excel on January 15, 2013 at 8 a.m. at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois.

On Saturday, January 26, 2013, he is scheduled to receive his second Dr. King award from Chicago’s Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations (ICDHR). The event will take place at Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan Avenue at 7 p.m.

PUSH Excel and the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations cite community leadership and diversity as major characteristics of their respective recipients.

Robert Renteria is said to be the first Latino to be the recipient of two prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., awards at the national level for many selfless accomplishments.

He has been instrumental in expanding youth and anti-violence initiatives while contributing to the work of many other proponents. He is also being recognized for his effectiveness to transcend culture by reaching youth from different backgrounds and countries.

The civic leader is also the author of the “2012 Best Graphic Novel”, Mi Barrio. His inspirational and hard-hitting comic book addresses youth issues in Latin America, Spain and the United States.

“Robert Renteria has been noticed and as a staunch believer in education,” stated Michero B. Washington, President of the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations. “He is joining a list of illustrious leaders throughout the country, and based upon your work in education and community change, we will be honoring him with the Martin Luther King, Jr., Excellence in Educational Leadership and Reform. Dr. King would be proud.”

Renteria addresses youth issues through his Barrio Foundation and uses Barrio book series and school-based and faith-based curricula to inspire, motivate and teach teens and at-risk youth how to make better choices. He says the Barrio movement will help to change the landscape by offering The Barrio Project’s effective teaching tools.
His books and comprehensive non-generic bilingual programs have impacted hundreds of thousands of youth across America and in 14 other countries.

“We’re honoring Robert Renteria at this historic occasion because of the outstanding civil and human rights work he has done in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

-PUSH Excel Organization

“I am truly humbled. It is a great honor to receive two awards from two prestigious organizations. Our kids are victims to broken systems,” stated Renteria. “The Barrio Movement is helping to change the landscape for youth across America by offering Barrio as teaching tools. A large part of our mission is social emotional learning.

“I am throwing down the gauntlet and am calling on community leaders, politicians and corporations to help the Barrio Foundation exchange From the Barrio to the Classroom and the Barrio books for all the guns, knives, drugs, needles, booze and even the cigarettes,” he concluded.

For additional information about Robert Renteria or The Barrio Project, visit, email robert@fromthebarrio(dot)com or call 312-933-5619.