TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Consulate of Mexico in Tucson is honoring former Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Elías with the Othli Award Sept. 18. The honor is the highest award granted by the Mexican government to community members in the U.S. who have contributed to the development of the Mexican community living abroad.
The award recognizes the long-time District 5 supervisor, who died March 28, for his work on migrant rights, according to Enrique Alfonso Gómez Montiel, appointed consul for the Mexican Consulate.
Elías' wife, Emily, and daughter Luz will receive the award on his behalf at a small private ceremony Friday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. It will be carried on live stream on the Consulate’s Facebook page.
The consulate had submitted the nomination to Mexico City before Elías' sudden death and only recently was told the nomination had been approved. The recognition consists of a medal, a silver rosette and a certificate signed by the director of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad.
Family and friends remember Elías as a champion of the environment, an advocate for affordable housing and someone who fought tirelessly for immigrants and low-income community members.
“Fighting for the vulnerable is what Richard Elías is all about,” said Betty Villegas, who is filling the remainder of Elías' term representing District 5. “Whether that be in his time at the Housing Center or serving on the Board of Supervisors, Richard made it his mission to make this community a better place by lifting people up. His tireless advocacy for our migrant community will be missed but will serve as a focal point for future advocacy efforts.”