Making their mark
Born into a family of musicians, Phoenix native Carmela Ramirez has been a staple in the Valley music scene since the ‘70s. She has performed with headliners such as Tina Turner and B.B. King, and her musical endeavors have taken her to stages worldwide. In 1980, Carmela founded Mas Productions, an artist management and production consultation business. She continues to perform in Carmela y Mas and Carmela and the Diva Band, playing R&B, jazz, and Latin rhythms. Carmela is also a producer, arts educator and arts advocate. In 1991, she was appointed director of the Phoenix Center for the Arts. Since 2000, Carmela has volunteered her time to spearhead the city of Phoenix Latino Institute. Carmela’s work to date continues her fight for arts education to make sure all citizens of Phoenix have an opportunity to understand, experience, and live the arts.
Dora Campo Quesada and Alicia Ocampo Quesada
After a long career in nursing, Dora became a teacher at the Veda B. Frank Elementary School in Guadalupe and union representative of the American Federation of Teachers. She also served on the Mexican American Educational Advisory Committee, the Minority Elementary School Teachers Association, and became a staunch defender of the educational and political rights of the school’s Yaqui-Mexican children.
Civil service work was Alicia’s true calling. She worked for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Social Security Administration (SSA) for 30 years. Hired as a clerk stenographer, Alicia advanced to become a lead administrative secretary for the agency. In 1967, she received the SSA’s highest honor, the Commissioner’s Citation.
Dora and Alicia embarked on a more personal mission in the ensuing years: to preserve and promote the historical record of their family, and to recover
Arizona’s Mexican heritage, language and culture. In 1988, the family set up the José Franco and Francisca Ocampo Quesada Student Research Scholarship at ASU, promoting research to better understand the Hispanic culture and community.