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Tommy Valentino Ramirez
Tommy Valentino Ramirez has advocated and organized arts and culture events, and programs in Chula Vista since 2001. Tommy does not consider himself an artist, but an advocate and organizer of art and cultural opportunities. After graduating from UCSD in 2001, he soon began working at the MAAC Community Charter School (MCCS), where he is now the Director. MCCS opened in 2001 as an alternative high school serving students ages 14-24, ran by the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee (MAAC) and authorized by SUHSD. Being at MCCS since its first year in 2001, Tommy has helped create many student programs, including culturally relevant leadership development and transformative justice programs, almost always including some form of art. Tommy has been a staple in Chula Vista as an advocate for the arts and coordinator of numerous programs and events, including over 20 Cultural Leadership Camps, student Zines, many Art Projects, and 15 years of BattleGroundz. Originally Tommy organized BattleGroundz with MCCS students in response to local violence and relating to tagging and graffiti that affected many of his students. 15 years later, some of the original students still help organize Battlegrounds with Tommy. He is also on the Board of Trustees at the Centro Cultural de la Raza, an all volunteer non-profit, created in 1970 through the Chicano movement to create, preserve, promote, and educate about Chicano, Mexicano, and Indigenous art and culture. Currently Tommy is a lead in the upcoming Cultural Arts mural project, coming to Chula Vista in 2019.