The 100 Central American
Historical Biographies


In 2018, the first stories of the Central American Ancestry project launched on this site. They captured untold stories and brief backgrounds of Central Americans in history and of the diaspora in California. The stories inspired us to build a library of biographies of historical importance and make them easily accessible online to learn about the many ways Central Americans have contributed to our society throughout history—the bios may be about known or unknown leaders and individuals whose achievements are being overlooked.

In 2021, the project has evolved into the 100 Central American Historical Biographies campaign. The goal is to complete 100 biographies over two years. And now, the project has a Fiscal Sponsor (Model A) to help provide financial and administration support.


The 100 Central American Historical Biographies is now a project of Empowerment Works, a 501(c)(3) Fiscal Sponsor, tax-exempt organization based in Santa Barbara, California. More on financial information here.


  1. The candidate must be from Central America or have at least one parent from Central America.

  2. It can be someone in your family, a neighbor, a co-worker, or an ancestor that you feel has played a significant, positive role in society.

  3. It can be a less known historical figure from Central America; a writer, actor, poet, community leader, teacher, activist, sports figure.


Feel free to nominate a candidate and help us reach our goal. The nominated candidates will be reviewed and selected by an internal team.


Roxanne Quezada Chartouni

Born in El Salvador. Raised in California. Roxanne Quezada Chartouni had the privilege and foresight to capture the beginnings of Houston's Fourth Ward gentrification in 1987. Now, the collection can be found at CAAM.


Carla Portillo-Whitby

Carla Portillo-Whitby, the first Salvadoran-born actress on American Primetime Television. In the mid-to-late 80s, Carla was cast in episodes of Trapper John M. D., Hunter, and Police Story. Left acting to work behind the scenes, and today is the
Co-Founder of


Carlos Antonio Pineda

In 1923, ballet dancer Carlos Antonio Pineda immigrated from El Salvador to San Francisco in his teens. He went on to perform with the San Francisco Ballet Company between 1932 – 1939, and in Hollywood's musical films like Down Argentine Way.


Luis Dominguez

Luis Antonio Dominguez, of Mexican and Honduran descent, built model planes for fun as a child and then grew up to be a NASA engineer, making history with the launch of Perseverance to Mars in 2020. Luis had a culturally rich upbringing in South Central LA, and remains an advocate for young minds to reach for the stars. His future plans aim even higher.