Returning Thursday with its second online event, PechaKucha features in its latest installment a trio of speakers closely connected to the headline events of the day: the coronavirus pandemic and the November general election.
Two speakers, San Antonio Food Bank President and CEO Eric Cooper and epidemiologist Cherise Rohr-Allegrini, have been on the front lines of the pandemic. Cooper has been witness to an unprecedented demand for food from families and individuals feeling the economic impact of the coronavirus, while Rohr-Allegrini has helped advise local officials on the reopening of everything from businesses to schools. Another speaker, Celina Montoya, is a Democratic candidate for the Texas House of Representatives trying to unseat first-term incumbent Steve Allison.
The quarterly event that normally takes place at various venues around San Antonio presented its first online edition in June and is sticking with that format.
Each speaker presents 20 slide images displayed for just 20 seconds, allowing the speaker a total time of six minutes and 40 seconds to tell their story. The PechaKucha platform originated in Japan in 2003 and has spread to more than 1,200 cities globally.
Here are PechaKucha’s Vol. 39 presenters (biographies provided by PechaKucha):
Eric Cooper, president/CEO
Eric Cooper works to bend the cost curve of nourishing the hungry while rescuing surplus food from going to waste. He brings people around the table as an advocate for social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. He has been leading a response to the COVID-19 crisis by serving on the front lines and believing in the power of service to not only help those in need, but to heal those who serve. He is a man of faith and family. He and his wife of 29 years, Erinn, have five children: Madison, Morgan, Gabriel, Elijah, and Meredith.
Tatu and Emilie Herrera, entrepreneurs
Tatu and Emilie Herrera are the owners and operators of Folklores Coffee House and Folklores Grass Roots. Tatu has been a professional chef for the last 15 years, during which he has won numerous competitions, including Hyatt’s Good Taste Series. He is a chef ambassador for Chefs Roll, a worldwide culinary organization, has a cooking show on KSAT12, and has also done a commercial for Cholula Hot Sauce.
Emilie was born and raised on the South Side of San Antonio. Graduating from University of Texas at Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in human resources, she has worked in that field for the last 16 years. When COVID-19 hit San Antonio, she started to feed the senior citizens in her community, and as of August, she has given out more than 30,000 bags of food to those in need. She is a board member of Con Corazon, a local nonprofit organization.
Angelica Holmes, executive director/camp founder
Angelica Holmes is a native of Arkansas, where she graduated from both Little Rock Central High School and Lyon College. She moved to San Antonio to join Teach for America, where she taught middle and high school English for three years before switching gears to co-found Black Outside Inc. She helped resurrect Black Outside’s summer camp for Black girls, Camp Founder Girls, where she is the camp director as well as executive director of Black Outside.
Celina Montoya, community leader
Celina Montoya grew up with six siblings and a superhero for a mom. With a family as supportive as hers, it’s easy to believe it when your mom says “you can be whatever you want.” Montoya is a journalist, an advocate, nonprofit starter, small-business owner, fireworks expert, mom, and her current role: candidate for the Texas House of Representatives. Montoya is known for her tireless effort and never saying “no” to a cup of coffee.
Cherise Rohr-Allegrini, epidemiologist
Cherise Rohr-Allegrini is an epidemiologist and CEO of the San Antonio AIDS Foundation. She was the pandemic flu coordinator with the San Antonio Metro Health District and communicable disease manager for the Department of State Health Services’ Region 8, leading the response to the H1N1 pandemic. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in epidemiology from Yale University, and doctorate in tropical diseases from the University of Notre Dame and is a graduate of the Latina Leadership Institute.
Marc Anthony Smith, musician/philosopher
Marc Anthony Smith was born on the full moon of August 1982. His early childhood included out-of-body experiences, banging on pots and pans, Dad’s Motown albums, and a children’s record containing a version of the Doors’ Light My Fire. After studying architecture, music, and philosophy, he returned to San Antonio to play rock ‘n’ roll. Writing and performing music over the past 20 years, Smith has developed a firm belief in the transportive abilities of sound and storytelling.