On December 17, 2021, Diego received the Roscoe R. Nix Leadership Award, the County’s equivalent of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which honors individuals who over the course of their distinguished lives of community service have made extraordinary contributions to the quality of our community at the very highest levels of excellence. Diego co-founded Identity in 1998 and has served as its Executive Director and inspired leader since 2011. Over 23 years, Identity has supported the successful growth and development of tens of thousands of Latino and other underserved youth and families. Like an extended family, Identity teaches and models for young people, ages 7-25, the social-emotional, academic and workforce skills they need to thrive in the modern world – celebrates their victories and offers help when something extra is needed.
“It is honestly a privilege to work together with so many people and agencies to create a more just and equitable Montgomery County that nurtures all youth. Today’s youth are the promise of Montgomery County’s future, and I am honored to accept this award on their behalf,” Diego said.
It is especially meaningful that Byron Johns, Education Chair for the Montgomery County NAACP received this honor today as well. Together, Diego and Byron together co-founded and lead the Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence, bringing together the voice and strength of often marginalized communities to demand and accelerate equitable access to the resources, opportunities and supports they need to be successful in college, career, and life.
This prestigious award, presented by County Executive Marc Elrich, was originally established to honor community icon Roscoe Nix who gave a half century of service to Montgomery County. Mr. Nix served as President of the Montgomery County Branch of the NAACP, member of the Montgomery County Board of Education, and in many other ways.