03/16/2012 01:53 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Marcelino Quiñonez: A Face on Time Magazine's "Yo Decido" Cover

By Carli Eli

If you walked past a newsstand last week, you probably noticed Time Magazine's March 5 cover featuring the many different faces of Latinos with the words "Yo Decido: Why Latinos will pick the next president." As the presidential election gets closer, it's becoming more and more apparent that our vote this November is powerful.

One out of five Americans is Latino, which means now more than ever we need to pay attention to the issues that affect us socially, politically and economically. We caught up with a face from the Time cover, 28-year-old Phoenix, Arizona-based Marcelino Quiñonez (above, 2nd row in tie), to ask how his involvement with the community landed him on the biggest national weekly in the country

The Mexican American Arizona State University graduate assistant and arts and culture coordinator has a bachelor's in theatre with a minor in Chicano Studies. His passion for education led him to become a high school drama and English teacher at a charter school in Phoenix.

"I favor charter schools because parents and students have a stronger bond with teachers," Quiñonez said. "This creates a stronger community."

After four years of teaching, Quiñonez decided to go back to school to get a master's in theatre at Arizona State University and pursue his dream of becoming a professional actor and playwright. His upcoming play, "El Che" examines the life of Che as a human instead of an icon, and comes out in June at Phoenix's Teatro Bravo

His other passion is his involvement with the community through arts and cultural projects. As a program coordinator for the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center, he hosts a First Friday event called The Arts Revolution. Time Magazine discovered him at a "Dancing for a Dream" event in Arizona that led to him appearing on the cover and being interviewed by Fox News, NBC, Univision, Telemundo and NPR.

"I understand the background of the people on the cover," Quiñonez said. "I feel I can be the role model we need for one reason only: I was an immigrant at one time, became educated and have a positive impact to create change." 

Carli is a seasoned media and communications professional with extensive experience working with Latino social, educational and political issues. She's worked with ABC networks (radio and TV), MTV Networks, V-me Media and Telemundo in the areas of production, reporting, marketing, events and promotions, business development and community outreach.