Photo: Valerie Sigamani on Unsplash
I am very proud to be Latina. My mother is from Puerto Rico and my father is from El Salvador. The pride I have for my cultures and heritage has always flowed through my veins. I aspire to be like so many of these Latinx figures for a variety of reasons. Thus, I decided to make a list of those who have inspired me and who I continue to learn from. Here is part one of my Latinx Alphabet!
Cesar Chavez was a Mexican civil rights activist who fought for farmers and labor rights. Alongside Dolores Huerta, he founded the National Farm Workers Association, now known as the United Farm Workers of America, with the goal being to unionize farm workers. In 1994, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Frida Kahlo was a talented Mexican artist whose art was inspired by various aspects in her life. She faced numerous illnesses and injuries throughout her lifetime, but that didn’t stop her from painting. She was involved in political issues, activism, and self-expression.
Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic to be on the Supreme Court of the United States. She is Puerto Rican and graduated from Princeton University and Yale Law School. She was appointed to be the U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York City in 1992, and in 1998, she became the judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She is committed to fighting for justice in the United States.
Ellen Ochoa is a Mexican astronaut and was the first Hispanic woman to go to space. She showed perseverance when her professor told her that engineering and physics were not for women. She also applied to be an astronaut three times even after rejections. She never gave up, and because of that, she made history!
Amara La Negra is a proud Afro-Latina of Dominican descent. She has been performing her whole life and is a cast member of Love and Hip Hop Miami. She uses her platform to defy stereotypes and brings attention to issues of colorism in the Latinx community.
Sylvia Mendez is an activist of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. She and her family fought for the integration of schools in California in the 1947 Mendez v. Westminster case and won. She continued to fight for equality and fight against racism. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2011.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actor, playwright and creator of Puerto Rican descent. He was the brains behind the musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. He has contributed to numerous other works. He has won three Tony Awards, three Grammys and an Emmy. He uses his platform to raise awareness on numerous issues including Hurricane Maria.
Dolores Huerta is a Mexican activist who fought with Cesar Chavez in the Farm Workers’ Movement. Although Chavez is often seen as the face of the movement, Huerta was leading the fight as well. Together, they created the National Farm Workers Association and led the fight. She came up with the slogan “Sí, Se Puede” (Yes, You Can) for the United Farm Workers of America.
Leslie Valdivia, who is Mexican, and Joanna Rosario, who is Mexican and Puerto Rican, are the cofounders of the beauty brand Vive Cosmetics. They didn’t see the Latinx community being represented in other beauty brands, so Valdivia and Rosario took matters into their own hands. This brand is created for the Latinx community by the Latinx community.
Gabriel Iglesias, also known as “Fluffy,” is a Mexican comedian whose audience continues to grow. He’s been doing comedy for decades. His routines focuses on his family, career, and his Mexican roots. He has numerous comedy specials under his belt, toured the world, and his new Netflix series, Mr. Iglesias, premieres June 21.
John Leguizamo is a Colombian actor. Most recently, he has taken on the role of educator in his one-man show Latin History for Morons which is now available on Netflix. In this one-man show, Leguizamo analyzes what books have gotten wrong about Latinx history.
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was a Mexican singer whose lasting legacy continues to have influence on us today. She was not just a singer but a spokesperson, model, fashion designer, and more. Her music had a tremendous impact and united people. Netflix is currently developing a series based on Selena’s rise to fame. “Anything for Selenas!”
Mamá Coco is the matriarch of the Coco family. This Mexican Abuelita unites her family and keeps tradition alive. Although she was losing her memory, she continued to exude love and care. We all can relate to having that strong woman in our family who is full of wisdom and makes us proud.
Stay tuned, because next week is part two. In the meantime, comment who your Latinx inspirations are!
Gabriela Romero Gonzalez currently attends Tufts University and is double majoring in Child Development and Education, and is also minoring in Film and Medias studies. She enjoys watching tv and film whenever she can. She aspires to help create content that has a focus on giving marginalized voices a platform, creating authentic stories, and empowering youth.