This month is Hispanic Heritage Month and WMSC is honoring the rich heritage of the Latino community and celebrating its countless achievements by highlighting a few leaders who have made an impact. Use #SomosWMSC to stay connected!
Lleana Ros- Lehtinen is the first Hispanic woman ever to be elected to Congress. She is a congressional representative for Florida. Lieana was born in Havana, Cuba in 1952 and came to Miami, Florida when she was eight years old. She began her career as a teacher and was inspired by her first job to change the education system. She stands for a stronger educational system, low taxes and a brighter future for the students and parents in her district. Lieana believes that getting an education is a lifelong journey.
Ellen Ochoa was NASA’s first Hispanic woman astronaut in 1991. In 1993, Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to go to space. She served on the nine day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Ochoa is currently the director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas. She is the first Hispanic Woman to hold this position.
Maria Hinojosa is a latina Journalist born in Mexico City in 1961. She is an NPR correspondent and got her start in broadcasting as the producer and host of a Latino radio show at New York’s Barnard College. An award-winning journalist, Hinojosa began her career with NPR in 1985 but has worked also for other radio and television stations, including CNN which she joined in 1997. She is known especially for her reports about Latin America. She is managing editor and host of the radio show “Latino USA.”
Cesar Chavez is one of the most well-known Mexican-American civil rights activist in history. Chavez was supported by the American labor movement and used a nonviolent, unionized approach in an effort to bring awareness to the struggle of the Hispanic farm workers across the nation, particularly in California and Florida. Chavez improved the lives of countless Latinos and Hispanics. He coined the phrase, “Si, se puede.” Cesar Chavez Day is a holiday in California, Colorado and Texas and takes place every year on his birthday, March 31st.
Antony Romero is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He is the first Hispanic and openly gay man to hold the position. Romero’s parents moved from Puerto Rico to the Bronx, where Romero was raised. Even though Puerto Ricans are U.S. Citizens, Romero’s parents felt the prejudices that illegal immigrants often face. At an ACLU press release he said quote “My memories of discrimination, homophobia, and poverty stand in sharp contrast to the dignity and love I got from my family,” unquote. These experiences are what inspired Romero’s commitment to civil rights, civil liberties, and social justice<.