Hispanic Heritage Month

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Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history, culture, and contributions of American Citizens with roots from Spain, Mexico the Caribbean, Central and South America.

In September 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 through October 15, 2022. In President Johnson’s proclamation, it was made known that September 15 marked the independence from Spain for 5 countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. On September 16 and 18, Mexico and Chile celebrate their dia de independencia. In 1968, National Hispanic Heritage Month was extended to cover 30 days to include el dia de la Raza, which is celebrated on October 12.

The theme for this year is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation”.


Biographies

Sonia SotomayorColin Powell

Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a Puerto Rican-American U.S. Supreme Court Judge. Sotomayor was born in the Bronx on June 25, 1954 to Juan Sotomayor and Celina Baez, both native Puerto Ricans. She grew up in the Bronx housing projects. Inspired by the Nancy Drew books, Justice Sotomayor first wanted to become a detective.  She decided to become an attorney at the age of 10 upon watching an episode from the legal drama "Perry Mason." With this goal in mind, she studied diligently while attending Cardinal Spellman High School. Through self-enforced discipline, Sotomayor graduated valedictorian of her class in 1972.  Justice Sotomayor went on to Yale Law School becoming an attorney. On the recommendation of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the George H. W. Bush administration nominated Sotomayor to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on November 27, 1991. While sitting on the district court, she faced mostly non-controversial cases. She gained fame as the judge who "saved" Major League Baseball with her strike-ending decision in Silverman v. Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee, Inc. In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor, and was shortly confirmed becoming the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice In 2019, Justice was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, an organization that recognizes national and global impact. 


Jorge RamosJames Weldon Johnson

Jorge Ramos is a Mexican-American journalist born in Mexico City on March 16, 1958. Mr. Ramos received a degree in Communications from Ibero- American University in Mexico City. In 1983, Mr. Ramos immigrated to the United States. Mr. Ramos attended the University of Miami that conferred his master’s in journalism. He is a well-known anchorman employed by Noticiero Univision, a popular news station among the Latino community. He has interviewed influential people, American and Latin presidents, covered wars, and continues to write columns for many newspapers. Mr. Ramos is the author of several books that include I’m Just like Mommy, La Otra Cara de America, and A Country for All. He hosts Al Punto, a public affairs program. Mr. Ramos has received 8  Emmy Awards for his achievements in journalism and in 2015 was featured in Time Magazine as part of the  “The World’s Most Influential People”. 




Selena QuintanillaHazel Manning

Selena Quintanilla was a Mexican-American singer and fashion designer who was born on April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, Texas. She was known as the “Queen of Tejano Music”. Although her first language was English, Mrs. Quintanilla learned to sing, and speak Spanish fluently. Abraham Quintanilla, Selena’s father, managed the family band that began when she was just 10 years old. The band was called Selena y Los Dinos. She received a Grammy at the age of 23 for Best Mexican-American Album. 

Selena married Chris Perez on April 2, 1992; the two never had children. Sadly, on March 31, 1995, Selena was shot and killed by the president of her fan club. During her career, she released 5 albums with her last album, Dreaming of You released posthumously in 1995.




Oscar De La HoyaA.N.R. Robinson

Oscar De La Hoya, aka “The Golden Boy”, was born on February 4, 1973 in Montebello, California. He is a first generation Mexican-American and started boxing when he was 6 years old. In 1990, De la Hoya lost his mother to cancer. In 1991, he was named the Boxer of the Year by USA Boxing and in 1992, he won a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics. He became a professional boxer shortly after the Olympics. 

De la Hoya, successfully defended the junior welterweight title and his record includes winning 11 world titles in 6 weight classes. He was the greatest boxer in his weight class of his generation. In 2009, De la Hoya retired after his loss to Manny Pacquiao. Although De la Hoya is known for boxing, he is also a producer, and promoter. His films include Los Golden Boys (2015) and I Am Boxing (2017).



Ellen Laurie OchoaSir Ellis Clarke Pinterest

Ellen Laurie Ochoa is an American engineer, born on May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles, California. Her grandparents immigrated to the United States from Mexico. Ochoa is a classical flutist and most notably, an astronaut. Ochoa received her bachelor’s in physics from San Diego State University, earned her master’s degree in 1981, and her doctorate in 1985 from Stanford University. 

In January 1990, Ochoa was selected by NASA to participate in its astronaut program, and she became the first Hispanic female astronaut when she completed her training in 1991. In 1993, Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when the Discovery Space Shuttle launched. She received the Distinguished Service Medal, NASA’s highest award. On January 1, 2013, she became the first Hispanic director of the Johnson Space Center and retired from that position in 2018. She is currently the chair of the National Science Foundation.



Jamie EscalanteJaime Escalante 1

Jaime Alfonso Escalante Gutiérrez was a Bolivian-American educator known for teaching "unteachable" students calculus from 1974 to 1991 at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, a rundown school known for violence and drugs. Escalante was the subject of the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver." 

In 1982, Escalante's largest class of students took and passed an advanced placement test in Calculus. Some of the students' test scores were invalidated by the testing company because it believed that the students had cheated. Escalante protested, saying that the students had been disqualified because they were Hispanic and from a poor school. A few months later many of the students retook the test and passed, proving that they knew the material and that the company was wrong.

Escalante retired from teaching in 1998. He has received many awards for his contributions to the field of education, including the Presidential Medal for Excellence. He was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 1999. Escalante died in March 2010 after a long struggle with cancer.

Recommended Books

The Prince George's County Memorial Library Systems (PGCMLS) is also celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with book recommendations for all ages. Here's a sneak peak of some of the educational and entertaining books they're recommending. Want to see the full list? Visit the PGCMLS Hispanic Heritage Month page for books, online exhibits, events, and more. 

Adults

The Taste of Sugar
Once I was you A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America
In the Country we Love
When I was Puerto Rican A Memoir
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
The Undocumented Americans

Teens

Living Beyon Borders Growing Up Mexican in America
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The House of Broken Angels
Mexican Gothic
Clap When you Land
Sanctuary

Kids

Just Ask
Adelita
My Name is Celia The Life of Celia Cruz
The Dreamer
Turning Pages
Not so Different Book

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations

Latino Heritage Festival Family Day and Concert
September 17, 2022, 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Family fun festival with performances, cooking demonstration, and an evening featuring Latino music.
https://latino.si.edu/events/latino-heritage-festival-family-day-and-concert

Fiesta DC
September 24 – September 25, 2022
Fiesta DC is celebrating 50 years of Latino culture. This event will include a parade, children’s festivity, craft stations, giveaways and latino cuisine.
https://fiestadc.org/

Bilingual Baseball Story Time/ Hora del Cuento de Beisbol Bilingue
September 27, 2022 11a.m. – 12 p.m.
Participate in the discussion of the beisbol (baseball) exhibit.
https://latino.si.edu/events/bilingual-baseball-story-time-hora-del-cuento-de-beisbol-bilingue-3