Entries by admin

Happy Mother’s Day

If you’re Panamanian, today’s the day to call the wonderful women in your life and wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day is celebrated in Panama on December 8 of each year.  The day commemorates the Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ; the holy day was inaugurated […]

2018 VOTE TODAY!

VOTE TODAY! Election 2018 is Tuesday, November 6, 2018!  In this very important national election, the entire US House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 US Senators will be elected.  In State elections, which determine local policies for education, immigration, and public spending, Elections will be held for the governorships of 36 US states.  According to the Pew […]

Dia de los Muertos / DOTD + DIY

Today, we’re blending the practical North American tradition of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) with the spiritual South American tradition of DOTD (Day of the Dead).  During the DOTD, or Dia de los Muertos, Americans honor friends and family members who have passed from this world by building “ofrendas” or altars.  According to the city of San Antonio’s […]

Temple of the Sun 2360 BC

The Mayan Calendar is a series of complex mathematical cycles of stunning precision and breathtaking cosmology.  This hieroglyph fragment was on a panel that flanked the main stairs of the Temple of the Sun in Palenque, Mexico, records a birth in mythical time that corresponds to the completion of the 13th k’atun in historical time, […]

Mayan Fire Ritual 790

In the beautiful tropical forests of Belize, Mayan scribes wrote of a fire ritual, which they described in 24 pictographs of their complex language.  The writers were of the late classical period, and the date referenced is 11 Ajaw 18 Mak, which corresponds to October 7, 790 in the Western Calendar.  This date occurred during […]

The Feast of Italian Saint Francis of Assisi

The Feast of Italian Saint Francis of Assisi is celebrated throughout Latin America. The Italian saint is a particular favorite in Mexico and Puerto Rico, where he is said to assist with harvest rituals.  While the true biography of Saint Francis of Assisi is shrouded in legend, the essential story is that he was the son […]

Radiant Snake Jaguar, Birth of A Mayan King in 524

Within the beautifully carved walls of a Mayan royal residence, the future ruler, Radiant Snake Jaguar, was born in Palenque, Mexico, on September 18, 524 in the Western Calendar.  Palenque was a Maya city state in southern Mexico, with ruins that date from 226 BC to its fall in about 1123 AD. Chan Bahlam, as he was […]

The Start of the Most Recent Cycle of the Mayan Calendar

August 11, 3117 BCE.  Yes, you read this date correctly, 3117 BCE, Before Christian Era.  That’s over 5129 years ago. This date is the beginning of the most recent cycle of the Mayan Calendar, which completed on December 21, 2012.  As noted, the world did not end, so hopefully, you did not tell off your irritating […]

World Story Telling Day

March 20 is World Story Telling Day, celebrating the ancient human tradition of oral story telling.  This tradition has lived for centuries in Mexico and South American countries, known as the National Day of Story Tellers.  (Image by Shalako Indian Art Store)

El Día del Amor y la Amistad

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day is celebrated throughout the Americas, and is known as Día del Amor y la Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship) in Central and South America.  Gentlemen and caballeros, if you have not gotten a gift or remembrance for your loved one or amante, this is a friendly reminder.  For further […]

Our Lady of Altagracia

Feast Day of the Patron Virgin of the Dominican Republic, known as Our Lady of Altagracia or Our Lady of High Grace.  This is a portrait of the Virgin Mary painted on a cloth 13 inches wide and 18 inches long, during the early 1500’s in Spain.  Two Spanish brothers brought the portrait to Santo […]

El Dia de los Reyes Magos

El Dia de los Reyes Magos is celebrated in many countries throughout the Americas.  Puerto Ricans celebrate with a caroling block party called alsaltos navideños or parrandas.  While the caroling starts at the beginning of Advent and lasts throughout the season, January 6 is particularly celebrated with song.  Carolers go house to house, enjoying holiday […]

Eve of el Dia de los Reyes Magos

Children in Puerto Rico begin to prepare for the celebration of el Dia de los Reyes Magos (The Three Kings or Epiphany).  Since the kings are riding horses and camels (not reindeer), the children gather grass to feed the kings’ animals.  The children put the grass in shoe boxes under their beds on the evening […]

¡Feliz año nuevo! / New Year’s Day

Welcome to the Hispanic / Latino Almanac, where we celebrate Latinas and Latinos every day of the year!  During the year, you’ll discover the Latino culture and people that have been part of the United States of America for centuries and on the continents of the Americas for thousands of years.  We appreciate your interest, […]

Feliz Año Nuevo / Happy New Year

New Year’s Eve is celebrated throughout the Americas, with parties, fireworks, traditional food and family dinners.  In Spain, Spaniards gather in the central plaza at Puerta del Sol, and eat one grape for each chime of the clock at midnight (this is actually a little more difficult than it sounds, particularly if your grapes are […]

Feast of the Holy Innocents

The Feast of the Holy Innocents is celebrated in Mexico each year on December 28 in Mexico.  The holiday is based on traditions from the Canary Islands, near the coast of Spain.  The day is devoted to fun — children play at being adults, and pranks (as in April Fool’s Day in North America) are […]

Celebrating Christmas Day with Undocumented Mexicans

After all of the late night celebrations, partying and dancing for Nochebuena (Christmas Eve), Christmas Day in South and Central America is a quieter celebration with family and friends.  In North America, traditions and celebrations intertwine.  In the words of Cuban American author, Gustavo Perez Firmat, “The older Cubans, mostly men like my father and […]

Celebrating Nochebuena

Nochebuena, as Christmas Eve is also known in the Americas, is joyously celebrated with family, a religious service, and a traditional dinner menu.  The traditions are varied among cultures and celebrations are often elaborate.  In Puerto Rico, the Nochebuena meal can include roast pork, pigeon peas, sausages, and a variety of side dishes.  Parrandas, essentially […]

Havana International Jazz Festival

With the irresistible beat of Latin Jazz, the Havana International Jazz Festival opens in Cuba on December 15, 2013.  Chucho Valdés and the Cuban Institute of Music warmly invite you to visit Havana for the music and fun.  (Please see October 9, 1941 for more on Chucho.) The Festival performs from December 15 through 23, 2013, […]

Feast Day of the Virgen de las Mercedes

Today is the Feast day of the Virgen de las Mercedes (Virgin of Mercy) and the day to honor the Santeria god Obatalá.  The Virgin is honored throughout South and Central America and in Spain and Portugal.  Obatalá is honored in Cuba and Brazil, and is also considered as part of the Yoruba religion. For […]

Start of Hispanic / Latinx Heritage Month

September 15 is the official start of our nation’s annual celebration of Hispanic / Latinx Heritage Month, which continues through October 15.  Latinx Heritage Week was initially approved by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, and in 1988 President Ronald Reagan extended the week to a month of celebration.  September 15 was selected since five Latin American countries celebrate their independence […]

Feast of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre

September 8 is the annual Feast of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre (Virgin of the Charity of Copper). The Virgin is nicknamed “Cachita”  and she is highly revered in Cuba.  During colonial times, the Virgin is believed to have intervened on behalf of native Cubans, saving them during a violent storm as they fled […]

28th Annual International Hispanic Theatre Festival

The curtains open on July 11, 2013, as stages throughout the Americas are illuminated by the 28th annual International Hispanic Theatre Festival (IHTF) of Miami.  IHTF is presented by Teatro Avante, and offers renowned theater companies in performances in Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Buenos Aires (Argentina), Mexico City (Mexico), Quito (Ecuador), and Pais Vasco […]

May Day 2013

May 1 is celebrated as May Day, International Workers Day, and Día del Trabajo in many countries around the world.  It is an official holiday in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela – among other South and Central American countries.  On May 1, 2006, Latino, Catholic, and immigrant rights groups organized the […]

Not the End of the World

Obviously, the world did not end on December 21, 2012.  Instead, another complex mathematical cycle of thousands of years passed in the Mayan Calendar.   The day was celebrated in the Mayan world, and in the night skies over places such as Antigua, Guatemala, glowing kites majestically soared in the dark air.  The rich heritage of […]

A Day the Music died

December 9, 2012 was the day the music died for millions of Latino fans of Dolores Janney Rivera, when the young, beloved entertainer was killed in a fiery airplane crash.  Known as Jenni Rivera, the Mexican American singer, songwriter, television producer and entrepreneur was born in Long Beach, California in 1969.  Rivera became pregnant at […]

National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week

The US Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) celebrated the 2012 National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week award winners on December 6, 2012.  The annual awards recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals and entities that made a major impact on the growth of minority business enterprises.  Among the recipients was Congressman Silvestre Reyes, a […]

El Show con Tony Benitez

To applause and laughter, “El Show con Tony Benitez” premiered on GENTV in Miami on December 3, 2012.   The premier included Tito Puente, Jr., son of the legendary mambo musician, and a special performance by the cast of the Broadway Musical STOMP.  A director and co-creator of the show summarized its comedic mission as, “Our […]

“Lanzate/Take Off” Education Travel Award

Southwest Airlines and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities announced the names of the students who earned the annual “Lanzate/Take Off” Education Travel Award on October 22, 2012.  More than 400 students from around the country completed online entries and essays for the competition, detailing how the travel award would help them achieve their […]

Festival Internacional Cervantino

To thunderous applause, the Festival Internacional Cervantino began its annual program of theater, music and culture in the beautiful city of Guanajuato, Mexico.   The Festival started in the mid-20th century, when short plays by Miguel de Cervantes called “entreméses” were performed in the city’s plazas.  (Cervantes is the famous Spanish writer whose most well-known book […]

Opening of Cesar E. Chavez National Monument

As 7000 people applauded, President Barack Obama dedicated the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument on October 8, 2012.  This is the first national monument to honor a contemporary Mexican American.  The Monument is located on a 187-acre site, known as Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), which was a center of […]

Javier Miyares, President of UMUC

The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) announced that Javier Miyares was appointed as President of UMUC on October 1, 2012.   Miyares was born in Cuba, and escaped to the US as a teen-ager.  Miyares joined UMUC in 2001 as vice president for institutional effectiveness. Previously, he served the USM office as assistant vice chancellor […]

‘Not Lost in Translation’

The exhibition “Not Lost in Translation: The Life of Clotilde Arias” premiered at the US Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  Arias was a Peruvian immigrant who arrived in New York in 1923 during the Great Depression, at the age of 22.  Arias became an accomplished composer, musician, journalist, activist and educator.  Her musical composition, […]

American Civil Liberties Union defends Latinx in North Carolina

On September 18, 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) announced a new campaign to combat racial profiling during police traffic stops in North Carolina. The ACLU spent years investigating reports of racial profiling and racially biased policing in traffic stops across the state. A recent report from a University of […]

19th Anniversary of the “Tent City”

On August 3, 2012, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio celebrated the 19th anniversary of the “Tent City”, a camp that he established in Maricopa County to imprison undocumented people and criminals.  The tents are unheated in winter and uncooled in summer—inside temperatures have been recorded as high as 145 degrees.  To humiliate these human beings seeking a […]

Navy’s Facebook Honoring Commander Debra Yniguez

The US Navy continued its program to honor diversity among our troops.  The Navy’s Facebook page for week of July 30, 2012 featured Commander Debra Yniguez, who began her career as a Student Naval Aerospace Physiologist in 1995. Yniguez is a Latina in a traditionally male field, and is now posted as Deputy Diversity Officer […]

Valentina Guerrero’s Supermodel Debute

With a flutter of her eyelashes and a giggle, supermodel Valentina Guerrero made her catwalk debut in Miami, Florida.  The then 10-month-old swimwear model, who has Downs syndrome, was selected as the representative model for DC Kids, a charming collection of children’s clothing. Please visit Valentina on her Facebook Page, and say Hello.

The Launch of the “Beyond the Call” Campaign

The US Navy honored the diversity of its forces with the launch of its “Beyond the Call” diversity campaign on July 18, 2012.  The campaign highlights servicemen and servicewomen who have extended themselves beyond the call of duty professionally and personally, and are making a positive impact in the communities where they serve. These Navy […]

Endorsement of “Familia es Familia”

Family is family and familia es familia – sometimes we all need to be reminded of this principle of the human heart.  On July 8, 2012, twenty-one of the US’ leading Hispanic organizations announced their endorsement of an unprecedented education campaign, “Familia es familia”.  The campaign’s mission is to build support within the Latino community […]

“Give Me a Break” Latin Talent Competition

Dancers and singers, June 18, 2012 was the final day to submit your audition to Tr3s: MTV, Musica y Mas, for the “Dame Un Break” (“Give Me a Break”) talent competition. Sponsored by Wendy’s Restaurants (no, she’s not Latina, just generous), aspiring Latino artists battle for a chance at stardom.  The winner worked with Tr3s […]

Miss USA 2012

On June 3, 2012, three beautiful, talented Latinas dazzled the USA as they competed for Miss USA 2012:  Miss Mississippi Myverick Garcia, Miss Colorado Marybel Gonzalez, and Miss New York Johanna Sambucini.  Garcia was a senior at the University of Southern Mississippi and earned a degree in biological sciences. She is the first member of […]

Pachanga Latino Music Festival

On May 11, 2012, the fourth annual Pachanga Latino Music Festival opened in Austin, Texas.  The Festival featured international, national and local artists such as Los Lonely Boys, Chico Trujillos, Ana Tijoux, Alejandro Escovedo, Forro in the Dark, Ruben Ramos and The Mexican Revolution, La Santa Cecilia, and Girl In A Coma.  Niños Rock Pachanga […]

Challenging Arizona’s SB1070

On April 25, 2012, the US Supreme Court heard the case brought by the US Department of Justice against the State of Arizona’s SB1070 anti-immigrant law.  The controversial law has been heatedly debated throughout the nation.  The following is the opening statement, as prepared for delivery, by US Congressional Representative Luis V. Gutierrez: “The Obama […]

Hispanicize 2012

Hispanicize 2012 opened on April 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  Their web site describes the event as:  “Hispanicize 2012 brings brands, media, marketers, celebrities, filmmakers, innovators and bloggers together in a unique creative environment focused on creative ideas and best practices. The conference is a launch pad for creative endeavors, new products, technologies, marketing campaigns, […]

2012 State of the Union en español

On January 24, 2012, President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address.  US Congressman Francisco Canseco delivered the Spanish-language Republican Address to the nation following the President’s address.  Canseco was elected in 2010 to serve the 23rd District of Texas. A native of Laredo, Canseco is the son of immigrants from Mexico. Congressman […]

Brazil, World’s 6th Largest Economy 2011

The Guardian, a well-established newspaper based in the United Kingdom (UK), reported on December 26, 2011 that the nation of Brazil had triumphed over the British and replaced the UK as the world’s sixth largest economy. The CEO of the Centre for Economics and business Research (CEBR) noted, “Brazil has beaten the European countries at […]

LATISM Annual National Conference

The annual national conference of LATISM went live in Chicago on November 9, 2011.  LATISM, a nonprofit organization, is the largest organization of Latinos engaged in social media.  LATISM is dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community. LATISM also works to raise awareness among corporate brands, NGOs and government […]

Fighting for the DREAM 2011

Reflecting in a distant mirror the courageous civil rights activists who preceded them, five young Latinos wearing graduation caps and gowns staged a sit-in at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Los Angeles, California on October 12, 2011.  The five students were brought to the US by their families as children. The young […]

Richard Alfred Tapia awarded National Medal of Science

Richard Alfred Tapia is a highly respected American mathematician who has championed minority students in the sciences.  On September 28, 2011, US President Barack Obama awarded Tapia and 11 other scientists the National Medal of Science. Tapia created four day workshops on computational science for teachers from schools with high minority enrollments.  He has also mentored […]

Mexican Museum Opens the Tequila Don Julio Collection

The Mexican Museum in San Francisco, California, opened the Tequila Don Julio Collection on September 23, 2011.  This art collection reflected the modern, dynamic artistic expression of Mexican and Mexican-American people. The Mexican Museum was founded in 1975. The mission of The Mexican Museum is to voice the complexity and richness of Latino art and culture throughout the […]

Gael Garcia Bernal and ‘The Invisibles’

Mexican actor and Hollywood star Gael Garcia Bernal interviewed with NPR (National Public Radio) News to discuss “The Invisibles”, a series of short documentaries on Central American people traveling through Mexico to reach the US.  The Central Americans are victimized by criminal and drug gangs in Mexico, and many who cannot pay ransoms or secure […]

First biannual Celebración Artística de las Américas

With music, song and art, the first biannual Celebración Artística de las Américas (CALA) Festival was celebrated in Arizona on September 14, 2011. The CALA Alliance is an Arizona community-based organization dedicated to educating and inspiring all Arizonans about the richness of the Latino cultural heritage.  The Festival includes performances, exhibits, in-school activities, food, and events […]

Goya Foods Opening

With a stellar concert line-up and a donation of 75,000 pounds of food to local charities, Goya Foods launched its nationwide 75th anniversary party on August 19, 2011.  The concert line-up included Latino stars Marc Anthony, Ana Gabriel, and Marco Antonio Solis. Now a billion dollar enterprise with over 3,000 employees, Goya Foods was founded by […]

First Sale of Tributo a Mi Padre

As glasses clinked and guests smiled, Hector V. Baretto introduced the newly produced tequila spirit, Tributo a Mi Padre (Tribute to My Father), at the 6th Annual East LA Meets Napa Premiere Food and Wine Tasting Event on July 8, 2011.  The honored padre was Hector Barreto Sr., an immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico.  Arriving in […]

DREAM Act 2011

On June 28, 2011, Assistant Senate Majority Leader U.S. Senator Dick Durbin chaired the first US Senate Hearing on the DREAM Act before the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration.  The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) provides conditional permanent residency to certain undocumented individuals of good moral character who graduate from US […]

“A Better Life”

June 24, 2011 was the release date of the movie “A Better Life”.  The film was directed by Chris Weitz and is based on a story by Roger L. Simon.  The poignant drama centers on a father trying to make a life in America for himself and his son.  The father is a Mexican immigrant […]

“My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant”

On June 22, 2011, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Jose Antonio Vargas revealed his story, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” in the New York Times.  Filipino American Vargas had immigrated to the US when he was 12 years old.  In his essay, Vargas revealed that his grandparents had not told him that his green card […]

Ethnic Studies Banned in Arizona — Surprised? Nope!

On June 16, 2011, Tucson’s ethnic studies program was declared illegal and anti-American. In 2010, the Arizona state legislature signed a law that bans classes from kindergarten to 12th grade that, among other grave errors, are designed primarily for a single ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity. The Tucson school district was threatened with an end […]

Dr. Severo Ochoa

June 16, 2011 was the first day of issue for the US postal stamp honoring Dr. Severo Ochoa.  In 1959, Ochoa won the Nobel Prize in physiology for his discovery of the process to make RNA (ribonucleic acid) in a test tube.  Ochoa was born in Luarca, Spain.  He emigrated during the Spanish Civil War, […]

Latina Mom Bloggers Network

On June 13, 2011, Hispanicize, a leading Latino social media content and marketing services platform, announced that it had negotiated a new business with two of the nation’s most influential Latina bloggers, Piera Jolly of JollyMom and Eva Smith of Tech.Food.Life.  The new venture is the Latina Mom Bloggers network (www.LatinaMomBloggers.com).  The goal of the […]

Arizona’s SB 1070

On June 8, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton released the news that the Obama Administration planned to bring a lawsuit against Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB 1070. Among other provisions, the law decreed it a misdemeanor crime for an “alien human being” to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents. (Hmm … […]

Dr. Alicia Abella, Presidential Appointee

On May 31, 2011, President Barak Obama appointed Dr. Alicia Abella to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.  Abella is the Executive Director of the Innovative Services Research Department at AT&T, where she manages research on data mining, user interfaces, IPTV, mobile services, and SIP/VoIP technology. Abella earned her PhD and MS in […]

Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009

On May 19, 2011, Frankie Maybee of Green Forest, Arkansas, was convicted by jury of five counts of committing a federal hate crime.  In June 2010, Maybee and his accomplice targeted five Hispanic men in a gas station parking lot. Though Maybee did not know the men and the five did not do or say […]

Yale University returns Looted Art

On March 30, 2011, the nation of Peru welcomed back to Peru over 45,000 Incan artifacts that were “taken” over 100 years earlier from the famed citadel of Machu Picchu.  The artifacts were at Yale University; the government of Peru held that they were on loan, not a gift, and wanted back their heritage.  The […]

“Creating Freedom in the Americas, 1776-1826”

In honor of the bicentennials (200 year anniversaries) of the nations of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, and of the shared history and values of the US and South America, the symposium “Creating Freedom in the Americas, 1776-1826” was celebrated in Washington, DC on November 19, 2010.  The symposium was co-hosted by the Bureau of […]

The Ultimate Burrito, 2010

Sometimes, you just cannot have too much of a good thing, particularly when you’re trying to set a Guinness World Record.  This dictum also applies to a favorite Mexican immigrant, the burrito.  The largest burrito on record was prepared on November 3, 2010 in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.  The burrito was made from […]

33 Chilean Miners Rescued 2010

To jubilant cheers and heartfelt tears, the horrific mine accident crisis in Copiapó, Chile came to a happy conclusion as the last of 33 miners resurfaced from deep in the earth. The 33 men were trapped for 69 days, over 2300 feet underground and about 3 miles from the entrance to the mine. As the world watched the dramatic rescue, mining […]

Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa awarded Nobel Prize 2010

Peruvian-Spanish writer, politician, and journalist Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa was announced as the winner of the Nobel prize for literature on October 7, 2010.  Llosa is regarded as one of Latin America’s most inspiring and significant authors, with international reputation and regard.  Llosa began his acceptance speech in praise of literature and reading, “Once upon […]

A Chilling Discovery

The Mexican Naval Infantry made a dark discovery on August 25, 2010, when they found 72 corpses near the US Mexican border.  The victims were believed to be migrants from Central and South America, murdered by a drug cartel.  This grim incident was the largest single body count since Mexican President Felipe Calderón made his […]

The First Use of the Sucre

On July 7, 2010 the new South American currency, the Sucre, was used for the first time in an international trade transaction.  The Sucre (Unitary System of Regional Compensation) is the currency developed by the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), enabling member states to trade internally without the US dollar.  As […]

Charo, Latina Singer, Musician, Activist

On June 25, 2010, Charo, a Latina singer, guitarist, and comedian, volunteered with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to protest against bullfighting as an inhumane sport.  Charo addressed a rally in Los Angeles, urging tourists not to attend a bullfighting festival, Gran Corrida, in Mexico.  Charo was born in Murcia, Spain, and […]

Billboard’s Spirit of Hope and Lifetime Achievement Awards 2010

On April 29, 2010, Puerto Rican pop superstar Marc Anthony received Billboard’s Spirit of Hope Award, and the iconic Mexican group Los Temerarios earned Billboard’s Lifetime Achievement Awards.  Anthony was awarded the Spirit of Hope Award for his philanthropic efforts, including his work for the Children’s Health Fund, Make-a-Wish Foundation and ING’s Run for Something Better […]

Alejandra Castillo, US Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

On April 12, 2010, Alejandra Castillo was appointed by the Obama Administration as National Deputy Director of the US Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The MBDA serves minority entrepreneurs across America who are building and growing businesses.  Castillo writes, “My advice to young Hispanics just starting out would be to pursue your dreams, follow your passion […]

José Alberto “Pepe” Mujica Cordano, President of Uruguay

José Alberto “Pepe” Mujica Cordano, the President of Uruguay, was inaugurated on March 1, 2010.  The politician and former Tupamaro guerilla fighter spent 14 years in a military prison and was wounded by police (unlike North American politicians, who usually are imprisoned after their careers in politics).  A 2009 article by The Economist characterized him […]

Porfirio Lobo Sosa, President of Honduras

Porfirio Lobo Sosa, President of Honduras, was inaugurated on January 27, 2010.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami and was granted a doctorate by Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow.   Lobo’s administration has received mixed reviews, with criticism from Human Rights watch for political oppression and praise from the […]

Launching of ‘Historias’ by National Public Radio

The renowned keeper of our spoken stories, StoryCorps, launched “Historias” on September 24, 2009.  Historias is a new program to preserve the experiences of Latinos in the US and Puerto Rico.  The program, which already exists in English, records informal conversations between family members or close friends who share their life experiences and stories with […]

Juanita’s Foods Back to School

Juanita’s Foods, a leading producer of prepared and homemade style Mexican cuisine, opened its Back to School promotional sweepstakes on August 31, 2009.  The program helped parents and educators struggling to feed their students during The Great Recession, with 50 prizes of $1,000 nationwide.  “One of the primary reasons for the growth of the US […]

Sonya Sotomayor Oath of Office

On August 8, 2009, the first Latina Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Sonya Sotomayor, was sworn in to office. Chief Justice John G. Roberts administered the Constitutional Oath.  Sotomayor’s mother attended and held the family Bible for the ceremony.  (Image by UPI/ Steve Petteway)

Racism in Texas 2009

CNN reported that a family in Azle, Texas, posted a sign outside their home that many residents preferred that they hadn’t, reading “Hispanics Keep Out”.  While there were no documented reports of documented or undocumented Hispanics attempting to enter their home, the family felt compelled to display the racist message as a preemptive strike.  Many […]

The Death of Brisenia

In the cool hours of the dark desert night on May 30, 2009, three Arizonans in the self-proclaimed Minutemen American Defense broke into the home of the Flores family.  In cold blood, they shot and killed 29-year-old Raul “Junior” Flores and his 9-year-old daughter Brisenia. They tried to kill the child’s mother and Raul’s wife, […]

Nomination of Sonia Sotomayor

On May 26, 2009, Sonia Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama as a Supreme Court Justice.  Sotomayor was the first Latina woman to receive this nomination and appointment.  Sotomayor was raised in a housing project in the Bronx, New York, with a mother determined to educate her children. Sotomayor recalled that, “…we were the […]

Galavision

The Mobile Giving channel, which enabled viewers to use their mobile phones to make donations, was launched during a telethon in the US for the first time on December 5, 2008.  The telethon was broadcast on Galavision, a leading Spanish language cable network that reached over 8 million Latino households.  Fundacion Teleton MexAmerica initiated the […]

ESPN

What could be more democratic and more American than electing and selecting your very own sports reruns on a major network?   To celebrate its fifth anniversary, ESPN Deportes launched ESPN Deportes Replay, a multimedia campaign that gave its fans the opportunity to program the network for three consecutive weeks.  Voters selected candidates from the most […]

The Launch of CBeebies

On November 21, 2008, BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) Worldwide Channels announced the launch of CBeebies, its first wholly-owned, Spanish-language channel in the US. This British invasion is dedicated to preschoolers.  Darren Childs, BBC’s Managing Director, stated, “The introduction of a Spanish version of CBeebies into the U.S. Hispanic market is a momentous achievement for BBC Worldwide Channels […]

The First Latin Grammy Awards

For the first time in its history, the Latin Grammy Awards were held in Houston, Texas.  Houston is not known for being a mecca of Latin music, but one of the show’s organizers, Gabriel Abaroa, noted that “We decided to take the show where our people are.”  Abaroa has a refreshingly broad view of “our […]

Fernando Armindo Lugo Méndez Inaugurated as President of Paraguay

On August 15, 2008, Fernando Armindo Lugo Méndez was inaugurated as President of the nation of Paraguay. Lugo was a Catholic bishop, and resigned from the Church to pursue politics.  His election marked the end of six decades of right wing rule by the military dictatorship, and was bitterly opposed by the regime.  Lugo campaigned by […]

David Americo Ortiz, Baseball Star

On June 11, 2008, the legendary baseball player David Americo Ortiz took the US Oath of Citizenship.  Ortiz was born in the Dominican Republic.  Ortiz is considered one of the top clutch hitters in major league history.  In 2005, he helped lead the Boston Red Sox to its first World Series victory in 86 years.  […]

President of Argentina inaugurated

With grace and dignity, the first woman elected as President of Argentina was inaugurated on December 10, 2007.  Prior to her election as President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had earned a law degree and served as National Deputy and National Senator.   Her husband, also a lawyer, served as President in the previous administration, and greatly […]

“Love in the Time of Cholera” is Released

The story of life-long love was retold on the silver screen, as “Love in the Time of Cholera” was released on November 16, 2007.  The Hollywood film is based on the story by Nobel prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, about childhood sweethearts who are forcibly separated by the girl’s parents.  Despite 50 years of separation […]

“El Sistema” Airs

“…Nothing less than a miracle … the future of music for the whole world.”  These heady words of praise from the leader of the Berlin Philharmonic appeared in the London Observer Magazine on July 29, 2007.  The praise was for “El Sistema”, the program illuminating the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela.  The orchestra’s conductor, […]

Passing of a New Law in Prince William County, Virginia

As the County meeting rooms overflowed with worried residents in the hot, angry Virginia night, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors passed its controversial anti-immigration ordinance.  The legislation targeted undocumented immigrants by prohibiting their access to public services and increasing immigration enforcement by local police.  The resolution was fiercely contested in a lengthy public […]

Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra

On January 10, 2007, Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra was inaugurated as President of Nicaragua for the second time.  Saavedra was a pivotal leader in the Cold War politics of Central America in the 1980s; viewed as a freedom fighter by the left and as an untrustworthy communist by the right.  Upon taking office in 2007, […]

Founding of Latin America in Solidarity Action

Two of South America’s greatest talents, singer Shakira and writer and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, launched the foundation for Latin America in Solidarity Action on December 12, 2006.  The foundation’s mission is to nurture at-risk children from pregnancy through age 6.  One of the foundation’s programs provides health and nutritional assistance to pregnant […]

The Secure Fence Act of 2006

Apparently, with the idea that good fences make good neighbors, US President George W. Bush signed The Secure Fence Act of 2006 into law on October 26, 2006.  Bush stated “This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.”  The […]

Interview with Kenny Ortega, Award Winning Director

“Musicals are my greatest love, without question,” choreographer and director Kenny Ortega declared in an interview with a leading Australian magazine in September 2006.  His earliest memories are of his parents’ laughter as they danced in their family living room.  Ortega’s parents were Spanish and Cuban; he was born in Palo Alto, California.  In his […]

Rally for the Worst

Yes, they are still here.  On September 2, 2006, members of the World Order of the Ku Klux Klan rallied at the Battle of Gettysburg National Military Park, the site of a decisive Civil War battle.  (Apparently, the Klan has not quite gotten over the official abolition of slavery in the US.)  While continuing to […]

Jimmy Smits, ALMA Award Winner

On May 6, 2006, Hispanic American Jimmy Smits won the ALMA (American Latino Media Arts) Award for outstanding actor in the television series, “The West Wing”.  ALMA honors programming that shows positive images of Latinos in the arts. In “The West Wing”, Smits played the role of Congressman Mike Santos, who ran for President in […]

Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria, First Woman President of Chile

On March 11, 2006, Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria was inaugurated as the first woman President of Chile. She was elected as President as a Social Democrat by 53.5% of the vote, with a platform that included increased social benefits and reducing the gap between rich and poor. Bachelet worked as a pediatrician and epidemiologist, and […]

President Avo Morales

On January 22, 2006 Evo Morales was inaugurated as President of Bolivia.  Morales is of Spanish and Aymara descent; Aymara is one of the First Nations.  He is committed to reducing poverty and illiteracy in Bolivia, and his policies are characterized as leftist and socialist.  He has implemented land reform and the redistribution of gas […]

Shakira

The American Music Award honored Colombian born musician and singer Shakira as America’s favorite Latina artist on November 22, 2005.  Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll’s father was a Lebanese immigrant to Colombia, and her dual Latino and Middle Eastern heritage has greatly influenced her work.  “Shakira” translates as “woman full of grace” in Arabic, and her […]

“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”

June 1, 2005 is the release date of the popular film, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”, starring Latina actress America Ferrera.  Ferrera plays Carmen Lowell, who spends her summer coming to terms with the new, very norteamericano family into which her father is marrying. 01 de junio 2005 es la fecha de lanzamiento de […]

Antonio Villaraigosa, first Latino Mayor of Los Angeles

On May 17, 2005, Antonio Villaraigosa was elected as the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles, California, in over 100 years. His Mexican immigrant father was an alcoholic who abandoned the family, and Villaraigosa had a troubled adolescence.  He was expelled from high school for fighting, and later was charged with assault against a man […]

“Selena Vive!”

“Selena Vive!” aired live on April 7, 2005, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez.  Jennifer Lopez starred as Selena.  According to Nielsen ratings, the show earned a 35.9 Hispanic Television index rating, which translates into 3.9 million viewing households.  It was the highest rating ever for a Spanish-language TV special. “The […]

Hispanic Business Magazine 2005 Woman of the Year

Hispanic Business Magazine, a leading English language publication, announced on April 4, 2005, that attorney Brigida Benitez won their 2005 Woman of the Year (WOY) Award.  Benitez was one of the principal attorneys for the University of Michigan in the affirmative action cases that were heard by the Supreme Court in 2003. These affirmative action […]

“Apology Act for the 1930s Mexican Repatriation Program”

On February 22, 2005, California State Senator Joe Dunn introduced the “Apology Act for the 1930s Mexican Repatriation Program” (SB 670) in the California State Legislature.  The bill’s purpose was to “express the apology of the State of California to those individuals who were illegally deported and coerced into emigrating to Mexico and would require […]

Celebrate Dominican Heritage Month in New York

In 2004, New York Governor George Pataki declared February as Dominican Heritage Month in the state of New York.  Dominicans celebrate their independence on February 27.  Activities include culture, music, and art shows, essay contests, sport presentations, and lots of really great food.  This Heritage Month continues to be celebrated annually.   If you’re ever in […]

Christina María Aguilera

On February 8, 2004, Christina María Aguilera won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her song, “Beautiful”.  In addition to her stellar contributions as a performer, Aguilera is active in humanitarian and social causes.   In late 2007 Aguilera became a spokesperson for “Rock the Vote” to encourage young people to vote […]

Latinos Protest Discrimination New York City 2003

Latinos protested discrimination in New York City’s bureaucracy on July 23, 2003. The demonstrators marched to support Intro 38, the Equal Access to Health and Human Services Act, which would provide language access to city services for people with limited English proficiency.  The proposal was signed into law by New York City Mayor Bloomberg in December of […]

Miguel Cabrera

With the resounding crack of a bat, Major League Baseball star Miguel Cabrera made his debut in the majors on June 20, 2003.  The 20-year old hit a game-winning home run for the Florida Marlins that day.  His talent was evident at an early age; his mother noted in an interview, “It was like he […]

First Latino Owner of Major League Baseball Team

On May 15, 2003, Arturo “Arte” Moreno became the first Latino to own a Major League Baseball team, the Anaheim Angels.  Moreno is a fourth generation Mexican American born in Tucson, Arizona.  He and his ten brothers and sisters were raised in a two-bedroom, one bathroom home.  Moreno made his wealth the old fashioned way […]

“A Beautiful Mind”

The Hollywood film, “A Beautiful Mind”, was awarded Best Picture at the 2002 Academy Awards.  The film portrayed the heart breaking struggles of Noble Prize winning physicist John Nash, and his wife, Alicia, with John’s dangerous paranoid delusions and mental illness.  Alicia Larde is a native of El Salvador, and graduated with a degree in […]

“American Family: Journey of Dreams”

January 23, 2002 was the premier of the new series, “American Family: Journey of Dreams”, created and produced by Gregory Nava (please see reference on January 11 – Nava is a busy guy).  American Family was the first family drama series featuring a Hispanic cast to air on broadcast television.  PBS (Public Broadcasting System) later […]

The Launch of TeleFutura

January 14, 2002 marked the launch of TeleFutura, a Spanish-language broadcast network, by Univisión.   Telefutura became America’s second largest Spanish-language prime time network.  TeleFutura’s programming includes Noticias 41 Al Despertar, its news and public affairs program, talk shows, children’s programming and of course, telenovellas, or soap operas, which demonstrate the same amount of intelligence and […]

Michael Bloomberg travels to the Dominican Republic

In solidarity and compassion, New York City Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg traveled to the Dominican Republic, to meet with grieving families who lost relatives when an American Airlines flight crashed in New York earlier that month.   About 70% of the 260 passengers who died were Dominican.   Bloomberg arrived in his private jet, and received a welcome […]

9-11, An American Tragedy

Latinos shared our nation’s tragedy as 258 Hispanic Americans were killed in New York on September 11, 2001, when two hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center. Among the 177 men and 81 women were 21-year old Marlyn C. Garcia, a college student who aspired to work at the United Nations, and 28 year old […]

“For Love or Country”

The TV film, “For Love or Country”, premiered on October 18, 2000.  Real-life musician Arturo Sandoval was the hero of the film, with his role played by handsome actor Andy Garcia.  Sandoval was born in Cuba, and was a huge fan of North American jazz musicians, particularly Dizzy Gillespie.   Sandoval formed his own band and […]

Dora the Explorer 2000

On August 14, 2000, one of our most famous and talented 21st century Latinas emerged onto the public stage:  Dora the Explorer! Dora Marquez became a regular series that year on the Nickelodeon cable channel.  Dora is the inspiration of Valerie Walsh Valdes, Chris Gifford and Eric Weiner.  Dora is eight years old, and embarks on […]

Latinas in Space!

May 29, 1999 was a momentous day for the space shuttle Discovery, when it docked with the International Space Station for the first time.  Latina Ellen Ochoa was on board and working during the event as mission specialist and engineer.  Her responsibilities included coordinating the transfer of nearly two tons of supplies from one vessel […]

Venezuelans aid El Norte

On February 2, 1999, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was inaugurated as President of Venezuela.  Chávez is the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, and he has implemented socialist reforms.  He continually annoys the US establishment by directing Citgo Petroleum Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), to donate free heating […]

Dr. Ed Avila, the 1999 Teacher of the Year Award

On January 25, 1999, Hispanic Magazine and Nordstrom Inc. announced that Dr. Ed Avila won the 1999 Teacher of the Year Award. Avila directed the Endeavour Academy, an engineering and applied science preparatory school, where he developed the curriculum and teaches classes.  He contributed to the development of the Youth Aerospace Discovery Program, a weekly […]

Charter Flights to Cuba

On January 5, 1999, the Clinton administration (Bill, not Hil) approved direct charter flights from New York and Los Angeles to Cuba.  Secretary of State Madeline Albright made the announcement, which was heralded as the most significant change in policy toward Cuba in decades.  Travel was restricted to humanitarian-aid workers, athletes, scholars, teachers, and researchers, […]

Octavio Paz, Nobel Prize Winner

The Nobel Academy in Sweden announced that Mexican writer, poet, diplomat and humanist Octavio Paz won the Nobel Prize for Literature on October 11, 1990.  Paz was born in Mexico City, and followed in his family’s tradition of activist political journalism.  He also served his country as diplomat, but resigned in protest over the Mexican […]

Opening of the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives

August 10, 1998 marked the inaugural opening of the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives.  The mission of the center is to disseminate and advance understanding and knowledge of the contributions of Latinas and Latinos to the culture, society, history, arts, and sciences of the US.   The Center’s web site features a Virtual Museum, online collections, […]

Assassination of Monsignor Juan José Gerardi Conedera

On April 26, 1998, Monsignor Juan José Gerardi Conedera was beaten to death, two days after releasing a four-volume report on atrocities by the Guatemalan military during the decades of the Guatemalan Civil War (1960 to 1996).  Conedera was a Guatemalan Roman Catholic bishop and human rights defender, who was viewed as a moderate reformer.  […]

The Red Sox Latino 1997

Pedro Martinez signed a $75 million, six-year contract with the Red Sox on December 12, 1997, making Martinez the highest paid player in baseball at that time.  Martinez’ life story is woven from the American Dream.  He grew up in a poor rural village in the Dominican Republic, and was a sensitive child who studiously […]

Hispanic Heritage in American Girl Dolls

On August 11, 1997, Publisher’s Weekly announced that Josefina Montoya, the latest American Girl in the Pleasant Company collection of historical dolls, would debut in September.  Maria Josefina Montoya is a nine-year old Latina living in northern New Mexico in 1824. Josefina and her three sisters live on a rancho near Santa Fe, and are adjusting […]

Peace in Guatemala, 1996

After thirty-six long years of brutal and bloody civil war, the nation of Guatemala was finally able to declare peace on December 29, 1996.  The civil war was part of a larger global power struggle for resources and for political influence, and the US-based United Fruit Company and the CIA supported different factions throughout the […]

‘Macarena’ hits Top 100 of The Billboard 200

The day of the Mac attack!  On September 7, 1996, Los Del Rio’s hit song ”Macarena” climbed into the top 100 of The Billboard 200. Antonio Romero and Raphael Ruiz, the two Spaniards in the Del Rio group, were pleasantly surprised by their song’s success.  It quickly became a cultural fixture, played at weddings, family reunions […]

El Dia de Olga Tañón

The Puerto Rican Senate declared November 9, 1995 as “El Dia de Olga Tañón” (Olga Tañón Day) in honor of the Grammy Award winning singer. Tañón was born in Santruce, Puerto Rico, and began her singing career performing with merengue groups.  (Merengue originated in the Dominican Republic, and is characterized by a fast 2/4 beat.  Please, not to […]

Happy Birthday to Luis Alberto Urrea

Happy Birthday to writer Luis Alberto Urrea, born on August 20, 1955 in Tijuana, Mexico.  His father was Mexican and his mother was New Yorker; Urrea was born in Mexico and raised in San Diego from the age of 3. He earned his BA at the University of California at San Diego, and his MA […]

 “My Family”

“My Family”, the award winning film about three generations of Mexican Americans, was released on May 3, 1995. The film was directed by Gregory Nava, and featured Latino stars Jimmy Smits, Edward James Olmos, Jennifer Lopez, and Esai Morales, among other talents.  The emotionally complex drama begins with the life of the eldest brother, who […]

“Selena Day” (1995)

Former US President George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, declared April 16, 1995, as “Selena Day”, two weeks after the death of Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. Selena born in on April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, Texas.  Her father recognized her talent at age 6. She won her first Grammy in 1993 for Best […]

President Ernesto Zedillo Inaugurated

President Ernesto Zedillo was inaugurated as President of Mexico on December 1, 1994, with an election that was marked by fairness and high voter turnout.  Zedillo was raised in a lower middle class family, and received a scholarship to Yale University in the US.  He studied economics, and returned to Mexico to continue his public […]

NAFTA 1993

By a close vote of 234 to 200, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution to establish the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on November 17, 1993.  The goal of NAFTA, according to its advocates, was to eliminate barriers to trade and investment among the US, Canada and Mexico.   Its critics contend that […]

“The House of the Spirits”

The film, “The House of the Spirits”, based on the classic novel of the same name by Chilean writer Isabel Allende, premiered in Germany on October 17, 1993.  The film is the story of a complex Chilean family during the rise of the military dictatorship in Chile.  English actor Jeremy Irons stars as the family […]

Alvarino de Leira Alvarino Awarded Great Silver Medal of Galici

On July 23, 1993, scientist Angeles Alvarino de Leira Alvarino was awarded the Great Silver Medal of Galici a by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia of Spain.   Alvarino, who was born in Spain, specialized in fishery research biologist and marine science. In her decades long career, she made tremendous contributions to knowledge about […]

Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1993

On May 23, 1993, 18-year-old Dayanara Torres from Puerto Rico was crowned as the 42nd Miss Universe.  Torres then launched her career as a singer, actress, writer, and model, and has appeared in several US television series and movies in the Philippines. Torres authored the self-help book, “Married to Me” after her divorce from Latino […]

The “Archives of Terror”

From the dark silence of the dusty pages of hidden archives, the voices of the tortured dead began to speak once more.  While looking for documents on the fate of an individual prisoner, lawyer and human-rights activist Dr. Martín Almada and Judge José Agustín Fernández uncovered the files that became known as the “Archives of Terror” on December 22, […]

The Release of the documentary “The Panama Deception”

The Academy Award winning documentary, “The Panama Deception”, was released on July 31, 1992.  The 1989 invasion of Panama by the US was termed “Operation Just Cause” by the Bush Administration; according to the documentary’s director, Barbara Trent, the invasion was far from a just cause.  Trent alleged that US troops killed up to 4,000 […]

Happy Birthday to Selena Gomez

Happy Birthday to Selena Gomez, an all American singer and actress, born in Grand Prairie, Texas,  on July 22, 1992.  Gomez’s father is a New Mexico native of Mexican descent and her mother is Italian-American. Gomez was named for popular Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla Perez.  Gomez’s first big break was in the Disney TV series, […]

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

March 1, 1992 is the release date of the movie, “The Mambo Kings”, based on Oscar Hijuelos’s 1989 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.  The film and movie are about the lives and loves of two brothers who are refugees from Cuba.   The film features Antonio Banderas, a Spanish actor, and […]

Congressman Ed Pastor of Arizona

Another first for Hispanics was earned by Ed Pastor, when he became the first Latino from Arizona to be elected to US Congress.  Pastor was born in a small mining town in Arizona.  He earned his BA at Arizona State University and his law degree from Arizona State College of Law.   After serving as a […]

Grammy for “Best New Artist” (1991)

On February 20, 1991, the talented Mariah Carey  won the Grammy for “Best New Artist”, the first of many national awards that she earned.  Carey is of Afro-Venezuelan and Irish heritage, a multiracial heritage that was challenging for her.   Today, Carey is one of the world’s most successful living singers and artists, selling over 200 […]

Happy Birthday to Stefanía Fernández Krupij

Happy Birthday to Stefanía Fernández Krupij, born in Venezuela on September 4, 1990. Fernández was crowned as Miss Universe in 2009.  While she is 100% Venezuelan and Latina, her heritage is Ukrainian, Polish, Russian and Spanish. For her latest updates on her social programs and modeling endeavors, please visit Stefania on her site.

Latino Portraits for the Office of War Information Photographers

A very young Latino cowboy from Penasco, New Mexico, poses for a photographer from the Office of War Information Photograph Collection in July 1940.  Hispanic Americans were the first Europeans in the state of New Mexico, as the Spanish in Mexico expanded their empire northwards.  The photos were taken as part of an extensive pictorial […]

Ellen Ochoa , First Latina Astronaut

On January 17, 1990, Ellen Ochoa (born May 10, 1958) was selected by NASA for training, and she was the first Latina astronaut in space.   Ochoa received a doctorate in electronic engineering from Stanford University, and after graduation, she worked in research at the Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California.   Ochoa flew her first mission […]

Panamanian Dictator Noriega Surrenders

January 3, 1990, the former president of Panama, Manuel Noriega surrendered to the US Army.  Panama was invaded by US forces on December 20, 1989.  President George H.W. Bush cited Noriega’s involvement in drug trafficking as one of the leading reasons for the invasion.   This viewpoint was challenged later in the Academy Award winning documentary, […]

US Invasion of Panama condemned by UN 1989

As word of the US invasion of Panama reached international organizations, many people expressed their outrage at what they believed was deplorable US aggression.  On December 29, 1989 the General Assembly of the United Nations voted to condemn the US invasion.  The vote was 75 to 20, with 40 nations abstaining.  Resolution 44/240 stated that […]

US Invades Panama, 1989

In the silent hours after midnight in the dark night of the tropics, more than 27,000 undocumented US troops illegally stormed into Panama on December 20, 1989.  Their target was General Manuel Noriega, a former ally of the US.  Noriega was suspected of drug trafficking and had recently overturned the democratic election of the new […]

1990 FIFA Soccer World Cup

In an exciting, high velocity game, the US and El Salvador vied for supremacy at the sports stadium in Saint Louis, Missouri on November 5, 1989.  The teams were playing for a place in the 1990 FIFA Soccer World Cup.  After a well-matched competition, the teams tied 0-0.

First Latina Woman Serves in the US Congress

On August 29, 1989, the first Latina woman to serve in the US Congress began her first term.  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was born in Havana, Cuba on July 15, 1952, and immigrated to the US with her family when she was 7. She earned a BA and MS from Florida International University, and began her career as […]

Happy Birthday to Marlen Esparza

Happy Birthday to America’s Olympic medal winner and boxer, Marlen Esparza.  Esparza was born on July 29, 1989 in Houston, Texas.   Early in her life, Esparza was plagued with poor grades and trouble at school, until she agreed to a strict program with her boxing coach.  By age 16 Esparza was one of the youngest […]

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Tennis Star

On June 10, 1989, tennis fans applauded as Spanish star athlete, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, defeated the almost invincible Steffi Graff in the French Open.  The women battled for three hours, and the game was marked by long rallies of 30 to 40 shots.  A determined and tenacious player, Vicario briefly held the number one spot […]

Emily Clara Rios

Happy Birthday to Emily Clara Rios, a Mexican-American actress and model born in Los Angeles, California, on April 27, 1989.  Rios has starred in numerous television and film roles.  She played the lead role in the acclaimed indie movie, “Quinceañera”, a story of a young Latin American woman’s coming of age in our turbulent, cross-cultural […]

Defeat of a Dictator and His Party

The Chilean political opposition to dictator and General Augusto Pinochet triumphed on October 5, 1988, as the center-left Concertación party defeated Pinochet in his re-election bid.  A general election was held in 1989.  Concertación and its Presidential candidates won each year onwards, until a conservative candidate was elected in 2010. 

Lauro Fred Cavazos, US Secretary of Education

On September 20, 1988, Lauro Fred Cavazos was sworn in as Secretary of Education in President Ronald Reagan’s Administration.  Cavazos was the first Hispanic to serve in the US Cabinet.  Cavazos is a sixth-generation Texan born in Kingsville, Texas. Cavazos’ father strongly encouraged his education, and after he served in World War II, Cavazos earned a […]

Happy Birthday to Alexa Vega

Happy Birthday to singer and actress Alexa Vega, born on August 27, 1988 in Miami, Florida.  Vega’s father was from Colombia and her mother is a norteamericana and former model.  Even at her young age, Vega already has a long career in television, beginning with Burt Reynolds’ TV series, “Evening Shade”.  Vega has sung on […]

Lauro Fred Cavazos, Secretary of Education

On August 9, 1988, US President Ronald Reagan nominated Lauro Fred Cavazos as Secretary of Education.  Cavazos was the first Latinx to hold a cabinet post, which was really big.  He earned a BA in zoology, an MA in cytology, and a Ph D in physiology. Cavazos also served as college president and professor and is […]

“The Milagro Beanfield War”

March 18, 1988 is the release date of “The Milagro Beanfield War”, a film set in the fictional rural town of Milagro and filmed in Truchas, New Mexico.  The fictional town was predominantly Catholic and Hispanic, with less than 500 residents.  The drama centers on the issue of water rights as small bean farmers challenge […]

“Stand and Deliver”

March 11, 1988 was the release date of “Stand and Deliver”, an inspiring Hollywood movie based on the true story of the students at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles and their dedicated math teacher, Bolivian-American Jaime Escalante.  Despite the difficult challenges of their tough environment, Escalante persisted in teaching them advanced levels of […]

President Oscar Arias wins Nobel Peace Prize

On October 13, 1987, the Nobel Academy announced that Costa Rican President Oscar Arias won the Nobel Peace Prize. Arias worked tirelessly to reconcile the warring nations that neighbored his peaceful country. In the acceptance speech that he gave later that year in Sweden, Arias stated, “Peace is not a matter of prizes or trophies. […]

“Born in East LA”

August 21, 1987 was the release date of the comedy, “Born in East LA”, written and directed by Cheech Marin of the Cheech & Chong comedy team.  The film centers on a US citizen, Rudy Robles, mistakenly deported to Mexico in an immigration raid.   Rudy struggles through Mexican, unable to speak Spanish, using his only […]

“Santana Day” 1987

The city of San Francisco, California declared June 6, 1987 as “Santana Day”, honoring musician and composer Carlos Santana.  Santana was born in Jalisco, Mexico in 1947, and began playing guitar when he was 8.  By age 11, he was performing at nightclubs in Tijuana.  His family moved to San Francisco, and Santana worked as […]

Happy Birthday to Mark Travis John Sanchez

Happy Birthday to NFL quarterback Mark Travis John Sanchez, born on November 11, 1986 in Long Beach, California.  Sanchez is a third-generation Mexican American.   His father was a strong influence in his life, and Sanchez began playing football in 8th grade coached by his papi.  He played college football for the University of Southern California, […]

“Flamenco Puro”

The passion and artistry of Spain graced the Mark Hellinger Theater in New York City, as “Flamenco Puro” (“Pure Flamenco”) opened on October 19, 1986 for a run of 40 performances.  The creating artist, Pablo Pena, had a lifelong love for the unique dance form.  In an interview, Pena stated, “Flamenco at its purest … […]

Protest against General Augusto Pinochet

Agonized screams filled the streets of Santiago, Chile, as protestors Rodrigo Rojas de Negri and Carmen Gloria Quintana were burnt alive during a street demonstration against the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.  Rojas’ mother was a political exile, and he had lived in the US and attended Woodrow Wilson High School.  Quintana was an engineering […]

NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis

As the NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis launched into the night sky from the Kennedy Space Center on November 26, 1985, Latino Rodolfo Neri Vela was among the crew.  Neri is a Mexican scientist and astronaut who served as Payload Specialist for the mission.  (A Payload Specialist is the technical expert on the carrying capacity of an […]

Mayor of Miami 1985

After persevering through a number of campaigns, Xavier Louis Suarez was finally elected as Mayor of the city of Miami.  He was sworn in on November 13, 1985, and was the first Cuban born citizen to win this office.  Suarez was born in Las Villas, Cuba, and immigrated to the US in 1962.  He graduated […]

The First Bilingual Radio Station in Denver

The mile high airwaves of Colorado were rocked with a new sound, as the first bilingual radio station in Denver made its debut on August 29, 1985.  The station was the fulfilled dream of Florence Hernández-Ramos, the first Latinx female president and general manager of a public radio station. The station has a jazz format; as Hernández-Ramos […]

Mary Joe Fernandez wins a main draw match

Audiences cheered as 14 year old Mary Joe Fernandez won a main draw match at the women’s US Open in the first round.  Fernandez was born in the Dominican Republic, and immigrated to the US as a child with her family.  Fernandez continued this dazzling start to her career, placing as runner-up in three Grand Slam singles tournaments and winning […]

Crowning of Miss Universe 1985

On July 15, 1985, to cheers, tears and applause, Puerto Rican actress and TV host Deborah Fátima Carthy-Deu was crowned as the 34th Miss Universe.  Carthy-Deu was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and is the second Puerto Rican woman to achieve this title.  She graduated with high honors from the University of Puerto Rico with a […]

The First Night of the Live-Aid Concert

To cheers and applause across the globe, the Live-Aid Concert began on July 13, 1985.  The dual-venue concert was held in London, England and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to raise money for the human beings impacted by a terrible famine in Ethiopia.  The event was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts to date: […]

Nancy Lopez wins The 31st LPGA Championship

On June 2, 1985, Nancy Lopez won the 31st LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Championship.  Among her stellar accomplishments, Lopez is able to balance work and home life.  In an interview with the New York Times, she stated, “I like being a wife and mother more than I like professional golf.”  Lopez and her husband, […]

First Latina Miss USA (1985)

On May 13, 1985, beautiful, talented Laura Elena Martinez-Herring was crowned as Miss USA, the first Latina to win the honor.  Martinez was born in Los Mochis, a city in western Mexico.  Her family later settled in Texas, the state that she represented in the Miss USA competition.  Martinez studied at Aiglon College, a Swiss […]

“Fernandomania” (1985)

With the whisper whip of a speeding baseball cutting through the air on April 28, 1985, Mexican American Fernando Valenzeula pitched the conclusion of five shutouts during an eight-game winning streak to start the season. “Fernandomania” became a national epidemic.   The 20-year old Valenzeula is left-handed, with an incredible screwball pitch that confounded the pros […]

Nicaraguan Presidential: Daniel Ortega

In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on October 2, 1984, Nicaraguan Presidential candidate Daniel Ortega charged that “intelligence information from various sources” indicated that the US was planning a two-stage invasion of Nicaragua.  The invasion would be timed to force the Sandinistas to cancel the national balloting scheduled for November 4, 1984.   […]

Kaleth Miguel Morales Troya, Singer and Songwriter

June 9, 1984 is the birthday of Kaleth Miguel Morales Troya, a singer and songwriter born in Valledupar, Colombia. Troya wrote his first musical composition at age 13.  He was regarded as the king of vallenato or New Wave Music, a Caribbean – Columbian style of folk music.  Vallenato music originated in northeastern Colombia and […]

Justice for Nicaragua?

On May 10, 1984, the International Court of Justice in the city of The Hague in the Netherlands ruled that the US should cease its blockade of Nicaraguan ports and stop laying mines in the Nicaraguan harbor.  The court held that, “The right to sovereignty and  to political  independence possessed by the Republic of Nicaragua, […]

America Georgina Ferrera

Happy Birthday to America Georgina Ferrera, the Hispanic American actress best known for her lead role in the television comedy series, “Ugly Betty”.   California-born Ferrera is the daughter of Honduran immigrants.  In an interview with Back Stage West, she related that her mother had immigrated “for the sole purpose that my siblings and I could […]

US CIA meddling in Central America (again)

On April 10, 1984, the US Senate formally condemned the mining of the harbor of Nicaragua.  As part of their effort to assist the Contras, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) placed explosive mines in the Nicaraguan harbor in a covert operation, without permission from the US government.  (As a certain former Texas Governor would […]

Nuria Martinez, Basketball Star

February 29, 1984, is the birthday of Nuria Martinez, a Spanish-born basketball player for the US Women’s National Basketball Association.  Martinez played guard for the Minnesota Lynx. 29 de febrero 1984, es el cumpleaños de Nuria Martínez, un jugador de baloncesto de origen español de la Asociación Nacional de Baloncesto de Mujeres de EE.UU.. Martínez […]

“El Norte”

January 11, 1984 is the release date of the independent film, “El Norte”.  The film is a compassionate, tragic, and sometimes humorous portrayal of the journey of a brother and sister from Guatemala to the US (“El Norte”).  There, they search for work and begin their personal quest of the American Dream.  The film was […]

Zapatista Army of National Liberation is Founded

The multi-faceted political, social, economic, cultural, military and spiritual movement of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) was founded in Chiapas, Mexico on November 17, 1983.  Chiapas is the southernmost state of Mexico, with a large concentration of indigenous people comprising the Mixes-Zoques, the Mayas and the Chiapa.   The movement is named after Emiliano Zapata, the agrarian […]

Katherine Davalos Ortega, US Secretary of the Treasury

US President Ronald Reagan announced his appointment of Katherine Davalos Ortega on September 12, 1983 as US Secretary of the Treasury. “She is symbolic of the values the Hispanic community represents, and I am honored that she is to become a part of this administration,” stated Reagan. Ortega was born in Tularosa, New Mexico, and […]

Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez Nobel Prize Lecture

On December 8, 1982, Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez (1927 – 2014) delivered his Nobel lecture, entitled “The Solitude of Latin America”, when he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.  Marquez has written novels, short-stories, screenplays, and articles, woven with magical realism, a style that highlights the worlds beyond those ordinary and seen.  […]

Felipe González Elected as President of Spain

In an uneasy transition from decades of dictatorship to democracy, Felipe González was elected as President of Spain on December 1, 1982.  González was the Presidential candidate of the Spanish Socialist Worker Party (PSOE).  The PSOE won 46% of the vote, a parliamentary majority. González’s conservative brand of socialism, sometimes termed Felipismo, has been criticized by the right as too […]

The Last Days of Argentina’s “Dirty War”

On December 22, 1981, the last military dictators took power in Argentina’s Dirty War against its own citizens, as General Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli assumed the Presidency.  Galtieri attended classes at the infamous US Army School of the Americas in 1949, when the School operated in the Panama Canal Zone, and spent six months studying […]

El Mozote Massacre

The screams of terror and the flow of tears continued throughout the day and night as the people of El Mozote, El Salvador, were massacred by the battalion known as the “Angels of Hell”.  The villagers were raped, tortured, bayoneted and shot at point blank range.  When the last of their blood had soaked into […]

The Awards

US baseball’s prestigious Cy Young Award had never been awarded to a rookie player – until Fernando Valenzuela sparkled on the diamond.  (Please note, a rookie in Major League Baseball is a player with fewer than 130 times at bat or 50 innings pitched in the majors, or less than 45 days on the active rosters of an MLB […]

Another Tragedy of the Guatemalan Civil War

In an angry dark night as the Civil War raged throughout Guatemala, a North American priest from Oklahoma City was gunned down in the impoverished village where he ministered.  Father Stanley Rother served in Santiago Atitlan from 1968 until 1981. He left temporarily because of the death threats that he received for his opposition to […]

Andre Segovia, Musician

In recognition of his contribution to music and the arts, guitarist Andre Segovia was ennobled by King Juan Carlos I of Spain on June 24, 1981.  Segovia is the most celebrated classical guitarist in the world, and is universally acknowledged as the founding father of modern classical guitar. Segovia was born in Andalusia, Spain in […]

Jaime Roldós Aguilera, President of Ecuador

A violent, fiery plane crash into a mountain on May 24, 1981 ended the life of Jaime Roldós Aguilera, then President of Ecuador.  Aguilera was an educator, author, and politician.   At 39 years old, he was the youngest President elected in the Western Hemisphere.   He took office following a difficult nine-year period of military and […]

Henry Cisneros, Politician

Henry Cisneros was elected as mayor of San Antonio on April 4, 1981, the first Hispanic mayor since Texas joined the US.  He earned a BA from Texas A&M University, an MA from Harvard University, and a Ph D in public administration from George Washington University.  In 1975, he was selected as a White House […]

Alberto Salazar, Marathon Man

To the cheers of roaring fans, Latino athlete Alberto Salazar was the first to race across the finish line of the 11th New York City Marathon on October 26, 1980.  Salazar won with a time of 2:09:41 (two hours, nine minutes and forty-one seconds).  This win was the first of three straight victories in the […]

Roberto Goizueta Críspulo, An Immigrant Success Story

On June 2, 1980, Cuban born Roberto Crispulo Goizueta was promoted to president of the Coca Cola Company, 26 years after he had answered a newspaper ad to work for the company in Cuba. The next year, Goizueta was elected by the board to as Coke’s chairman and chief executive officer.  Goizueta graduated from Yale […]

Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador

On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador was assassinated while celebrating Mass at a small chapel.  Romero was a leader in liberation theology, in which priests and ministers preached against repressive dictatorships and human rights violations.  Romero was deeply concerned about the persecution of the poor, political activists, and the priests and […]

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

On February 10, 1980, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was inaugurated as Brazil’s 35th President, an office that he held through 1994.  Popularly known as Lula, he promoted programs to alleviate poverty and hunger in Brazil.  A self-made man, Lula worked as a peanut seller and shoe shine boy in his youth, and did not […]

A bloody day in Guatemala

On January 31, 1980, a number of Guatemalan indigenous people and their allies occupied Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City.  The people were protesting the killing of civilians by the Guatemalan Army.  The protestors selected the Spanish embassy, since the Spanish were sympathetic to their cause.  The Guatemalan police raided the embassy later that day, and […]

Scott Gomez, First Latino in the National Hockey League

Happy Birthday to Scott Gomez, the first Latino player in the National Hockey League.  Gomez’s paternal grandparents were from Mexico; Gomez was born in Anchorage, Alaska, to a hockey loving papi who encouraged his son’s athleticism.  Gomez earned recognition as rookie of the year at age 20, and has since played professionally for the New […]

Edward Hidalgo, First Latino US Secretary of the Navy

On October 24, 1979, Edward Hidalgo was sworn in as the first Latino US Secretary of the Navy.  Hidalgo was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and immigrated as a young child with his family.  Hidalgo earned a BA at Holy Cross University and law degrees from Columbia and the University of Mexico.  He had a […]

Happy Birthday to Gael Garcia Bernal

Happy Birthday to actor, director and documentary producer Gael Garcia Bernal, born in Guadalajara, Mexico on November 30, 1978.  Bernal studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.  Bernal is a star in Mexican and Spanish cinema; his starring roles in Hollywood films include “The Motorcycle Diaries”, “Babel”, and “Letters to Juliet”.  Bernal has […]

Maria Joselina Garcia Cobos, Miss Honduras 1997

Happy Birthday to Maria Joselina Garcia Cobos, born October 31, 1978, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  In 1997, Garcia won the Miss Honduras beauty pageant, and competed for Miss Universe that year.  Although she did not win the crown, she placed second in the competition for “Best Native Costume”.

“Evita”, the Musical

Fabulous music filled the night air with the debut of “Evita” on June 20, 1978, at Prince Edward Theatre in London.  The rock opera was created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.  The musical centers on the life of Argentina’s Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón.  The story depicts Evita’s […]

Nancy Lopez, Golfer and Entrepreneur

On February 26, 1978, Mexican-American Pro Golfer Nancy Lopez won the Bent Tree Classic in Sarasota, Florida.  This win was the first of her 48 victories in the Ladies Professional Golf Association tournaments. Lopez’s father taught her to play golf, and she was outscoring him by age 11.  She won the New Mexico Women’s Open […]

Carlos Iván Beltrán

Happy birthday to Carlos Iván Beltrán, a leading baseball outfielder from Puerto Rico.  Beltrán has played for the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants.   He was the eighth player in Major League Baseball history to have a 3 2-run HR game (2011).   With his hard earned […]

Daddy Yankee

Happy Birthday to Puerto Rican American Ramón “Raymond” Luis Ayala Rodríguez, born on February 3, 1977.  His stage name is Daddy Yankee.  Rodríguez had dreamed of playing Major League Baseball, until he was permanently injured when he was caught in the crossfire of a barrio gunfight.  The unstoppable Rodríguez is one of the biggest reggaetón […]

Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago became a republic on October 26, 1976.  The nation is comprised of two islands near the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean; Trinidad is the larger island.  Christopher Columbus invaded the island in 1498, when the Taino nations resided there.  The islands remained under Spanish control until 1797, […]

Happy Birthday to Big Papi

Happy Birthday to Big Papi, as Major League Baseball player David Américo Ortiz Arias is known.  Born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Ortiz was encouraged by his father to play baseball and learn English.  His father’s intuition was correct, and Ortiz is regarded as one of the top clutch hitters in MLB history.  […]

Happy Birthday to Plácido Enrique Polanco

Happy Birthday to Major League Baseball player Plácido Enrique Polanco, born on October 10, 1975 in the Dominican Republic.  Polanco attended Miami-Dade Community College, where he starred on the team.  Polanco is regarded as “a consummate professional”, and has won numerous awards for his sports performance.  In 2006, he led the Detroit Tigers to their […]

Manuel Orantes Wins US Open

To the surprise of cheering fans, Manuel Orantes upset leading US tennis player Jimmy Connors to win the US Open.   Orantes’ win was regarded as one of the greatest Grand Slam matches in tennis history.  Orantes was born in Granada, Spain, and has a reputation for being a true gentleman. In 2012, he was inducted into […]

Happy Birthday to Alex Rodriquez

Happy Birthday to children’s book author and baseball superstar Alex Rodriquez, born in New York City.  When Rodriquez was 4, his father moved the family to his home in the Dominican Republic.  After Rodriquez ‘s return to the US, talent scouts spotted him early, and at age 18 Rodriquez was playing in a professional league, […]

Enrique Iglesias, Spanish Singer

Happy Birthday to Enrique Iglesias, born May 8, 1975 in Madrid, Spain, to a Spanish father and Philippine mother. Iglesias grew up in Miami and studied at the University of Miami.  He cites his musical influences as artists such as Dire Straits, John Mellencamp, and Fleetwood Mac. Iglesias has sold over 100 million records worldwide, […]

General Juan Alberto Melgar Castro

On April 22, 1975, General Juan Alberto Melgar Castro took power in an overthrow of the government in Honduras.  His predecessor was implicated in a bribery scandal with the United Fruit Company, a US corporation.  Castro was a graduate of the US School of the Americas, which has educated a number of less than stellar […]

Happy Birthday to “Texican” Eva Longoria

March 15, 1975 is the birthday of Eva Longoria, a “Texican” American actress known for her gorgeous looks and her commitment to charities and organizations supporting Latinos.  Eva’s ancestors arrived in Texas long before it was Texas, emigrating from Spain in 1603.   In 1767 the King of Spain granted almost 4,000 acres along the Rio […]

Premiere of the Comedy Series “Chico and The Man”

US television history was made on September 13, 1974, with the premiere of the comedy series, “Chico and The Man”.  This was the first US television series set in a Mexican American neighborhood. The series featured Jack Albertson as the grumpy owner of a repair garage in East Los Angeles, and Freddie Prinze (born Frederick […]

Equal Educational Opportunities Act 1974

August 21, 1974 is the effective date of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA), a federal law that prohibits discrimination against faculty, staff and students, including racial segregation of students, on the basis of race, color, gender, or national origin.  The law requires a school district to take action to overcome barriers to students’ equal […]

President of Argentina Inaugurated

On July 1, 1974, Isabel Martínez de Perón was inaugurated as President of Argentina.  Perón was the third wife of another former President, Juan Perón.  When her husband died in office, Perón served his term.  She was the first non-royal woman head of state and head of government in the Western Hemisphere.  Unfortunately, during Argentina’s […]

Angel Cordero, Jr., The “King of Saratoga”

Jockey Angel Cordero, Jr., riding the racehorse Cannonade, burst over the finish line on May 4, 1974, winning the 100th Kentucky Derby.  Cordero is a native of Puerto Rico, and the only jockey from The Island inducted into the US Racing Hall of Fame.  Cordero is regarded as one of thoroughbred racing’s lead competitors.   Nicknamed […]

Penélope Cruz Sánchez, Hollywood Actress

Happy Birthday, Penélope!  On April 28, 1974, Penélope Cruz Sánchez made her debut in Madrid, Spain.  Her mother recognized her talent, and enrolled her in dance classes at age five.  Since her acting debut at age 16, the talented actress, dancer and singer has starred in film and television for a worldwide audience.  Cruz is […]

Lau v. Nichols, a landmark in civil rights for the education of students

On January 21, 1974, the US Supreme Court decided on the case Lau v. Nichols, a landmark in civil rights for the education of students.  The Chinese American community in San Francisco argued that since their students with limited English skills were not receiving meaningful language assistance for their education, they were discriminated against according […]

Lau v. Nichols

The US Supreme Court heard arguments for the case of Lau v. Nichols on December 10, 1973.  During this landmark case on bilingual education, the Court promulgated one of its first interpretations of the term “appropriate action.”  The ruling held that a school district based in San Francisco violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 […]

“Los Four” opened at the University of California

An art exhibition created by “Los Four” opened at the University of California at Irvine on November 10, 1973.  The four Latino/Chicano artists were Carlos Almaraz, Roberto de la Rocha, Gilbert Sanchez Lujan and Frank Edward Romero.   The art and photography of these bicultural artists explores themes that range from family and childhood to political and […]

The End of a Democratic Era in Chile

In the terrible blast of bullets and artillery that raged through the Presidential Palace on September 11, 1973, democratically elected President Salvadore Allende was finally defeated.  In 1970 Allende was elected as President of Chile with a leftist coalition called Unidad Popular,or Popular Unity. Allende and his coalition planned dramatic social, economic and political reforms.  In […]

Lee Trevino Hits his First Hole-in-one On a Professional Tour

On August 17, 1973, Mexican American golfing superstar Lee Trevino hit his first hole-in-one on a professional tour.  Growing up in Texas, his impoverished family lived in a house with no running water or electricity – but it was at the back of a field next to a golf course.  Trevino made his first golf […]

Release of the album “Love, Devotion, Surrender” by Carlos Santana

Inner peace through electric guitar was the message from musician and spiritualist Carlos Santana, in the release of the album “Love, Devotion, Surrender”.   Inspired by Indian guru Sri Chinmoy and homage to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, the jazz fusion album was created with British musician John McLaughlin. For Santana, the album was also a reflection […]

“Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez”

On March 21, 1973, the US Supreme Court decided the case of “Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez”.  The ruling concerned a lawsuit brought on behalf of schoolchildren in low income neighborhoods; the school district was 90% Hispanic and 6% African-American. The Supreme Court majority held that a school-financing system based on local property taxes […]

Roberto Clemente

On March 20, 1973, Major League Baseball star Roberto Clemente was posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Clemente, a Puerto Rican, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for his entire 18-year baseball career (1955–72). He won the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1966, and was selected to participate in the league’s All […]

“The Golden Boy”

Happy birthday to Mexican American boxer Oscar De La Hoya, born on February 4, 1973.  De la Hoya is known as “The Golden Boy” for achieving the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games soon after his high school graduation.  De La Hoya has defeated 17 world champions and won ten world titles in six […]

Happy Birthday to Cameron Michelle Diaz

Happy birthday to Cameron Michelle Diaz born on August 30, 1972, in San Diego, California. Her father is Cuban American and her mother has a heritage of German, English, and Native American ancestry.  Diaz had planned to study zoology, but life intervened in the form of a Hollywood party, where as a dazzlingly beautiful teen-ager […]

Happy Birthday to Ariadne Thalia Sodi y Miranda

Happy Birthday to singer and actress Ariadne Thalia Sodi y Miranda born on August 26, 1972, in Mexico City, Mexico.  Thalia, as she is known to her legions of fans worldwide, began her career at age 4. She has starred in a host of entertainment formats:  singing groups, stage musicals, movie and video, TV-variety shows, […]

Happy Birthday to Sofía Margarita Vergara

Happy Birthday to the stunningly beautiful, witty, and talented Sofía Margarita Vergara, born a natural blonde on July 10, 1972 in Barranquilla, Colombia. As a young student, Vergara studied dentistry, and was close to graduation when she was spotted by a photographer – and you’ll never guess what happened next!  She soon launched a modeling […]

Mar y Sol (Sea and Sun) International Pop Concert

The three-day Latino Woodstock began on April 1, 1972, as over 30,000 music fans rocked the Mar y Sol (Sea and Sun) International Pop Concert in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.  Performers included Alice Cooper, Elton John, Dave Brubeck, Billy Joel, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.  The festival experienced the controversy and incidents that characterized other […]

The Queen of Reggaeton

March 4, 1972 is the birthday of Martha Ivelisse Pesante, known professionally as Ivy Queen, or the Queen of Reggaeton, a Puerto Rican music style.  Ivy released her first album with Sony International in 1997, titled “En Mi Emperio”.  Described in the Smithsonian’s American Sabor as “a socially conscious artist with supermodel looks”, Ivy has […]

Pedro Pablo Zamora, Cuban American AIDS Activist

February 29, 1972 was the birthday of Pedro Pablo Zamora, a Cuban American AIDS activist and reality TV star.  Zamora was one of the first openly gay men with AIDS to star in mainstream media.  He brought awareness to the prejudices and issues for HIV/AIDS in international media.  He starred in The Real World, a […]

Romana Acosta Bañuelos US Treasurer 1971

As she raised her hand to take the oath of office on December 17, 1971, Romana Acosta Bañuelos was sworn in as the US Treasurer.  Bañuelos was the first Latina in this position, and was then the highest-ranking Mexican American in the US government.  She served through 1974, and her signature appeared on each US […]

Hugo Banzer Suárez inaugurated President of Bolivia

On August 22, 1971, Hugo Banzer Suárez took power as the President of Bolivia in a military coup.  The politician, military general and dictator was another less than illustrious graduate of the US Defense Department’s School of the Americas.  He was also trained at Fort Hood Armored Cavalry School in Texas and spent time in […]

Happy Birthday to Mary Joe Fernandez

Happy Birthday to tennis star Mary Joe Fernandez, born on August 19, 1971 in the Dominican Republic.  Her family immigrated to Florida when she was an infant.  She was swinging her first tennis racket at age 3. By age 13, she won both the US Tennis Association Championship and the US Clay Court Championship.  Fernandez […]

Paulina Rubio Dosamantes, Singer

Happy Birthday to singer and actress Paulina Rubio Dosamantes, born on June 17, 1971, in Mexico City, Mexico.  Rubio’s passion for music is central to her life.  She recorded her first record at age three. In 2001, she won Billboard’s Latin Album of the Year Award for “Paulina”.  Hugely popular in Mexico, she produced her […]

Bianca Perez Morena de Macias

On March 12, 1971, Rolling Stone Mick Jagger married Nicaraguan Bianca Perez Morena de Macias, later known as Bianca Jagger.  After a few years as a glamorous Studio 54 girl, Bianca transformed herself into an advocate and activist for human rights.  She has campaigned for the cause of peace and social justice across the world, […]

WWF Heavyweight Championship

Pedro Morales beat Ivan Koloff on February 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden, to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.  Morales, a Puerto Rican, is the first man in wrestling history to win all three major men’s titles in the World Wrestling Federation: the WWF Heavyweight Championship, the Intercontinental Championship and the WWF World Tag […]

Latinas in Opera Madame Butterfly

Her elegant, powerful soprano voice first soared through the distinguished Metropolitan Opera House in New York City on December 18, 1970, as Gilda Cruz-Romo performed the title role in “Madame Butterfly”.  Mexican-born Cruz-Romo sang in the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including La Scala in Milan, the Teatro dell’ Opera in Rome, the Vienna Staatsoper, the […]

Death of Three Good Men

The shots cracked through the hot dry summer air, and three men were killed, including Ruben Salazar, a noted Los Angeles Times columnist and local TV station manager.  An anti-war demonstration against the unpopular Vietnam War was raging in Laguna Park in East Los Angeles on August 29, 1970.  The protest organized by the National […]

Misael Pastrana Borrero, President of Colombia

After a close election with a former military dictator, Misael Pastrana Borrero, a lawyer and former business executive, began his term as President of Colombia on August 7, 1970.  A lawyer and business executive, Borrero began his public service as a diplomat to the Vatican, and also served as Colombia’s Ambassador to the US and […]

Gabriela Beatriz Sabatini, Star Athlete

Happy Birthday to Gabriela Beatriz Sabatini, born on May 16, 1970.  As amateur in 1984, Sabatini was youngest player ever to win a round at the US Open.  That same year, she was ranked as the top Junior player in the world.  She turned pro in 1985 at the age of 14, and set another […]

Ruben Quintero, PhD, a Soldier and a Scholar

“Had I been sprawled just a foot more to my left on the morning of March 7, 1970, while receiving hostile fire from somewhere within the canopied, high-land growth of Phuoc Long [Vietnam], my name would be black-marbled on … the Vietnam War Memorial, along with more than 58,000 other names.” This begins the account […]

National Chicano Moratorium Committee 1969

As protests against the unpopular Vietnam War swept the nation, the National Chicano Moratorium Committee organized a rally of 2,000 peace activists on December 19, 1969.  The demonstrators met in Obregon Park in East Los Angeles.  The Committee continued to organize protests, until a serious riot in which several people were killed, including prominent journalist […]

Happy Birthday to Cesar Millan

Happy Birthday to Cesar Millan, known worldwide as “The Dog Whisperer”.  Millan was born on August 27, 1969 in Culiacan, Mexico.  He first began working with dogs while farming with his grandfather.  His goal was to become the best dog trainer in the world and to go to Hollywood, grand goals considering that he had […]

Happy Birthday to Jennifer Lopez

She’s achieved the iconic one word celebrity handle:  J-Lo.  Jennifer Lopez was born in New York City, USA, on July 24, 1969, to parents of Puerto Rican heritage.  Her parents had hoped her career path would be college and law school, but Jennifer chose song, dance and theater.  Her breakout acting role was in the film […]

Braulio Baeza

On June 7, 1969, Panamanian jockey Braulio Baeza, riding the horse Arts and Letters, raced across the finish line to win the 101st Belmont Stakes.   Belmont is a grueling mile and a half long race, and is the final race in the coveted Triple Crown.  Baeza won over 4,000 races in his long career; more […]

UFW Boycott Day Proclamation

On May 10, 1969, the United Farm Workers issued their Boycott Day Proclamation: “We, the striking grape workers of California, join on this International Boycott Day with the consumers across the continent in planning the steps that lie ahead on the road to our liberation…. If this road we chart leads to the rights and […]

Javier Ángel Encinas Bardem, Award-winning Actor

March 1, 1969 is the birthday of Javier Ángel Encinas Bardem, a Spanish actor.  Bardem won an Academy Award for his role in “No Country for Old Men.”  Bardem has also won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA, five Goya awards, two European Film Awards … and we’re running out of […]

Happy Birthday to Sammy Sosa

Happy Birthday to Major League Baseball (MLB) star Sammy Sosa, born on November 12, 1968 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.  His father died when he was a child, and Sousa worked selling oranges and shining shoes to help support his mother and siblings.  At age 16, he negotiated a $3,500 signing bonus with […]

Luis Walter Alvarez, Noble Prize Winner

On October 30, 1968, the Nobel Committee announced that its Prize for Physics was awarded to Luis Walter Alvarez, a native Californian whose grandfather had emigrated from Spain.  Alvarez earned his B Sc, M Sc, and Ph D from the University of Chicago.  According to the Committee, Alvarez achieved the Nobel Prize for his “decisive […]

Lieutenant Colonel Omar Torrijos takes power in Panama

After the election of Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid as President of Panama, the Panamanian National Guard staged a coup against Arias on October 11, 1968.  The coup was led by then Lieutenant Colonel Omar Torrijos, which was the starting point of Torrijos’ career as a politician.  Under the military’s control, Panama initiated land redistribution, encouraged self-sufficiency for […]

Robert Rodriguez, Film Producer

Happy Birthday to film producer Robert Rodriguez, born on June 20, 1968 in Austin, Texas. Rodriguez began his filming career at home, using his father’s camera and his sisters and brothers as actors.  His Mexican-American family starred in “Bedhead”, which won awards and was shown on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).  Rodriguez first gained the attention […]

Juan Romero

On June 6, 1968, gunshots raged through a Los Angeles hotel, and Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.  At his side in his final moments was his admiring supporter, Juan Romero.  Mexican-American Romero worked as a busboy at the hotel.  In an interview with the LA Times decades after the event, Romero recounted that […]

Poor People’s March on Washington, DC (1968)

The Poor People’s March on Washington, DC on May 12, 1968.  The march was planned and organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  (King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.) Latino activist Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez joined the march, and issued his manifesto, “Demandas de la Raza” (Demands of the Race).  […]

US Army Sergeant Roy Perez Benavidez

During intense enemy fire on May 2, 1968, US Army Sergeant Roy Perez Benavidez valiantly rescued his fellow soldiers at Loc Ninh, Vietnam.  (The Vietnam War was from 1955 to 1975.)  Benavidez was severely wounded during the rescue, and courageously continued to carry soldiers to safety and to destroy classified documents, preventing their capture by […]

Civil Rights Act of 1968

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the historic Civil Rights Act of 1968 on April 11 of that year.  This Act, also known as the Fair Housing Act and the Indian [Native American] Civil Rights Act, prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing for race, religion and national origin.  (Gender and physical disabilities […]

Bilingual Education Act of 1968

On January 2, 1968, US President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908 – 1973) signed the Bilingual Education Act.  The Act provided assistance to students with limited English language skills. Johnson taught Mexican children in Texas early in his career, and remembered later, “I shall never forget the faces of the boys and the girls in that little […]

Alberto Daire, Entrepreneur Extraordinaire

Happy Birthday to Alberto Daire, President and COO of Liberty Power, born in Miami, Florida on October 22, 1967.  Daire’s parents were from Cuba; his grandfather emigrated from Lebanon.   Daire earned a BS from the University of Miami in Florida and an MBA from the University of North Carolina.  Daire co-founded Liberty Power in 2001. […]

Ana Maria Perera becomes a US citizen

On August 11, 1967, editor and civil rights activist Ana Maria Perera became a US citizen.  Perera was born in Cuba, and earned her masters and doctorate at the University of Havana.  She began her professional career on the technical staff of the Organization for American States, and later worked at the United Nations. She is […]

Benicio del Toro, Award-winning Actor

Happy Birthday to Benicio Monserrate Rafael del Toro Sánchez, known as Benicio del Toro, born on February 19, 1967.  Toro is of Puerto Rican and Spanish heritage.  He won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA Award for his role as Javier Rodríguez in Traffic (2000). He […]

The CIA interfering in Central America, again

On February 5, 1967, Anastasio Somoza Debayle won the presidential election in Nicaragua.  Somoza’s family had been in power since 1936.  Somoza was a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point.  Human rights groups protested his administration for human rights abuses.  He was overthrown by the Sandinistas (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, or […]

The Cave of Swallows

The Cave of Swallows, one of Mexico’s many beautiful natural tourist attractions, was discovered by humans on December 27, 1966.  The cave is the largest known cave shaft in the world, and could easily accommodate a New York City skyscraper.  It is also home to white-collared swifts and green parakeets that burst into the light […]

Happy Birthday to Maria Canals Barrera

Happy Birthday to actress Maria Canals Barrera born on September 28, 1966 in Miami, Florida.  Canals’ heritage is Cuban and Catalonian.  She has starred in numerous television series and several films.  Canals is best known for her roles in the “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “Camp Rock” and its sequel.  She won ALMA (American Latino […]

Happy Birthday to Maria de la Soledad O’Brien

Happy Birthday to Maria de la Soledad O’Brien, born on September 19, 1966 in Saint James, New York.  O’Brien’s parents were both immigrants; her mother is Afro-Cuban and her father is Irish-Australian. Her complex interracial heritage has influenced her profession.  O’Brien said of her work at CNN, “One of the things that has been a […]

Happy Birthday to Salma Hayek

Happy Birthday to beautiful and talented Salma Hayek, born in Veracruz, Mexico on September 2, 1966.  Her mother is Spanish and her father is Lebanese, part of the Lebanese diaspora that has graced Latin America in the 20th century.  Hayek’s initial inspiration for acting was the Hollywood movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. Since then […]

Happy Birthday to Sandra Bullock

Happy Birthday to Honorary Latina Sandra Bullock, a talented actress and comedienne committed to supporting positive roles for Latinos in media and entertainment.  Bullock was born in Washington, DC, on July 26, 1966, and is a graduate of East Carolina University.  Her charisma and screen presence have made her a box office sensation.   During her […]

Alfred Rascon, US Army Medic

On March 16, 1966, Alfred Rascon, a Latino US Army medic, distinguished himself by a series of extraordinarily courageous acts.  Rascon was assigned as a medic to the 503rd Infantry in the Vietnam War (1955-1975).  During a deadly barrage of enemy gunfire and grenades, he rescued and aided his fellow soldiers.  He was awarded the […]

Happy Birthday to Ruben Sierra

Happy birthday to Major League Baseball outfielder Ruben Sierra, born on October 6, 1965 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.  His life had a rough start; his father was killed in a car accident when Sierra was 4, and his mother worked as a janitor to support her family.  He signed with the Texas Rangers when […]

Passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

With the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the US Congress placed a limitation on the number of immigrants allowed in from the Western Hemisphere, for the first time in our history.  (For those of us who are geographically challenged, the Western Hemisphere includes certain countries in Europe as well as South […]

Bloody Sunday

On March 7, 1965, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and freedom fighters across the US rallied in Selma, Alabama, to march for civil rights, open and fair voter registration, and an end to segregation.  The day became “Bloody Sunday” as the 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police with […]

The Annual Deb Star Ball 1964

Many beautiful, talented women have debuted at the annual Deb Star Ball at the Hollywood Palladium, including Latina actress Jo-Raquel Tejada.  Raquel Welch, as she later became known, graced the Palladium dance floor on 21 November 1964.  Tejada’s father was a Bolivian engineer and her mother was of English and Scottish heritage.  Tejada was born in Chicago, Illinois.  […]

Sonia Marie de León de Vega, Musician, Composer and Conductor

Happy Birthday to musician, composer and conductor Sonia Marie de León de Vega, born on October 16, 1964, in San Antonio, Texas.  Vega was inspired at an early age while listening to her first symphony by the famous German composer, Ludwig Von Beethoven.  Her father, also a musician, bought her a piano for $50 when she was five […]

Mafalda’s Debute

On September 29, 1964, Mafalda made her two-dimensional debut in printed comics.  Mafalda is a precocious six-year old Argentinian girl, who continually plagues her parents with questions on weighty world affairs.  Compassionate Mafalda is genuinely concerned about the fate of humanity and world peace.  The comic strip was very popular in South America and Europe.  […]

Everett Alvarez, War Hero

On August 5, 1964, Navy pilot Everett Alvarez was the first US aviator shot down during the Vietnam War. He endured 8 years and 7 months of brutal captivity as an enemy combatant by the North Vietnamese. Alvarez served on the President’s Task Force to improve Health Care Delivery for our Nation’s Veterans.  He earned several awards, including […]

Happy Birthday to John Leguizamo

Happy Birthday to John Leguizamo, a talented, highly regarded actor, singer, playwright, and producer who works in theater, film and television.  Leguizamo has appeared in over 20 movies, and was the first Latino to have his own TV comedy/ variety show and one man show on Broadway.  Born in Colombia to Puerto Rican and Colombian […]

Happy Birthday Jose Canseco

Happy Birthday to the talented and controversial baseball player Jose Canseco, born in Havana, Cuba on July 2, 1964.  Canseco played for a number of Major League Baseball teams, including the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Chicago White Sox.  In June 1990 Canseco signed a five-year contract for $23.5 million; at that time, […]

Happy Birthday to Benjamin Bratt

Happy Birthday to Benjamin Bratt, a Hollywood mega star and producer for film and television.  Bratt’s father was German American and his mother was Quechua-Peruvian. Bratt graduated from the University of California and attended the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.  As a Latino, he struggled with stereotyping; as he said in an interview, “On […]

Rita Moreno, Star Civil Rights Activist

On August 9, 1963, civil rights leaders marched through downtown Los Angeles, California to protest the city’s failure to integrate its schools.  Among them was superstar Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican actress, singer, dancer and political activist.  This was not Moreno’s first contribution to the civil rights movement; she also supported campaigns led by the […]

Happy Birthday to Republican Governor Brian Edward Sandoval

Happy Birthday to Republican Governor Brian Edward Sandoval, born on August 5, 1963, in Redding, California.  When he took office in 2011, Sandoval was the first Hispanic elected to this post in Nevada.  Sandoval was also the first Latino in Nevada elected as Attorney General and appointed as a US district judge. Sandoval earned a BA […]

Happy Birthday to Demián Bichir Nájera

Happy Birthday to movie star Demián Bichir Nájera, born on August 1, 1963 in Mexico City, Mexico.   His family is in the entertainment business, and Nájera first traveled to the US with an acting troop at age 14.  While he has been a celebrity in Mexico, his first big splash in el Norte was the […]

Hector Viveros Lee, Teacher, Artist, and Author

Happy Birthday to teacher, artist, and children’s book author Hector Viveros Lee, born in Calexico, California to Mexican immigrant parents.  Lee earned his BA at St. John’s College and his BFA at the Academy of Art College.  Lee has written and illustrated for children’s books and magazines.  He said of his heritage and his work, “On […]

Day 13, Final Day of 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

Day 13, the final day of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  US Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the President’s brother, personally delivered the President’s letter to the Russian ambassador in Washington.  The formal agreement was to refrain from attacking or invading Cuba, and the US nuclear weapons in Turkey were quietly dismantled in the following months.  […]

Day 12, 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

October 27, Day 12 of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  As the world continued to wait and worry, American planes and ships continued to fly into Cuban skies and seas.  On October 27, a US Air Force spy plane was shot down over Cuba, and the pilot was killed.  As then US Secretary of Defense, […]

Day 9, 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

Day 9 of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The Russian leader during the Crisis was Nikita Khrushchev, and he responded directly to President Kennedy’s ultimatum to remove the Russian missiles in a letter of October 24, 1962.  Khrushchev had a much different perspective than Kennedy as to the rights of sovereign nations, including the rights […]

Day 8, 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

Day 8 of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  The US and Russian governmental delegations argued over the crisis at the United Nations.  The blockade of Cuba had started, with US ships and planes encircling the island. President Fidel Castro of Cuba responded on television to Kennedy’s broadcast from the previous day.   Many voices called for […]

Day 7, 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

Day 7 of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  In a dramatic televised address to the nation, President John F. Kennedy spoke to the American people about the crisis.  Kennedy and his advisors had decided to blockade Cuba until the Russians removed the nuclear missiles that they had positioned in Cuba.   People feared for the worst, […]

Day 1 of 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

Day 1 of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  The US CIA had invaded Cuba in 1961, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government.  The following year, the Russian government, which was an ally of the Cubans, decided to place nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter further US invasions.  (And the fact that the US […]

National Farm Workers Association is Founded

On September 30, 1962, Mexican-American labor leaders César Chávez and Dolores Huerta co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. Ms. Huerta’s tagline, !Si, Se Puede! was later re-purposed in the 2012 Obama Presidential Campaign.  Throughout its history, the union has campaigned for fair wages and humane working conditions for American workers […]

Debut of “Sabado Gigante”

Spanish language television history was made on August 8, 1962, with the debut of “Sabado Gigante” (Giant Saturday) on Chilean television. The creation of Chilean native Don Francisco (born Mario Kreutzberger Blumenfeld), this television show is one of the most popular in the world.  The variety show features comedy, dance, music, and audience contests. In 1986, […]

Happy Birthday to Cecilia Munoz

Happy Birthday to civil rights activist and public servant Cecilia Munoz, born on July 27, 1962, to Bolivian immigrant parents.  Her father attended the University of Michigan to study automotive engineering and Cecilia Munoz also graduated from this University.  Munoz earned her MA degree at the University of California at Berkeley.  She served at the […]

Celia Cruz, The Legend

Celia Cruz’s legendary voice rang through Carnegie Hall for the first time on June 18, 1962.  Cuban born Cruz was the first Latina to grace this famous stage.  The talented Cruz introduced North Americans to a repertoire of Latin music, singing afros, rumbas, guarachas, sones, tangos, boleros, mariachis, flamenco, guaguancó, and santeria chants.  Immensely popular, […]

Queen of Spain (1962)

On May 14, 1962, Princess Sophia of Greece married King Juan Carlos I of Spain, and the couple reigned in Spain until 2014.  Juan Carlos and Sophia have governed during turbulent times.  The King managed the transition from Franco’s dictatorship to a constitutional government in the mid-1970s.  The couple has three children and eight grandchildren.  […]

Bay of Pigs (Playa Girón), Cuba

In the dark tropical night of April 17, 1962, 1,400 Cuban Americans landed at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Girón), Cuba, in a disastrously unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro (another example of the US “meddling” in foreign elections).  The Cuban Americans were political exiles trained and armed by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  […]

Taco Bell

On March 21, 1962, North American Glen Bell founded Taco Bell in Downey, California, and the North American public has confused its offerings with Hispanic food ever since.  Taco Bell serves fast food tacos, burritos, and other menu items to more than 2 billion consumers annually in 5,800 restaurants in the US.  Over 80% of Taco […]

President John F Kennedy and Puerto Rico

December 15, 1961 President John F Kennedy and his entourage landed in Puerto Rico on December 15, 1961, the first stop in his visit to Latin America.   As the first Catholic President and the first US President to visit Puerto Rico, the charismatic Kennedy received a warm welcome.  As he stated in his opening remarks, […]

Happy Birthday to Irene Lailin Sáez Conde

Happy Birthday to Irene Lailin Sáez Conde, the politician, governor and presidential candidate born on December 13, 1961 in Caracas, Venezuela. Sáez’s first international election victory was at age 19, when the judges of the Miss Universe Pageant voted her as the winner in 1981. After her reign, she studied political science at the Central […]

Happy Birthday to Graciela (Chela) Quintana

Happy Birthday to Graciela (Chela) Quintana, the first Venezuelan woman to win a professional golf tournament in the US.  Quintana won the Morgan Town Classic in 1992.  She won the Venezuelan Amateur Championship eight times, and was a tour player on the US-based LPGA and the European and Futures circuits.  Injuries curtailed her career, and […]

Cuban Missile Crisis: Fallout Shelters

On October 6, 1961, US President John F. Kennedy advised Americans to build fallout shelters to protect them from nuclear radiation.   The Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization published a 32-page guide to building a cozy Do-It-Yourself family shelter that was really supposed to protect people from nuclear devastation. Our coverage of the 13-day Cuban […]

“The revolution has no time for elections.” ?Really?

On May 1, 1961, Fidel Castro officially abolished multiparty elections and declared that Cuba was a socialist state.  Castro stated that, “The revolution has no time for elections. There is no more democratic government in Latin America than the revolutionary government.”  Really?!  A BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) journalist reported that Castro’s revolution seems to be […]

Happy Birthday, George Lopez

Happy Birthday, dear George, Happy Birthday to you.  The very talented writer, producer, movie and television star George Lopez was born in California on April 23, 1961.  He was the leading comedy man in the “George Lopez” show from 2002-2007 on ABC and the late-night talk show host of “Lopez Tonight” from 2009-2011.  Lopez had […]

The time of the Trujillo dictatorship

The time of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic was years of tears, blood, torture and murder.  Over 50,000 people were killed during his 30 year reign of terror.  Among the few courageous souls who opposed the brutal regime were the four Mirabel sisters.  The sisters were from a comfortable, upper class family, and […]

Happy Birthday to Elizabeth Avellán Veloz

Happy Birthday to Elizabeth Avellán Veloz, an American film producer born in Caracas, Venezuela on November 8, 1960.  Her family moved to Houston when she was a child, and Avellán attended Rice University.  A leader of the film production scene in Texas Hollywood (the city of Austin), Avellán was a co-founder of Troublemaker Studios.  With […]

Happy Birthday to Janet Murguia, Lawyer and Activist

Happy Birthday to politico, lawyer, and human rights activist Janet Murguia.  All American Murguia was born in Kansas City, Kansas, and currently served as president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).  Applauded by most and demonized by some, NCLR is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the US. Her Mexican […]

Happy Birthday to Antonio Banderas

Happy Birthday to the talented Antonio Banderas, actor, singer, producer, and director, born on August 10, 1960 in Malaga, Spain.  He began acting in street theaters at age 14.  As he recounted in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “I remember I couldn’t even (afford to) take a bus, so I had to walk six miles […]

Juan Marichals Debute in Major League Baseball

On July 19, 1960, Juan Marichal debuted in the Major Leagues by pitching a one hitter with 12 strikeouts against the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Dominican-born Marichal played with the New York Giants, San Francisco Giants, and Boston Red Sox.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.

Happy Birthday Anna Maria Arias

July 12, 1960 was the birthday of Anna Maria Arias, a trailblazing Latina entrepreneur and media mogul, born in San Bernardino, California.  Arias was the founder of Latina Style magazine, the first North American magazine for professional Hispanic women.  Arias’ mission was to provide a positive image of Hispanic Americans, focusing on their accomplishments and […]

Loretta Sanchez, US Congresswoman

Happy Birthday to Loretta Sanchez, US Congresswoman, entrepreneur, and small business owner.  Sanchez represents the 46th district in California.  She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants; her father was a machinist and her mother was a secretary.  Sanchez earned her BA with a scholarship to Chapman University and her MBA at American University.  After working […]

Happy Birthday Carlos Ismael Noriega

Happy Birthday to NASA astronaut and US Marine Corps officer Carlos Ismael Noriega, born on October 8, 1959, in  Lima, Peru.  Noriega earned a BS at the University of Southern California and two MS degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School.  During Noriega’s career at NASA, he accomplished two spaceflight missions, logging over 481 hours in […]

Fidel Castro, Premier of Cuba 1959

On February 16, 1959 Fidel Castro became the Premier of Cuba after the dictator Fulgenicio Batista was overthrown on January 1.  The CIA and US government attempted to overthrow and undermine Castro for decades through blockades, trade embargoes, and invasion, but Castro and his family ruled Cuba through April 2018. El 16 de febrero 1959 […]

Rigoberta Menchú

Happy Birthday to Rigoberta Menchú, a Quiché Indian woman, born on January 9, 1959 in Guatemala.   Menchú is a civil rights activist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1992 her work on behalf of the indigenous people of Guatemala.  The struggle for indigenous rights has continued since 1492.

Alicia Armendariz, Musician and Singer

Happy Birthday to musician and singer Alicia Armendariz, one of the first women in California’s punk music scene to star as the lead singer of a punk rock group.  Known professionally as Alicia Bag, Armendariz was born in East Los Angeles, California; her parents were Mexican immigrants.  Her musical expression is described as “estilo bravio” […]

Happy birthday to Madeline Stowe-Mora

Happy birthday to Madeline Stowe-Mora, born on August 18, 1958 in Eagle Rock, California.  Her mother emigrated from Costa Rica.  Mora graduated from the University of Southern California film school, intent on being a film director.  She starred in miniseries such as “The Gangster Chronicles” and “Blood and Orchids”; her breakout role was 1992’s “Last […]

Happy Birthday to Alberto Salazar

Happy Birthday to Alberto Salazar, one of the USA’s most talented marathon runners, born in Havana, Cuba on August 7, 1958.  His father fought in Castro’s rebel army, but became disillusioned with Castro and Che Guevera, and immigrated to Florida in 1960.  Salazar trained at the University of Oregon, where his coach instructed him to […]

Happy Birthday to Cristina Garcia

Happy Birthday to Cristina Garcia, a Cuban born journalist and novelist, whose family immigrated to the US when she was 2 years old.   Garcia earned her BA from Barnard College and completed graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University.  She started as a journalist with Time Magazine.   Her first novel, “Dreaming in Cuba”, was nominated for […]

Happy Birthday to Jorge Ramos

Happy Birthday to outspoken journalist, writer, and highly successful news anchor, Jorge Ramos. Ramos was born on March 16, 1958 in Mexico City, Mexico. After a dispute over censorship on social issues in Mexico, he immigrated in 1983 to the Republic of California. He has built his career working for prestigious companies such as Univisión. […]

‘West Side Story’ Premiers on Broadway

As the curtain finally closed, cheers and applause rang through New York’s Winter Garden Theatre as the beloved musical “West Side Story” premiered on Broadway. The play is homage to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, set in the 1950s with New York street gangs.  Tony, a gang member, falls in love with Maria, the brother of a […]

We all loved Lucy Ricardo

May 6, 1957 was the final series broadcast of the “I Love Lucy” show on CBS television.  The show started its run in 1951, and featured Lucille Ball and her Cuban born real-life husband, Desi Arnaz.  “I Love Lucy” became a huge success as North American viewers laughed at the stories and antics of Lucy […]

Saundra Santiago, Actress

Happy Birthday to actress Saundra Santiago, the talented daughter of a Cuban father and Puerto Rican mother.  Santiago was born in The Bronx in New York on April 13, 1957.  Her family later moved to Florida, where Santiago was an All-American girl:  cheerleader, homecoming queen, and class president.  After earning her MFA from Southern Methodist […]

V is for Vanna

Take a guess at the name of a Hispanic that you didn’t know is Hispanic, and we’ll give you a “V” and two “N”s.  Okay, since this is not an interactive app, we’ll tell you that today is the birthday of Vanna White, born Vanna Marie Rosch, the hostess of the popular TV show, Wheel […]

Gilberto Hernandez, Latino Graphic Novelist, Comic Book Writer

Happy Birthday to Gilberto Hernandez, a Hispanic American graphic novelist, comic book writer and illustrator, born on February 1, 1957.  His work includes “Palomar”, set in a fictional Central American town, and “Love and Rockets”, an exploration of contemporary Latino culture in the US.  Hernandez is a USA Rasmussen Fellow.  Hernandez and his brother were […]

Mexican-American Pro Golfer Nancy Lopez

January 6, 1957 is the birthday of Mexican-American golfer Nancy Lopez.  Lopez began playing golf at age 8, and was the women’s champion in her home state of New Mexico by age 12.  She won five professional tournaments in a row, a feat unrivaled in women’s golf, and won 48 LPGA Tour events during her […]

Happy Birthday to Lorraine López, Professor, Poet and Writer

Happy Birthday to professor, poet and writer Lorraine López, born on September 6, 1956 in Los Angeles, California.  López earned her BA at California State University and her MA and Ph D at the University of Georgia. Known for her insightful cross cultural literature, her works include ‘Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories‘ and […]

Happy Birthday to Monica Cecilia Lozano

Happy Birthday to Monica Cecilia Lozano, born in Los Angeles on July 21, 1956.  Lozano earned a ranking among the 100 most influential Hispanic women by Hispanic Business Magazine in 1987 and 1992.  The newspaper editor and social activist has received numerous awards for her contributions and public service for human rights.  She has been […]

Archbishop Patrick F. Flores

Archbishop Patrick F. Flores was first ordained as a priest on May 26, 1956. Flores’ parents were Mexican immigrants and migrant farm workers living in Ganado, Texas.  He was the first Mexican-American Catholic Archbishop in the US.  Flores helped to establish the National Foundation of Mexican American Vocations and the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund.  He […]

Happy Birthday to Andy Garcia, Award-Winning Actor

On April 12, 1956, Andy Garcia was born in Havana, Cuba, and immigrated to the US with his family at age 5.  The acclaimed actor grew up in Miami, learning English as a second language.  He studied acting at Florida International University and performed in regional theater productions until he moved to Hollywood in 1978.  […]

Miguel Bosé, Spanish Musician and Actor

The amazing voice of Miguel Bosé, Spanish musician and actor, was first heard on April 2, 1956, during his birth in Aries, Panama.  His mother was an Italian actress and his father was a Spanish bullfighter.  The famous Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso, was his godfather, and North American writer Ernest Hemmingway was a family friend.  […]

Happy Birthday to Tish Hinojosa

Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter, and social activist Tish Hinojosa, born in San Antonio, Texas, on December 6, 1955.  Hinojosa began her singing career with a $20 Mexican guitar, a gift from her mother that she still treasures.  Hinojosa’s music reflects her bicultural heritage in the borderlands of Texas and Mexico.  Her music is described […]

Happy Birthday to Alberto Gonzalez

Happy Birthday to Alberto Gonzalez, born on August 4, 1955, in Houston, Texas. Gonzalez and his seven brothers and sisters grew up in a two-bedroom house without hot water or a telephone. Gonzalez graduated from Rice College and received his law degree from Harvard University. Gonzalez worked at a law firm in Texas, and began his meteoric […]

Happy Birthday to Jimmy Smits

Happy Birthday to the talented Jimmy Smits, born on July 9, 1955 in New York City.  His mother was Puerto Rican and his father was Surinamese (check your map, that country is located in South America).   Smits grew up in Brooklyn, though he spent a few years in Puerto Rico as a child.  The Emmy […]

Vicki Lynn Ruiz, Writer, Scholar, and Professor

Happy Birthday to writer, scholar, professor and activist Vicki Lynn Ruiz.  Ruiz was born in Atlanta, Georgia to a Mexican mother and a North American father, whose parents disowned him for marrying a Mexican. Ruiz earned her master’s degree and doctorate in history from Stanford University.   Her doctoral dissertation studied Mexican American cannery workers and […]

Sandra Cisneros, Writer

Happy Birthday to acclaimed writer Sandra Cisneros, born on December 20, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois.  Her mother was Mexican American and her father was an immigrant from Mexico who was often nostalgic for his home country.  As a result, Cisneros and her family moved between Mexico and Chicago on numerous occasions.  The sense of displacement […]

Norma Cantú, Lawyer, Educator, Social Activist

Happy Birthday to educator, lawyer, social activist and politico Norma Cantú, born on November 2, 1954 in Brownsville, Texas.  Cantú earned a double major BA from the University of Texas and then a law degree from Harvard by age 22.  She worked as an attorney with MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund).  In […]

Happy Birthday to Cesar Rosas, Musician and Rock Star

Happy Birthday to Cesar Rosas, guitarist, singer, and member of the iconic Mexican American rock band, Los Lobos (The Wolves).  Rosas and his fellow band members met in high school, and their band has entertained and inspired audiences for over 30 years.  Their music is a unique blend of Mexican folk and American rock, blues, […]

Creation of the Piña Colada

With a shake and splash of rum, the famed national drink of Puerto Rico, the piña colada, was officially created on August 16, 1954. The momentous event occurred at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico by cocktail artist and bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero. Monchito had been tasked with creating a new signature […]

Happy Birthday to Lincoln Díaz-Balart

Happy Birthday to politician Lincoln Díaz-Balart, born in Havana, Cuba on August 13, 1954. When he was four years old, his family fled from Cuba in 1959. Unlike today, Balart and his family were welcomed in El Norte; no paperwork for DACA, DAPA, or DREAMers was required. Balart was educated in Europe and the US, earning his […]

Sonia Sotomayor, Latina Supreme Court Justice

Happy Birthday to Sonia Sotomayor, born on June 25, 1954.  Sotomayor was appointed by President Barack Obama as the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.   Her Puerto Rican parents lived in the Bronx; her father died when she was 9 years old.   Her mother was determined to give her and her brother an education.  Sotomayor believes […]

“Operations Wetback” (Yes, really)

“Operations Wetback” began on June 17, 1954.  Over a 1,000 Border Patrol agents and 750 agricultural agents rounded up tens of thousands of Mexican laborers across the southwest, and deported them by bus, train and boat.   Hundreds of thousands more left voluntarily.   Allegations and reports of abuse, harassment and beatings were widespread. “Espalda Mojada operaciones” […]

Carolyn Curiel, Presidential Speechwriter

Happy Birthday to Carolyn Curiel, born on June 9, 1954 in Hammond, Indiana, to Mexican immigrant parents.  Her father was a steelworker and her mother was a housewife.  Curiel graduated from Purdue University, and worked as a sports reporter.  She expanded her career into political journalism with notable publication such as United Press International, the […]

“Salt of the Earth”

March 14, 1954, was the release date of the classic movie, “Salt of the Earth”.  The movie was based on the long, difficult strike in 1951 against the Empire Zinc Company in New Mexico.  The actual miners and their families starred in the film.  The producers, director, and the movie were blacklisted during the 1950’s […]

Hernandez v. Texas: Impartial Juries

On January 11, 1954, arguments were heard at the US Supreme Court for the landmark case, Hernandez v. Texas.   The case centered on Pedro Hernandez, a Mexican agricultural worker, who was convicted of murder.  Hernandez’s legal team argued that the jury could not be impartial unless members of non-Caucasian races were allowed to participate.  The […]

Happy Birthday to Congressman Luis Gutiérrez

Happy Birthday to Luis Gutiérrez, born in Chicago, Illinois on December 10, 1953, to Puerto Rican parents.  Gutiérrez graduated from Northeastern Illinois University, and worked as a teacher and social worker for 10 years.  He served on the Chicago City Council for a number of years.  In 1992, Gutiérrez won his Congressional race with 78% […]

The Motorcycle Diaries

With happy shouts of farewell and the roar of a motorcycle engine, one of the best known road trips of the 20th century began.  Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Alberto Granado left Argentina on July 7, 1953.  They traveled over 5,000 miles in four months, through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El […]

Alfred Molina, Actor

Happy Birthday to Alfred Molina, a British born American actor with a Spanish father.  One of Molina’s greatest bursts of artistic inspiration was fellow Brit Anthony Hopkins.  In an interview with “Back Stage West”, Molina recalled that, “the way he [Hopkins] worked, his demeanor onstage–he looked like a regular guy. And I thought, People like […]

Maria Robledo Montecel

Happy Birthday to Maria Robledo Montecel, born on January 14, 1953.  Montecel is a dedicated educator who has devoted her life to improving educational opportunities for minorities and the poor.  Montecel works to address the steep high school dropout rate among young Latino students.  She earned an M Ed from Antioch College, and a Ph […]

We all loved Lucy Arnaz

January 13, 1953 was a momentous day in history, as popular US President and war hero Dwight Eisenhower was sworn into office.  But according to the New York Times, more Americans tuned in to watch the birth of “little Ricky” (Desi Arnaz, Jr.) on the even more popular “I Love Lucy” show than Eisenhower’s inauguration.  […]

Judith Ortiz Cofer, Award-winning writer

Happy birthday to Puerto Rican writer Judith Ortiz Cofer, born on February 24, 1952.   Cofer’s writing focuses on the experience of Latinas in the US.  She writes poetry, short stories, autobiography, essays, and young-adult fiction.  One of her books, The Meaning of Consuelo, won the 2003 Americas Award.  She was awarded a PEN/Martha Albrand Special […]

“I Love Lucy”

We all loved American comedienne Lucille Ball and her Cuban-born husband, Desi Arnaz, who premiered in their wildly popular, long-running TV series, “I Love Lucy” on October 15, 1951.  “I Love Lucy” was the most watched show in the US for four of its six seasons.  In their roles of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, the two […]

Organization of Central American States, 1951

On October 14, 1951, the governments of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua signed a treaty creating the Organization of Central American States (Organización de Estados Centroamericanos, ODECA).  The purpose of ODECA was to promote regional cooperation, integrity and unity in Central America.  ODECA evolved into the Central American Integration System (SITA), with the ratification […]

Happy Birthday to Oscar Jerome Hijuelos

Happy Birthday to novelist Oscar Jerome Hijuelos, born in New York City on August 24, 1951. Hijuelos is the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, which he was awarded for his story, “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.”   This book was adapted as a movie in 1992 and as a Broadway […]

Sidney McNeill Guittierez, Astronaut

Happy birthday to US astronaut, Sidney McNeill Guittierez, born June 27, 1951, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.   Guittierez is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and received an MA from Webster College.  He accomplished two space flights and has logged over 488 hours in space.  After retiring from the Air Force, Guittierez returned to […]

Roberto Durán, Boxing Sensation

Happy Birthday to the boxing sensation, Roberto Durán, born in Chorillo, Panama on June 16, 1951. Known as the “Hands of Stone”, Durán is one of the few boxers in the world to win four world championship boxing titles — one each of the lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight, and middleweight titles.  He was the only […]

The First Pan American Games (1951)

The first Pan American Games were held on February 25, 1951 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  To the cheers of tens of thousands of spectators, thousands of athletes throughout the Americas participate in the Pan Am Games in diverse sports that include archery, basketball, water polo, volleyball, and triathlons. The games are held every four years.  […]

Benny Ayala, Major League Baseball Star

Benigno Ayala Felix, known as Benny Ayala to Major League Baseball fans, was born on February 7, 1951 in Puerto Rico.  Ayala’s 10 season career ran from 1974 to 1985.  He played outfield, first base, and designated hitter for the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians.  Ayala played in the […]

Happy Birthday to Randy Castillo

The beat began in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on December 18, 1950, when rock musician Randy Castillo made his birthday debut.  His father was a mariachi musician who encouraged his talent, and Castillo was selected for Arizona’s All-State symphonic band during his senior year of high school.  After playing in the local Arizona music scene, he […]

Happy Birthday to Lorraine Garcia-Nakata

Happy Birthday to artist, art professor, and museum director Lorraine Garcia-Nakata, born in Yuba City, California, on November 14, 1950. Garcia- Nakata’s grandparents immigrated to the US in 1914 during the Mexican Revolution.  Garcia-Nakata has served the American public and the arts for over 30 years.  Her professional roles include Commissioner with the San Francisco Arts Commission, […]

Puerto Rican Heros in the Korean War

On September 30, 1950, the 65th Infantry Regiment, an infantry regiment of soldiers who were all from Puerto Rico arrived at Pusan, Korea, to fight for their country in the Korean War.  Puerto Ricans volunteered in huge numbers for the war.  The Puerto Rican regiment fought in nine major campaigns over three years, earning medals and […]

Happy Birthday to Stephanie Gonzalez

Happy Birthday to politician and public servant Stephanie Gonzales, born on August 12, 1950 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Gonzales’ father emigrated from Mexico; her mother’s family has been in the state for over 400 years.  Gonzales graduated from the Loretto Academy for Girls in Santa Fe.  Gonzales has served in State Government for over […]

Happy Birthday to Paul Espinosa, Scholar and Songwriter

Happy Birthday to documentary film producer and anthropologist Paul Espinosa, born on August 8, 1950, in Alamosa, Colorado.  Espinosa earned a BA from Brown University and an MA and Ph D from Stanford.  He has created numerous award winning documentaries and films, funded by organizations such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment […]

Constitutional Government for Puerto Rico

On June 8, 1950, the US Senate approved the Public Law 81-600, allowing Puerto Rico to establish its own constitutional government.   Antonio Fernós-Isern served as president of the Constitutional Convention, which formulated the status of Commonwealth or Estado Libre Asociado.  A referendum was later held in Puerto Rico, with 76.5% of voters approving of the […]

Sônia Maria Campos Braga, Actress

Happy Birthday to Sônia Maria Campos Braga, born on June 8, 1950, in Maringá, Brazil.  Her father was Afro-Portuguese and her mother was Euro-Native American; the result is a stunning mix of exotic beauty and talent.  Her father died when she was 8, and Braga worked as a typist at age 14 to support her […]

Constitutional Government for Puerto Rico

On June 8, 1950, the US Senate approved the Public Law 81-600, allowing Puerto Rico to establish its own constitutional government.   Antonio Fernós-Isern served as president of the Constitutional Convention, which formulated the status of Commonwealth or Estado Libre Asociado.  A referendum was later held in Puerto Rico, with 76.5% of voters approving of the […]

Franklin R. Chang-Díaz, Astronaut

Happy birthday to Franklin R. Chang-Díaz, a Costa Rican-born engineer, physicist, and NASA astronaut.  Díaz immigrated to the US when he was eighteen, and learned English during his senior year of high school.  His goal was to become an astronaut.   He earned a BA in mechanical engineering from the University of Connecticut and a Ph […]

Julia Alvarez, Award Winning Writer

Happy birthday to writer, poetry and essayist Julia Alvarez. Alvarez was born in New York City on March 27, 1950; her parents were political refugees from the Dominican Republic. Her more prominent novels include “How the García Girls Lost Their Accents” (1991), “In the Time of the Butterflies”(1994), and “Yo!” (1997). Alvarez’s work centers on […]

Happy Birthday to Richard Carmona

Happy Birthday to an officer and a gentleman, and a doctor, Richard Carmona.  Carmona was raised in Spanish Harlem, and dropped out of high school.  He joined the US Army, where he earned his GED high school equivalency.  His Army career included service in the Vietnam War, and he was honored with numerous awards for […]

Diana Garcia Prichard, Scientist and Educator

Happy Birthday to scientist and education activist Diana Garcia Prichard, born in San Francisco, California on October 27, 1949.  Prichard’s mother was an immigrant from Nicaragua and her father was a Texan of Mexican and Native American heritage.  After raising her two children, Prichard returned to school, earning a BS in chemistry/ physics at California State […]

Happy Birthday to Pedro Almodóvar Caballero, Award Winning Film Artist

Happy Birthday to brilliant and iconoclastic Spanish film maker Pedro Almodóvar Caballero, born on 25 September 1949 in Calzada de Calatrava, Spain.  Almodóvar stated that his strong-willed mother influenced his art, and his female characters are strong and eccentric.  He began shooting with a super-8 film camera  that he’d saved up for, and started building […]

Felix Longoria, World War II Hero

On February 16, 1949, Mexican American soldier and World War II hero Felix Longoria was finally laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.  Felix Longoria was killed in action in the Philippines.   According to his widow, Beatrice, the local funeral home director in Texas refused to allow services for Longoria on his premises, because “the […]

Happy Birthday to Ruben Blades

Happy birthday to actor, singer, politician, poet and social activist Ruben Blades, born in Panama City, Panama on July 16, 1948. After achieving a degree in law and economics, his love of music inspired him to take a job in the mailroom of a record company in New York.  In true American style, his big […]

Antonia Hernández, MALDEF President

Happy Birthday to Antonia Hernández, born on May 30, 1948 in Coahuila, Mexico.  Hernández immigrated to the US with her family when she was 8 years old.  Her mother stated in an interview with Parent magazine that, “In my time, women didn’t have the freedom that women have today, but I wanted my daughters to […]

Frank del Olmo, Writer and Editor

May 18, 1948 is the birthday of Frank del Olmo, writer, editor, and columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Olmo earned a BS in journalism from California State University.  He raised awareness of Latino issues and advocated increased hiring of Latino reporters.  Olmo received an Emmy Award for The Unwanted (1975), a documentary about the […]

Esmeralda Santiago, Author, Editor and Documentary Filmmaker

Happy Birthday to author, editor and documentary filmmaker Esmeralda Santiago, born on May 17, 1948 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Santiago immigrated to the US with her family when she was 11 years old.  She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. Santiago’s writings capture the emotional, psychological […]

“La Violencia” (1948)

On April 9, 1948, populist politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala was assassinated in Colombia, igniting riots in the streets and 10 years of political unrest known as “La Violencia”.  Ayala was a former Education and Labor Minister, and was elected Mayor of Colombia’s capital city of Bogota.  Gaitán earned national prestige through his congressional investigation […]

Carlos Salinas de Gortari, President of Mexico

April 3, 1948 is the birthday of Carlos Salinas de Gortari.  He was born in the small town of Agualeguas, Mexico, about 25 miles south of the US border.  In the mid-1970s Salinas studied at Harvard, where he earned a doctoral degree in political economy and government.  Salinas was elected President of Mexico in 1988, […]

The American GI Forum

On March 26, 1948, Dr. Hector P. Garcia founded the American GI Forum, with the motto, “Education is Our Freedom and Freedom should be Everybody’s Business”.  Dr. Garcia formed AGIF to address the needs of Mexican American veterans of World War II (1939 – 1945), who were not receiving medical treatment.  AGIF expanded its mission […]

Mercedes Ruehl, Award-winning Actress

Happy birthday to Mercedes Ruehl, a Cuban-American theater, television and film actress born on February 28, 1948.  Ruehl won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1991 for her memorable role as the buoyant, witty businesswoman in “The Fisher King”.  She has also won the American Comedy Award, a Boston Society of Film Critics […]

“They are just deportees”

On January 28, 1948, a plane crashed at Los Gatos Canyon, California, carrying 28 deportees and 4 North Americans from California to Mexico.  Folk musician Woody Guthrie wrote a protest song about the event, concerning the racist mistreatment of the deportees.  The song was recorded by many artists, including Dolly Parton and Judy Collins.  The […]

Happy Birthday to Dilma Vana Rousseff

Happy Birthday to Dilma Vana Rousseff, the first woman elected as President of Brazil.  Rouseff was born on December 14, 1947 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  Her road to political success was difficult.  As a young woman, she joined a political activist group and was jailed for three years, and tortured while in prison.  In 2002, […]

Happy Birthday to Bill Richardson

Happy birthday to Congressman, Governor, college instructor, diplomat, and baseball player Bill Richardson, born in Pasadena, California on November 15, 1947.  His mother was of Mexican heritage, and he spent his early years with his family in Mexico City.  Richardson graduated from Tufts University with a BA and an MA.  Richardson’s career has been in […]

Happy Birthday to María Brito

Happy Birthday to sculptor, painter, and professor María Brito, born in Havana, Cuba, on October 10, 1947.  At age 13, Brito and her brother were smuggled out of Cuba to the US in a program known as “Pedro Pan”.  Brito earned two arts degrees, in art education from the University of Miami and in fine […]

Happy Birthday to Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Scientist

Happy birthday to Lydia Villa-Komaroff, an award winning molecular biologist born on August 7, 1947, in Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Villa is of Spanish and Mexican heritage.  Villa earned her Ph D in cellular biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has taught and conducted research at several prominent hospitals, including Harvard Medical School and […]

Edward James Olmos

Happy birthday to Edward James Olmos, a Mexican-American actor and director born on February 24, 1947.  Olmos’ work includes Battlestar Galactica, Miami Vice, Stand and Deliver, Selena, and Blade Runner.  He was a key actor in the series American Family Journey of Dreams.  In an interview with PBS, Olmos characterized his role as Jess as […]

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzáles

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzáles (1928 –2005), made his professional debut on January 23, 1947. Gonzáles was a Mexican American boxer, poet, and political activist.  In 1966, Gonzáles founded La Cruzada Para La Justicia (The Crusade for Justice), to encourage Hispanics to get involved in politics to improve their lives economically and socially.  His epic poem, Yo […]

Miguel Pinero, Playwright

Puerto Rican playwright Miguel Pinero was born in Gurabo, Puerto Rico on December 19, 1946.  As a youngster, he immigrated with his family to the US. He attended school in New York City, and earned his high school equivalency.  After a stint in prison, he published his gritty, realistic work, “Short Eyes”, about the killing […]

Happy Birthday to Linda Ronstadt

Happy Birthday to the wonderfully talented Linda Ronstadt, whose stellar singing voice has ranged from rock to country to mariachi to operetta.  Ronstadt was born on July 15, 1946, in Tucson, Arizona, where her father, a hardware store manager, loved to play and sing Mexican music.  Ronstadt was raised during a decidedly anti-Hispanic heritage era […]

Happy Birthday to Cheech Marin

Happy Birthday to Cheech Marin, a third-generation, native English speaker born in LA, California.   The talented actor in his fabulous counterculture comedic roles has entertained norteamericanos for decades.   A straight “A” student who worked his way through college as a dishwasher and janitor, Cheech graduated from California State University.  He met his comedic partner, Chong, […]

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

On March 29, 1946, the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México was founded with the mission of creating a society that was more free, more just, and more prosperous. ITAM is one of the Mexico’s leading universities, offering specializations in accounting, economics, applied mathematics, and international relations, among other subjects.  ITAM is located on two campuses in Mexico […]

Danny Gardella (1920- 2005)

On February 19, 1946, Giants outfielder Danny Gardella (1920- 2005) was the first major league player to announce that he was joining the Mexican League, a professional baseball league based in Mexico.  The Mexican League offered substantially better wages of $10,000 / year versus the $4,500 / year that Gardella was offered from the New […]

Happy Birthday to Daniel Ortega Saavedra

Happy Birthday to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega Saavedra, born in La Libertad, Nicaragua, on November 11, 1945. Ortega’s father was a citizen-soldier for of Augusto Cesar Sandino, after whom the Sandinistas are named.  Ortega has a lengthy career in public service, starting as a citizen-soldier leader against the US-backed Somoza dictatorship.  He was a central […]

Happy Birthday to Frank Tejeda

US Marine Corps veteran and Congressman Frank Tejeda was born in San Antonio, Texas on October 2, 1945. After serving in the Marines and being wounded in action in the Vietnam War, Tejeda returned to school to earn a BA from St. Mary’s University, law degrees from the University of California and Yale, and an […]

Happy Birthday to Rodney Cline Carew

Happy birthday to Rodney Cline Carew, considered one of modern baseball’s greatest hitters.  The Major League Player also excelled as a first baseman, second baseman and coach. Carew was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.  Carew’s mother was Panamanian, and he was born on a train traveling through the Panama Canal […]

Happy Birthday to Rodrigo Reyes

Rodrigo Reyes was a journalist and social activist during the enlightening and tumultuous 60s and 70s in San Francisco, California.  His parents were migrant farm workers from Mexico and he was born September 24, 1945 in Weslaco, Texas.  Reyes was one of the founders of the Gay Latino Alliance (GALA), which became an important organization […]

Happy Birthday to Jose Feliciano, Award Winning Musician

If you’re sufficiently ‘mature’ (read, old enough) your first introduction as a norteamericano to Latino music may have been the Christmas carol “Felize Navidade” by Puerto Rican singer Jose Feliciano.  Born in Puerto Rico on September 10, 1945, Feliciano was a trail blazer for Latinx music.  In 1968, he won Grammy awards for best new […]

Silvestre Santana Herrera, War Hero

On August 23, 1945, Medal of Honor winner Silvestre Santana Herrera rolled his wheelchair across the White House lawn to receive his award from President Harry Truman.  Herrera was a soldier in the US Army, and received the medal for his heroic actions during World War II, in France. He charged an enemy position and was […]

Why We Love New York!

On March 12, 1945, the state governor of New York signed in to law the Ives-Quinn Anti-Discrimination Bill.  New York became the first state to enact legislation prohibiting the practice of discriminating against job applicants and employees on the basis of race, religion, or creed.  This law was modeled on the policies of the Fair […]

“La Casa de Bernarda Alba”

On March 6, 1945, Federico Garcia Lorca’s play “La Casa de Bernarda Alba” premiered in Argentina.  Lorca was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theater director who traveled in the US and South America.  His book of poetry, ”Gypsy Ballads”, was selected by Le Monde, a leading French newspaper, as one of the 100 books of […]

Happy Birthday to Dr. Antonia Coello Novello

Happy Birthday to Dr. Antonia Coello Novello, pediatrician and US Surgeon General, born on August 23, 1944 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.  Novello is the first woman, first Hispanic, and first Puerto Rican appointed as US Surgeon General.  At her swearing in ceremony at the White House, Novello quipped, “The American dream is alive and well […]

Happy Birthday to Richard Rodriguez

Happy Birthday to Richard Rodriguez, the controversial and compelling author and chronicler of the Latino and gay experiences in America.  Rodriguez was born in Sacramento, California on July 31, 1944, to Mexican American parents.  He earned a BA from Stanford University, an MA from Columbia University, was a PhD candidate in English Renaissance literature at the University of […]

Pedro Rosselló, Governor of Puerto Rico

Happy Birthday to Pedro Rosselló, a former Governor of Puerto Rico, born on April 5, 1944.  Rosselló has enthusiastically and (so far) unsuccessfully campaigned for Puerto Rican statehood.  Puerto Rico is currently a territory of the US, taken from the Spanish in the 1898 Spanish American War.  Rosselló was a pediatrician by training, graduating from […]

Rigoberto “Tito” Fuentes Peat

On January 4, 1944, Rigoberto “Tito” Fuentes Peat was born in Havana, Cuba.  Fuentes played second base in the Major League for 13 seasons between 1965 and 1978.  Most of Fuentes career was with the San Francisco Giants.   In 1981, Fuentes returned to work with the Giants as a radio announcer, launching the team’s first […]

Soccer Competition 1943

While soccer is a relatively recent phenomenon in North America, the sport’s popularity has reigned in Central and South America for decades.  This image is from the US Library of Congress, of a soccer competition in El Salvador.  The image shows a player heading a ball superimposed on a map of Central America and the […]

Vilma Martinez, Attorney and Ambassador

Happy Birthday to attorney and human right advocate Vilma Martinez, born in San Antonio, Texas.  Growing up as a Mexican American in Texas, Martinez was discouraged by her so-called educators from entering college.  Fortunately, Martinez ignored the prejudiced advice, graduated from the University of Texas and then earned a law degree from Columbia University.   Martinez […]

Happy Birthday to Geraldo Rivera

Happy Birthday to the man who inspires love or hate, admiration or exasperation, but rarely a neutral reaction.  Geraldo Rivera, a lawyer, television host, and author, was born on July 3, 1943.  Geraldo attended the University of Arizona, Brooklyn Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Columbia University School of Journalism.  His original career […]

Tania Leon, Composer, Conductor, Music Director and Musician

Happy Birthday to Tania Leon, the Cuban born, multi-talented composer, conductor, music director and musician.  In Cuba, Leon studied piano, violin, and music theory, earning multiple degrees music.  She was the first Music Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York, inspiring the troupe from 1969 until 1990.  Her appearances as a guest […]

Mario José Molina-Pasquel Henríquez, Nobel Prize Winner

March 19, 1943 is the birthday of Mexican scientist Mario José Molina-Pasquel Henríquez, who was a co-recipient of the Noble Prize for Chemistry in 1995.  Henríquez is the first Mexican born scientist to achieve a Noble Prize in Chemistry.  Henríquez’s contribution is in the domain of climate change and the environment; he researched and proved […]

Signing of the Mexican Farm Labor Program Agreement

During World War II, workers in North America were in short supply as the US labor force supported the war effort. On August 4, 1942, the US and Mexican governments signed the Mexican Farm Labor Program Agreement, to legalize and control Mexican farm workers along the border.  Known as the “Bracero [manual laborer] Program”, it stipulated […]

Happy Birthday to Isabel Allende

Happy Birthday to award winning novelist and political activist Isabel Allende, born in Lima, Peru on August 2, 1942.  Her father was a Chilean diplomat and her uncle was former Chilean President, Salvador Allende.  Salvador Allende was assassinated in a coup widely believed to be engineered by the CIA.  Isabel, then a journalist, and her […]

Happy Birthday to Jerry Garcia, Rock Star

August 1, 1942 is the birthday of musician Jerry Garcia, a member of the iconic North American band, The Grateful Dead.   Garcia was the son of a Spanish ballroom jazz musician, and was born in San Francisco, California.  Garcia had a complicated life, with family tragedy and struggles with drug addiction, haloed by brilliant and […]

Happy Birthday to Carmen Inoa Vazquez

Happy Birthday to bicultural clinical psychologist, teacher and author Carmen Inoa Vazquez, born in Bonao, Dominican Republic, on July 16, 1942.   Vazquez graduated from Queens College, Cum Laude, and earned a Ph.D. from City University’s APA Approved Program in Clinical Psychology.  Vazquez contributes to numerous books, academic journals and popular magazines, offering advice and insight […]

Vicente Fox Quesada, President of Mexico

Happy Birthday to Vicente Fox Quesada, born on July 2, 1942 in Guanajuato, Mexico.  Fox made modern Mexican political history when he was elected as the first President from an opposition party, the Partido Acción Nacional.  Fox defeated the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, which had ruled uninterrupted for 70 years.  Fox started his career in business, […]

Paco Pena, Flamenco Artist

Happy Birthday to Paco Peña, one of the world’s leading flamenco artists.  Pena was born in Cordoba Spain on June 1, 1942.  As a shy boy of six, Pena strung on a guitar, and soon realized that music was his calling to communicate.  Much later in life, he created the Centro Flamenco Paco Pena, one […]

Carmen Contreras Bozak, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established during World War II on May 15, 1942, to “[make] available to the national defense the knowledge, skill and special training of the women of the nation”.  Carmen Contreras Bozak was the first Hispanic woman to enlist, serving as interpreter and in administrative positions to manage communications […]

Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, first Latinx Astronaut

Happy Birthday to Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, born on January 29, 1942, in Guantánamo, Cuba.  Méndez was orphaned as an infant, and spent some of his childhood working as a shoeshine and vegetable seller.  He was selected as an astronaut in the Soviet Union’s seventh Intercosmos program in 1978.  Méndez was the first Latinx and the first […]

Happy Birthday to Julian Olivares

Happy Birthday to Julian Olivares — writer, editor, translator, educator, and US Navy veteran — who was born in San Antonio, Texas on December 6, 1941.  Olivares earned his BA at California State University and his MA at the University of Texas.  Olivares served at several universities, and won grants from institutions such as the […]

Happy Birthday to “Chucho” Jesús Dionisio Valdés

Happy Birthday to “Chucho” Jesús Dionisio Valdés, the Grammy Award winning jazz pianist and composer, born in Quivicán, Cuba.  Chucho’s early life reads like a Hollywood script:  his parents were musicians who were well known at the famous Tropicana Club in roaring pre-revolutionary Havana.  Chucho met the great American jazz musicians performing there, including Nat […]

Happy Birthday to Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona

Among our Hispanics that you didn’t know are Hispanic:  Happy Birthday to Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona, known as Vikki Carr, born on July 19, 1941.  Carr is a singer and humanitarian from El Paso Texas, who has performed in diverse genres, including jazz, pop, and country.  Carr sang at the Republication National Convention […]

Lucille Roybal-Allard, US Congresswoman

Happy Birthday to Lucille Roybal-Allard, born in California on June 12, 1941.  Allard was the first Mexican American woman elected to the US Congress.  She is a graduate of the California State University in Los Angeles.  Roybal-Allard is a strong supporter of social legislation, particularly jobs, health care, education, housing, women’s rights, and the environment.  […]

Richard Steven Valenzuela

The electrifying voice that sang “La Bamba”, the rock and roll version of a traditional Mexican ballad, was first heard on May 13, 1941, with the birth of Richard Steven Valenzuela.  Later known as Ritchie Valens, he was a Mexican-American singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose brief but brilliant career influenced a generation of musicians, including […]

“Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66”

Happy Birthday to Brazilian bossa nova composer and musician, Sergio Mendes, born on February 11, 1941 in Niterói, Brazil. He immigrated to New York City in 1964, and soon created the group, Brasil 66, signing with A&M records.  Their first A&M release, “Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66” skyrocketed to the top ten on Billboard’s album […]

Joan Baez

January 9, 1941 is the birthday of Joan Baez, a Mexican-American folk singer, songwriter, and activist for human rights, peace, and the environment.   Her father, Albert Baez, was born in Puebla, Mexico.  Baez’s wonderful accomplishments include founding the US branch of Amnesty International, performing publicly for over 50 years and releasing 30 albums.  And yes, […]

Mario Kreutzberger Blumenfeld, Don Francisco

Happy Birthday to Mario Kreutzberger Blumenfeld, affectionately known as Don Francisco, the beloved host of the wildly successful television program, “Sabado Gigante” (“Giant Saturday”).  Kreutzberger was born in Santiago, Chile, on December 28, 1940.  Kreutzberger’s parents fled from Germany in the 1930s; with their Jewish heritage, they were threatened by the Nazi regime.  Kreutzberger’s mother […]

Lucille Ball marries Cuban band leader Desi Arnaz

For better or for worse, Lucille Ball married Cuban band leader Desi Arnaz on November 30, 1940.  The two met while filming in Hollywood.  Their marriage was tempestuous and plagued by Desi’s problems with alcoholism and philandering.  His travel schedule did not help matters either.  To save their marriage and spend more time together, the […]

El Colegio de Mexico Opening

El Colegio de Mexico officially opened its doors on October 8, 1940 in Mexico City, Mexico.  ColMex, as the academic center is known, started as a refuge for Spanish scientists, thinkers, humanists and writers during Spain’s Civil War.  It has evolved to become one of the most outstanding centers of research and teaching in the Latino […]

Happy Birthday to Óscar Arias Sánchez, Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Happy Birthday to peacemaker, politician, writer and Nobel Prize Winner Óscar Arias Sánchez, born in Heredia, Costa Rica.  Arias graduated from the University of Costa Rica and earned a PhD from University of Essex (England).  He courageously worked to create peace during the bloody decades of war that raged in neighboring countries in Central America. […]

Everyday Life of Chico Real and Lolo Mendoza, American Musicians

From our nation’s family photo album at the Library of Congress, Mexican Americans Chico Real and Lolo Mendoza pose with their guitars in Kingsville, Texas on September 1, 1940.  The photo is from the Lomax Collection of folk musicians, proving that despite what 21st century politicians may say, Latinx were always woven into the history […]

Happy Bithrday to Ramón Antonio Gerard Estévez

In our series of Hispanics-That-You-Didn’t-Know-Are-Hispanics, August 3, 1940, is the birthday of Ramón Antonio Gerard Estévez, also known as Martin Sheen.  Sheen’s father was an immigrant from Galicia, Spain.  Sheen is an award-winning actor, and an activist for workers’ rights and the environment.  Sheen has been arrested over 60 times for exercising his US constitutional […]

“Facebook 1940” New Mexico Latinas

Two young Latinas pose for their portraits in July 1940 in Chamisal, New Mexico.  New Mexico was home to the Pueblo nations for thousands of years, and many citizens still speak their Uto-Aztec languages. The Spanish were the first European settlers in New Mexico, and began surveying and mapping the state in 1539.  New Mexico […]

Life in America: A Latinos Life Between 1935 and 1944

Hispanic Americans dance at a traditional festival in Taos, New Mexico, in July 1940.  Russell Lee, a photographer for the Office of War Information Photograph Collection, snapped their photos as part of an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944.  The Taos region was initially settled by the Native American nations; in […]

Latino Children in the War Information Photograph Collection

A young Latino boy poses for the Office of War Information Photograph Collection in Chamisal, New Mexico.  The photos were taken as part of an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944.  For more photos, please visit our country’s book of faces at the Library of Congress, www.LOC.gov.

Hispanics during the Great Depression

Long before Facebook photos were posted willingly or images were taken covertly by the NSA, North Americans happily posed for photographers from the Office of War Information Photograph Collection.  The photos were taken as part of an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944, including the latter years of the Great Depression […]

Happy Birthday To Oralia Lillie Corrales

Happy Birthday to Oralia Lillie Corrales, who began her triumphant, generous and difficult journey in the world on July 5, 1940 in Midland, Texas. Corrales was a child farm worker, spending her early summers in the fields of California picking cotton, potatoes, grapes, and peaches.  She and her family traveled from one migrant camp to […]

Homero Aridjis, Environmentalist, Writer, and Diplomat

April 6, 1940 is the birthday of Homero Aridjis, Mexican writer and diplomat.  Aridjis has published 41 books of poetry and prose with worldwide popularity.  Many of his works are translated into over a dozen languages and have won numerous awards.  Aridjis is a passionate defender of the environment; his causes include Monarch butterflies.  Aridjis […]

Raul Julia, Award-winning Actor and Humanitarian

March 9, 1940 is the birthday of Puerto Rican humanitarian, activist and actor, Raúl Rafael Juliá y Arcelay, known as Raul Julia (1940-1994).  Julia starred on Broadway, on television, and in Hollywood films, with work that ranged from Shakespearean drama to the Addams Family comedy.  He earned numerous nominations and awards from the Golden Globe, […]

Happy Birthday to Lee Buck Trevino

Happy Birthday to one of golf’s best loved talents, Lee Buck Trevino, born in Dallas, Texas on December 1, 1939.  His family was poor financially but rich in spirit.  Trevino recalled regularly jumping across a fence from his home into a local golf course to practice at night. He became an internationally renowned player, winning […]

The Hispanic Room

The Hispanic Room at the US Library of Congress in Washington, DC opened on October 12, 1939.  The Room was named for the Hispanic Society of New York.  It is the focal point for the extensive resources of Luso-Hispanic materials throughout the Library of Congress.  The Room is open to the public, so please stop […]

Birthday of Jorge Mas Canosa, Entrepreneur and Politician

September 21, 1939 was the birthday of the controversial business and political leader Jorge Mas Canosa, born in Santiago, Cuba.  Mas was educated at Presbyterian Junior College in North Carolina, and studied law in Cuba at the University of Oriente.  After being arrested for opposing the Batista regime in Cuba, Mas and his family immigrated […]

Happy Birthday to Antonio Colorado, Lawyer, Professors and Statesman

Happy Birthday to lawyer, professor and statesman Antonio Colorado, born on September 8, 1939 in New York City.  After completing his early education in Puerto Rico, he received a BA from Boston University and law degrees from Harvard University and the University of Puerto Rico.  Colorado served as Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the 102 […]

Arturo Salvador Rodriguez, UFW

Happy Birthday to Arturo Salvador Rodriguez, born on June 23, 1939, in San Antonio, Texas.  Rodriguez is the second president of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW), continuing the leadership of its legendary co-founder, Cesar Chavez. Rodriguez earned a BA at St. Mary’s University and a Masters in social work in 1973 from the University […]

Richard A. Tapia, Mathematician and Educator

Happy Birthday to Richard A. Tapia, a noted mathematician and educator, born in Santa Monica, California on March 25, 1939. Tapia’s parents were immigrants from Mexico. He earned a BA, MA, and Ph D from the University of California at Los Angeles. Among other numerous awards, Tapia was named one of the twenty most influential […]

” … and you will never know until you try.”

Happy Birthday to distinguished scientist George Castro, born on February 23, 1939 in Los Angeles, California.  Both of Castro’s parents were of Mexican descent.  Castro’s research in photoconductors and superconductors has inspired new and improved electro photographic copying machines as well as digital information storage systems. Castro has worked for over 25 years in civic […]

Happy Birthday to Leonardo Boff

Happy Birthday to philosopher, priest, writer, professor and social activist Leonardo Boff, born on December 14, 1938 in Concórdia, Brazil.  Boff was educated in Brazil, Germany and the UK, and is a passionate proponent of “liberation theology”.  Liberation theology calls for Christians to empower the poor and oppressed, not only on a spiritual level, but also […]

Happy Birthday to Remedios Díaz-Oliver, Immigrant Entrepreneur

Happy Birthday to Remedios Díaz-Oliver, who was born on August 22, 1938, in Havana, Cuba.  As a well-educated young woman, Oliver had aspired to be a college professor, but that was before the Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro’s rise to power.  Díaz-Oliver was jailed in Cuba for protesting government mail inspections.  In 1961, after her […]

Frances Josephine Garcia, Mayor

Happy Birthday to Frances Josephine Garcia, born on June 4, 1938.  Garcia’s parents emigrated from Mexico and settled in Hutchinson, Kansas.  Garcia recalled the discrimination that she and her family faced in Kansas.  They were not allowed to eat in certain restaurants, had to drink their beverages from drug store soda fountains outside, and had […]

Luis Omar Salinas, Chicano Poet

June 24, 1937 is the birthday of iconic Chicano poet, Luis Omar Salinas, born in Robstown, Texas.  Orphaned at age four, he was raised by his aunt and uncle.  Salinas lived with his family in Mexico and Texas, and they eventually settled in central California.  Salinas attended, and taught at, Fresno State University.  He published […]

Freddy Fender / Baldemar Huerta Garza

June 4, 1937 was the birthday of country singer and musician, Freddy Fender, born Baldemar Garza Huerta, in San Benito, Texas.  Huerta’s parents were migrant workers, and as a child, Huerta constantly moved. At age 16, he dropped out of high school and joined the US Marine Corps, serving from 1954 to 1956. He began […]

Solomon Ortiz, US Congressman

Happy Birthday to Solomon Ortiz, born in Nueces County, Texas, on June 3, 1937.  He earned his GED (high school equivalency) while serving in the US Army.  In 1968 Ortiz became the first Latino elected as Nueces County Commissioner and later the first Latino county sheriff.  In 1982, Ortiz won a seat in the US […]

Happy Birthday to Manlio Argueta

Happy Birthday to novelist, political activist, poet and publisher Manlio Argueta, born on November 24, 1936 in San Miguel, El Salvador.  Argueta studied literature and law at the national University of El Salvador, and is internationally known for his chronicling of the brutal civil war in El Salvador through his literary works.  In 1972, Argueta […]

The Spanish Civil War Begins

Spain’s greatest modern tragedy began on July 17, 1936, at the start of the Spanish Civil War.  The War was viewed as one of the final post-World War II struggles between freedom and the Fascism that had cruelly gripped Europe for the War years.  Many idealistic young people traveled to Spain to fight against Fascism […]

Nicaragua’s Day of Tears

On June 2, 1936, General Anastasio Somoza Garcia installed himself as dictator of Nicaragua, beginning the decades-long rule of the Somoza family.  (Please do not confuse