National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15, 2022

Celebrated from September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month appreciates Hispanic countries and the culture that each has brought to the United States. The cultures and traditions celebrated are of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, and Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean (Martinez-Murillo, 2020). Beginning in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, the celebration was extended by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15 (National Women’s History Alliance, 2021). 

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Hispanic population is the largest minority group in the United States with 60.6 million people reported in 2019 (Noe-Bustamante et al., 2020). Hence, the importance of highlighting LatinX and Hispanic voices and their stories. In recognizing the contributions made by the Hispanic and Latinx community to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States, I highlight Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the 3rd woman to sit on the Supreme Court and the very first Hispanic person nominated by President Barack Obama on May 26, 2009. The call from the President came “a little after 8.00 p.m. and upon hearing of her nomination, Sotomayor chocked up and started to cry – Thank you, Mr. President, she said” (Stine, 2017, p.3).  

A lifelong resident of the Bronx in New York City, Sotomayor was born in 1054 to Juan Sotomayor, a manual laborer who had a third-grade education and who did not speak English, and to Celina Baez who worked as a practical nurse, both native Puerto Ricans (Sotomayor, n.d.). Sotomayor has a younger brother, Juan Sotomayor. 

Sotomayor earned her B.A. from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the university’s highest academic honor. She earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992-1998. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998-2009 when she assumed her current role in the Supreme Court. (Supreme Court Historical Society, 2022) 

Sotomayor is known on the court for her trust in the judicial process, her cutthroat attitude toward ill-prepared attorneys, her kindness toward jurors and the attorneys who work hard to advocate for their clients (Sotomayor, n.d.). Referencing to her experiences in battling stereotypes as a woman and as a Hispanic, Sotomayor works tirelessly to be a voice for women and ethnic minorities in the criminal justice reform (Greene, 2012).

To help celebrate and honor National Hispanic Heritage Month: 

  • Plan to order regularly from local Latinx/ Hispanic-owned businesses.  
  • Learn about Hispanic culture by watching documentaries such as: 
  • Advocacy - Look for ways to get involved with Latinx organizations rooted in activism, advocacy, and professional development. 
    • Fe Y Justicia ( Faith and Justice) which is a Latinx based social justice organization in central Minnesota that provides different resources and support to the Latinx community in the area. https://www.fjmn.org/
    • The Committee for Hispanic Families and Children (CHFC) - CHFC has developed and implemented programs that meet the needs of low-income Hispanic families and children in such critical areas as youth development, childcare, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, immigrant services, public policy, and advocacy.
    • Council for Latino Workplace Equity (CLWE) - The purpose of the CLWE is to foster workplace equity for Latino talent and seek inclusion and opportunity for Latino leaders to claim their place at the table with certainty and conviction.
    • Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) - ALPFA's mission is to empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation, in every sector of the global economy.

Fe Y Justicia ( Faith and Justice) which is a Latinx based social justice organization in central Minnesota that provides different resources and support to the Latinx community in the area. https://www.fjmn.org/  

The Committee for Hispanic Families and Children (CHFC) - CHFC has developed and implemented programs that meet the needs of low-income Hispanic families and children in such critical areas as youth development, childcare, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, immigrant services, public policy, and advocacy. 

Council for Latino Workplace Equity (CLWE) - The purpose of the CLWE is to foster workplace equity for Latino talent and seek inclusion and opportunity for Latino leaders to claim their place at the table with certainty and conviction. 

Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) - ALPFA's mission is to empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation, in every sector of the global economy. 

References 

Crissy Quigley
Posted in News, equity