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Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month

by Chelsea Cheng |

Here at SALSAOLOGY, we love to celebrate our heritage and culture in everything we do! We believe it's important to be proud your roots and always remember where you came from. 

Although celebrating our cultura is a daily thing for most of us, Latinx Heritage Month (more commonly known as Hispanic Heritage Month) allows us the opportunity to shine a light on and share our people's contributions and achievements with the rest of the world, in a special way.

What is Latinx Heritage Month? The observation of Latinx Heritage Month began in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Reagan changed the length of observation from a week to a month (Sept 15- Oct 15).

Today, Latinx Heritage Month serves as a way to promote the history, culture, and contributions of Latinx-Americans who have made their mark on history and inspired others to achieve success. 

Why Latinx? The term “Latinx” is a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina. It's a way to unite our community and be inclusive of all the identities of Latin America descendants.  

Latinx Jefas. In honor of this special month, we're sharing the stories of 3 Mexican-American women who have without a doubt made their mark on history and continue to inspire us!

1. Dolores Huerta  

Background: Dolores Huerta was born in the mining town of Dawson, New Mexico. Her community activism began when she was just a student at Stockton High School - she was active in numerous school clubs, and was a dedicated member of the Girl Scouts until the age of 18. She attended college at the San Joaquin Delta Community College, where she earned a provisional teaching credential.

#MakeJefaMoves: Dolores Huerta is an American labor leader and civil rights activist who is a co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW). She has received numerous awards for her community service and advocacy for workers, immigrants, and women's rights, including the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Outstanding American Award, the United States Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was the first Latina inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993.

Fun Fact: Dolores is the originator of the phrase, "Sí, se puede." As a role model to many in the Latinx community, she is the subject of many corridos and murals.

2. Ellen Ochoa

Background: Ellen Ochoa was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in La Mesa, California. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the San Diego State University and earned a Masters of Science and a doctorate from Stanford. 

#MakeJefaMoves: Ellen is an Latinx-American engineer, former astronaut and former Director of the Johnson Space Center. In 1993, Ochoa became the first Latinx woman to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Ochoa became director of the Johnson Space center in 2012 . She was the first Latinx director and the second female director of Johnson Space Center.

Fun Fact: NASA rejected Ellen's initial application, which caused her to look at different fields for her career for the next 5 years, until she applied again.

3. Maria Elena Salinas

Background: Maria Elena Salinas was born in Los Angeles, California. She began her career in journalism as a reporter for the Spanish TV station "KMEX-34". Her coverage on the Latinx community in Southern California led her to become a co-anchor on Univision's nightly news program.

#MakeJefaMoves: From there, Maria Elena worked her way to become the "Voice of Hispanic America" (dubbed by the New York Times). Not only has she interviewed every US president since Jimmy Carter, she has also interviewed many Latin American heads of state, rebel leaders, and dictators. She is one of the most recognized female journalists in the USA. 

Fun Fact: Maria Elena now lives in Miami and is a parent of two beautiful children.

 

Sources:
“Dolores Huerta (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/people/dolores-huerta.htm.
“Ellen Ochoa, First Hispanic Female Astronaut to Go to Space, to Speak Thursday at EPCC.” El Paso Times, El Paso Times, 1 Oct. 2019, www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/education/2019/10/01/first-hispanic-female-astronaut-space-speak-thursday-el-paso-community-college/3831302002/.
Roberts, Jason. “NASA Astronaut Dr. Ellen Ochoa.” NASA, NASA, 11 Feb. 2015, www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/about/people/orgs/bios/ochoa.html.
Univision, and Ahora/ Univision. “María Elena Salinas, Su Biografía.” Univision, 1 Apr. 2016, www.univision.com/shows/aqui-y-ahora/maria-elena-salinas-su-biografia.

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