In these days that the role of Latinos in the United States is so questioned, vilified and minimized by some extremist positions, we bring you a list – not exhaustive of course – of the most influential Latinos in the American nation. From journalists, activists, judges, and astronauts, Latinos stand out for their effort, talent, work, and social commitment.
Born in Brooklyn in 1954, his parents Juan and Celina Sotomayor immigrated to the United States from Puerto Rico a few years earlier. Sonia studied law at Yale University, and graduated as a Juris Doctor in 1979, a year later she obtained her lawyer’s license. Just finished college, Sonia worked as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. In 1984 “he joined the law firm Pavia & Harcourt, specializing in intellectual property matters.”
This Latina woman worked for several years in Manhattan as a lawyer, until in 1992 she was appointed Federal Judge, becoming the first Hispanic to hold that position throughout New York. Six years later, in 1998, then President Bill Clinton “promoted her to the post of Judge of the Second Circuit of the Court of Appeals.”
In 2009, on the initiative of President Barack Obama, Sonia Sotomayor became the first female Associate Judge of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation of Latin origin.
Son of a Peruvian and a Cuban cardiologist who works at the University of Miami, he is currently the director of NBC Universal International Group and NBC University Telemundo Enterprises.
Vilma Socorro Martínez
Socorro Martínez is an American woman activist who fights for the rights of Hispanics and the recognition of minorities in the United States. Daughter of Mexican parents, Vilma grew up amid the difficulties and racial hostility that the Hispanic community faces daily in the northern country. In 1967 she received a lawyer from Columbia University. “After receiving a lawyer from Columbia University in 1967, Martínez began her legal career at the National Association for the Progression of People of Color from where she supported humble and minority sectors. Years later, he enlisted in the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a space in which he worked for the electoral rights of Mexicans in the country. In 2009, she was elected by Obama as the US ambassador to Argentina, a position she held until 2013. ”
The son of Cuban immigrants, he is today one of the 100 federal senators in the United States. Roberto grew up in Union City, attended public school throughout his basic education, and later graduated as a lawyer from Rutgers University. In the Senate “he served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 113th Congress and now serves as the highest-ranking member in this.”
José Hernández Moreno
He was born in 1962 in the state of California, but his family is originally from Ticuitaco in La Piedad, Michoacán. Throughout his childhood he worked in the field; however, he managed to enter the University of California, in Santa Barbara, and obtain the degree in electrical engineer. His path to NASA was not easy, José tried eleven times without much success, to be admitted to the space program. But finally, in 2001, until his twelfth attempt, he was accepted as a “materials research engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.” In 2004 José Hernández was selected as an astronaut and in 2009 “he traveled to space aboard the Discovery ferry, on the STS-128 mission. He spent 14 days off the ground, during that time theshuttle mated with the International Space Station (IIS) and jointly carried out laboratory work, astronaut exchange, food, equipment and waste. ”
Chavez was a very important Mexican-American activist of the twentieth century, recognized both by society and by great figures of American politics, Robert F. Kennedy described him as “one of the heroic figures of our time.”
Chávez was born in the state of Arizona in 1927, in a farming family that after the Great Depression had to face great injustices and economic difficulties. However, it is not until 1952 that he begins his political activity in the Community Service Organization, “Latino civil rights group where he led campaigns against the economic and racial discrimination. In 1962 he founded the National Association of Agricultural Workers (later grouping of Los Campesinos Unidos or UFW), space from which different claims were made in favor of the peasants: in 1968 he starred in a 25-day fast to get new rights through the “ nonviolence”. The claim included the cessation of the suffering of workers and their children, the end of exposure to pesticides and the opening to free and fair elections. ”César Chávez died, allegedly from natural causes, in 1993.
An important defender of civil rights, she was born in Kansas in 1960 in a family of Mexican descent. He studied journalism, Spanish and law at the University of Kansas, California. However, his legislative career began in Washington DC, where he served as assistant to Jim Slattery. He also “worked at the White House, and there he served among other positions as deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton. She was also a deputy of the presidential campaign of presidential candidate Al Gore. In 2001, Janet Murguía was selected as Executive Vice Minister of University Relations at the University of Kansas. ”In 2005 she was elected president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, an organization that fights for the rights of Hispanics and Latinos in the United States. “Its mission at the helm of NCLR has been to increase the opportunities of Latino families and their political and economic power through the nearly 300 affiliated organizations that serve 50 million Latinos and Hispanics in 41 states and Puerto Rico. Its action is based on improving areas related to education, health, immigration issues, civil rights, the economy and hate crimes related to discrimination against the community it represents. ”
Ramos was born on March 16, 1958 in Mexico City, but since 1991 he lives in Miami, Florida. He studied Communication at the Universidad Iberoamericana, specialized studies in television and journalism at the University of California and a master’s degree in international relations at the University of Miami. He is currently the host of the Al Punto program, as well as the Univisión Newscast, which is considered the “most impactful news on the Hispanic community in the United States.” He is considered one of the most influential Latinos today, so “Newsweek included him in the list of 50 politicians and communicators in the country. A survey by the Pew Hispanic Center determined that Ramos is the second most recognized Latin leader in North America. Latino Leaders magazine says it is one of “the 10 most admired Latinos in the United States” and the “101 leaders of the Hispanic community.” People en Español included it in its list of the 100 most influential Latinos in North America and the TIME magazine included him among the best 140 tweeters of 2012. ”
Franklin Chang Díaz
He was born in San José, Costa Rica, and showed from a young age a great interest in space and what life would be like in him, making him his dream and moving to the United States to achieve it. At the age of 18, Chang arrived in Hartford, Connecticut, without handling the English language and with only $ 50 in his pocket, however, he managed to get accepted at Hartford Public High School, despite not having the best grades At the beginning of high school, but in recent months his grades were outstanding which led him to earn a full scholarship at the University of Connecticut, where he graduated as a mechanical engineer. Likewise, Chang entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he obtained a PhD in Plasma Physics and then entered NASA as an astronaut and participated in more than 7 trips to space, becoming the first Latin scientist to travel to space with NASA.
He is one of the most influential Latinos in the United States in the area of technology. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Reif studied his university career at the University of Carabobo, an educational center in which most students did not possess the economic level to pay for a book and had to lend them from the library, which made him interested in creating the MITx and edX online platforms that allow young people to watch classes from anywhere in the world, which led Reif to become the Rector of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2012.
He was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Carolina is a worldwide fashion icon. His love for the fashion world began at an early age when he attended fashion shows with his grandmother in Paris, but it was not until 1980 that he presented his designs for the first time, opening the doors to his company and moving to the City of New York.
At first, his designs did not have much acceptance, but over time his sophisticated and simple creations began to be admired. Through the years his designs have not only been directed at women of high society but also for those women who like a good dress and feel identified with their designs. Carolina has received numerous awards, including the Geoffrey Beene Professional Career Award in 2008.
From September 15 to October 15, Hispanic Month is celebrated in the United States. The culture and traditions of people who have their roots in Spanish-speaking nations are honored for a month.
Famous and prominent Latinos in the community deserve great relevance because they have contributed to the history and greatness of the United States. Many have reached, and others occupy, important positions at all levels and areas of American society from scientists, writers and politicians, to businessmen and women, inventors, chefs and artists.
Today, Hispanics are more than 20% of the total population of the United States, but they have also moved to positions where it is possible to influence the development of the country.
This is our list of Most Influential Latinos. Maybe you can suggest us to add others.