Celebrating Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month: activists, then and now

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month celebrates the contributions and achievements made by Hispanic/Latinx Americans in the arts, sciences, civil rights, sports, and music. This week we take a look at activists that fought and continue to fight for social justice for immigrants, farmworkers, the environment and more throughout history and today in the United States.

‘Sí Se Puede’

We can’t talk about activists without mentioning Cesar Chavez (March 31, 1927-April 23, 1993), and Dolores Huerta, who founded the National Farm Workers Association (which went on to become the United Farm Workers labor union.) Cesar Chavez used non-violent means to bring attention to the difficult work conditions of farmworkers by organizing marches, boycotts, and hunger strikes. Dolores Huerta, a civil rights activist and recipient of the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom, organized communities to fight social injustices. Huerta was motivated to do this work after seeing the racial and economic injustices in California’s Central Valley. She is best known for organizing the nationwide grape boycotts of 1965 as well as coining the phrase “Sí se puede (Yes, we can).” She continues to work to uplift her community even at age 90 with the Dolores Huerta Foundation, focusing on grassroots organizing and “inspiring and organizing communities to build volunteer organizations empowered to pursue social justice.”

Cesar Chavez

Dolores HuertaLearn more about Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta by checking out books from the Flatirons Library Consortium, or learn how to get involved with local efforts by taking a look at the Dolores Huerta Foundation website. 

It is important to highlight Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and Latina member of the Court, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. She once said, “Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society.” Education is key to opening doors to everyone. sonia sotomayorSotomayor understood the importance of this from a young age, as her mother, a nurse and a widow, worked hard to provide so that her daughter could attend a private school. She was motivated in her studies, eventually earning becming valedictorian of her class, earning a scholarship to Princeton, and attending Yale Law School. sonia sotomayorFind out more  about how Sotomayor became a Supreme Court Justice with books from our catalog!

Today’s leaders in the Latinx community are paving the way as stewards of the land, as youth educators, field organizers, climate and clean air consultants, and public lands consultants. Many of them started working in environmental justice as youth, often motivated by what they saw happening within their own communities–similar to that of Dolores Huerta’s experience. For more on what work is currently being done and how you can find inspiration and hope, check out Team GreenLatinos.

Team Green
Team GreenLatinos

You are never too young to get involved! Check out this article on young activists today making a difference in their communities: “10 Young Latinx Activists You Should Know.” 

Honor the work of Hispanic/Latinx  activists by finding inspiration and motivation in their stories to uplift your community as well. If you know of an organization or individual that deserves to be honored this Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, share their story with the Lafayette Public Library.

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