We are coming to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. It runs from September 15th to October 15th. I can tell you for years I was confused as to why the month didn’t start on the first day and end on the last day of a month. But let me just say it’s not the job of those in a culture that has been treated as less than, to explain it to us who are currently treated better. We have a duty if we’re going to be good allies, friends and neighbors to do that for others So in getting ready to post about this, I did some research, and I want to share the info with you.
There is indeed a very good reason that time frame was selected. The month begins in the Middle of September and ends in the middle of October because so many Central American Countries gained their independence during that month, beginning on September 15 with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; September 16th is Mexico’s not Cinco De Mayo as some believe; September 18th for the people of Chile; and September 21st for the people of Belize.
According to the US Census Bureau almost 20% of the population are Latinos. Now there some debates about the words Hispanic & Latino. They are the most commonly used words to describe Americans whose ancestry includes Latin American and Caribbean. Some use Latino to describe people with cultural or ancestral ties to Latin America or the Carribean. Others include Black and Indigenous people. Hispanic is usually referring to the connection to Spain or the Spanish language.
Much of the Western US was part of Mexico. And Latinos and Latinas have contributed to our nation going back to serving in the US military back to the Colonial Army & Navy to the Present including Marcelino Serna who was the first Hispanic to win the Distinguished Service Cross as a Marine in WW I to Medal of Honor Recipients like Macario Garica for his service in WW II. We have brought into our culture contributions from Hispanic artists in all forms of the arts. Many people focus on the achievement of Latinos and Latinas in sports as competitors, but they have also contributed to our national past time as coaches and Linda Alvarado was the first woman to own a Major League Baseball Franchise, the Colorado Rockies.
Latinos and Latinas have contributed to our national movements to protect the rights of workers including Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez and Northwest Ohio’s own Baldemar Velasquez and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (going to have to name drop twice in one paragraph, Baldemar and is team at FLOC has our firm Administrator Elizabeth “Lisa” Ayala and I come to FLOC headquarters and talk about how our firm stands up for workers and the profession of lawyers and paralegals to their youth organization). Sylvia Rivera was a strong voice to stand up for the LGBTQ community. And our legal system is gifted with many fine attorneys and judges all the way up to Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayor (and I couldn’t resist saying my Law Fraternity Sister who welcomed myself and a group of my fellow Phi Alpha Delta members as members of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States when I was sworn in back in 2014)
If you’ve not seen the contribution of the Hispanic Community’s members to our Television, Movies and even theater, you’re not paying attention. Since the 1970's Cheech Marin has been giving myself and my family a reason to laugh. But he’s also is a huge advocate for all forms of Hispanic involvement in the arts. And he helped open the door for too many amazing Latino and Latina comics to list. Lin Manuel Miranda’s talents are on display as a song-writer, play-write, singer and actor from Broadway’s “In The Heights” set in a predominately Hispanic Neighborhood and his even more widely known smash “Hamilton”. Not as many people known about he has helped guide the music of shows like “Moana” and “Encanto”. And has performed in television shows as himself and as character parts; and in live action movies like “In the Heights”, and “Mary Poppins Returns”.
And forgive me a moment of geeky privilege and drop a relative by marriage into this mix. You only need to hear his most famous character’s name to know who the relative and their Hispanic spouse, “Ricky”. But he was also a talented musician and comedian before Television. But few know about what he helped do to the business of Television and our Pop Culture too. Along with my fourth cousin, his wife Lucille, they founded Desilu Productions. Which they ran together for 12 years until they divorced. Desilu Productions started out as their company to produce their traveling music and comedy shows. But it expanded into movies and TV shows.
Two of their creations have remained pop culture icons to this day. They helped create and protect Mission: Impossible and Star Trek among their over two dozens series with at least one season on air.
And outside of being entertainment entrepreneurs, Hispanic women & men have given us iconic fashion companies like Carolina Herrera and Jennifer Lopez (and you know the music and acting thing) just to name the most well known; Dr. C. David Molina founded Molina Healthcare, Inc. originally as healthcare clinics to serve working families in Southern California and grew in into an over 90 Billion Dollar in revenues Healthcare Company.
And we at the Law Offices of Kurt M. Young want to salute our own, Lisa Ayala. Lisa is the daughter of two amazing immigrants from Mexico. Along with helping run our firm, she has served on the Board of community groups, as a Treasurer for a congressional campaign, but also is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and deliver meals with Mobile Meals. She is a single Mom who raised an amazing Son, and is now, as she calls it Glam ma aka Glamorous Grandma. .
So as this month comes to an end, take a moment to learn about the contributions of Latinos and Latinas. Learn about some of these great Americans, their and others contributions to our culture, our legal system, and more And go and maybe support a Hispanic owned business. And thank you to our clients and neighbors whether they call themselves Hispanic or Latino
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