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Posted: 12:00am by & filed under News

September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month and we are celebrating the contributions made and the important influence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the U.S. and celebrate their heritage and culture.
 
Each year, Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, which is the anniversary of independence from five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. At first, this nation wide holiday was celebrated as a week-long event on September 17, 1968 but then nearly 20 years later, President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to a month-long celebration, ending on October 15.
 
Acorn is proud to have diversity in our company, and want to share the history and importance of some well known, as well as not so well known, Latin Americans. Below are some important people in the Latin community that we want to shine light on:
 
Ellen Ochoa, the world’s first Hispanic female astronaut to go into space -
Ochoa first joined NASA in 1988 as a research engineer, and was selected as an astronaut in 1990 at the age of 32. In 1993, she served on the nine-day mission on the shuttle Discovery to study the Earth’s ozone layer. Her success has lead her to receive several awards including NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal as well as the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award and also has several schools named after her. Today, Ochoa is the Johnson Space Center’s first hispanic director and its second time female director.
 
Cesar Chavez, union leader, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association -
A farm worker himself, Chavez dedicated his life to improving the treatment, pay and working conditions for farm workers. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962. Joining with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, the organizations’ first strike was against the grape growers in California in 1965. The strike resulted in improved compensations and labor conditions. In 1972, the National Farm Workers Association merged forces with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, creating what is known today as the United Farm Workers (UFW). His hard work has labeled him as an activist and an icon for the Hispanic community. President Bill Clinton presented Chavez with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, along with many other awards.
 
Sylvia Mendez, American civil rights activist of Mexican-Puerto Rican heritage -
Mendez grew up in a time where Hispanics were still segregated in public schools. When her family moved to Westminster, California from Santa Ana, California, there were only 2 public schools were Mendez and her siblings could attend. 17th Street Elementary School provided a better education system with better books, and in 1943, at just 8 years old, Mendez and her siblings got denied enrollment because of their darker skin complexion and their Hispanic surname. This led to Mendez v. Westminster case of 1947 which led to the desegregation of Mexican families in public school and other public spaces of California. Mendez was one of the first Hispanics to attend an all-white school in California, which paved civil rights movements forward.
 
Luis Manuel Castro, first Latin American born player to play in the MLB -
Born to a wealthy family in 1876 in Medellin, Colombia, Castro and his family moved to the United States. He attended a New York University and played baseball for the Manhattan College team and other small teams around the New York and New Jersey area. In 1902, Castro played for the Philadelphia Athletics and only played for half a season (42 games).
 
If you would like to see more Latin American influencers and their contributions to society, visit our Facebook page to keep informed.

 

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