Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlights 2022

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlights

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlights 2022

Sep 15, 2022

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Influential Figures

Ellen Ochoa made her mark by becoming the first Hispanic American woman to go to space with a nine-day mission in 1993. Ochoa was born in 1958 in Los Angeles, California, years after her paternal grandparents immigrated from Mexico. She first obtained her physics degree from San Diego State University and later her masters and doctorate from Stanford University’s department of electrical engineering by 1985. Through her impressive research work, NASA selected Ochoa in 1991 and she became an astronaut in July of that year. Two years later, Ochoa made history on board the Space Shuttle Discovery on a mission to study the Earth’s ozone layer. She later completed three more missions. Ochoa became the first Hispanic American director of the Johnson Space Center in 2013, only the second woman to take the helm. After retiring with 30 years of service, Ochoa continues to advocate for women in STEM.

Roberto Clemente paved the way for Hispanic Americans in Major League Baseball. The prolific right fielder was born in 1934 in Puerto Rico, joined the island’s amateur baseball league when he was 16 and made the professional league two years later at 18.Another two years and Clemente was off to Montreal, Quebec, to play in the minor leagues in 1954. That same year, the Pittsburgh Pirates scouted him during training in Richmond, Virginia and Clemente was called up to the majors by November of that year in the rookie draft. Clemente, wearing the iconic number 21, went on to become the first Latin American and Caribbean to win a World Series as a starting player in 1960. Clemente died in a plane crash in 1972 while on his way to Nicaragua to deliver aid to earthquake victims when he was 38. In his honor, the MLB renamed the Commissioner’s Award to the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who all-around exemplifies sportsmanship and community outreach. He was also inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, making him the first Latin American and Caribbean honoree.

Volunteer Opportunities

Casa Central is one of the Midwest’s largest Latino social service agencies. Since 1954, Casa Central has delivered evidence-based, award-winning programming in response to the needs of the Latino community. Through comprehensive, family-centered programming, Casa Central is the conduit through which thousands of individuals build hope for the future while equipping themselves to achieve a sustainable, higher quality of life for the benefit of self, family, community, and society.

Casa Central is powered by a selfless and passionate community of volunteers who seek a challenging and rewarding opportunity to provide a higher quality of life to children, youth, older adults, and families. Volunteer opportunities are available here.

Book Spotlight

  • The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante – follows Marisol, an immigrant from El Salvador applying for asylum in the United States with her sister Gabby, who she’s attempting to protect. When her asylum request gets turned down, she’s given an opportunity to stay in the U.S.: to literally take on the grief of another girl about her age.
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – the brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as “magical realism.”

Museum Spotlight

Latino-Owned Businesses to Visit