Hispanic Heritage Month was first introduced as a commemorative week-long celebration in 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown.
Hispanic Heritage Month was first introduced as a commemorative week-long celebration in 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown. He represented East Los Angeles and a large portion of the San Gabriel Valley, both densely populated with Hispanic/Latinx residents, and sought to acknowledge their contributions to the United States.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, a former teacher at a small Hispanic school near the Mexican border, approved the resolution that issued the first National Hispanic Heritage Week proclamation on Sept. 7, 1968. Five decades later, President George H.W. Bush extended the week celebration to an entire month. Since then, the United States celebrates the Hispanic/Latinx community and their impact on American history from Sept.15 through Oct. 15 each year.
The Hispanic/Latinx community’s influence within today’s modern-day culture is extensive. The following individuals are examples of those who have played an integral part in our lives. Cesar Chavez is known for his work as an American labor leader, community organizer, businessman, and Latino American civil rights activist that improved the lives of millions of agricultural workers. Sonia Sotomayor made history as the first Latina Supreme Court Justice appointed by President Obama in 2009. Many athletes, like Roberto Clemente (first Latino Major League Baseball player inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame) and entertainers like Jennifer Lopez (actress, singer, dancer, fashion designer, producer, and businesswoman), continue to make history in their respective industries.
In addition to these heroes, many Hispanic/Latinx persons have greatly shaped the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Teachers can acknowledge the contributions of Hispanic/Latinx individuals in the computer science industry. To name a few, the following are leaders in STEM fields:
Jerry Bautista is the Vice President and General Manager of Roadmap Operations and Communications at Intel Corporation. He leads a 1000 person international team driving more than 15 products into the marketplace managing all facets from engineering, product development, manufacturing, marketing, and sales.
Patt Romero Cronin is currently the General Manager of Growth Market Unit (GMU) Service Delivery and formerly held many positions in IBM, including Vice President of Transformation Initiative IBM Global Services. She was awarded for Executive Excellence at the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards in 2001.
Eddy Cue is Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services. He oversees Apple’s industry-leading content stores and leads the newly created team responsible for developing all aspects of Apple’s worldwide video programming. In 2015, cancer research center City of Hope honored Eddy with its 2014 Spirit of Life Award.
Ellen Ochoa is an engineer and was the first Hispanic woman to go to space in 1993 about the Space Shuttle Discovery. In 2012, we became the first Hispanic director of Johnson Space Center and received NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2015.
Heritage months celebrate and educate others about various ethnic and marginalized groups and their contributions to the United States. As we reflect on Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, let us not forget Hispanic/Latinx individuals who have enriched our culture and society and are continuing to forever change America.
Teachers can recognize the contributions of Latinx influencers in computer science in their classrooms to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (and hopefully all year long). Consider using these posters from the #CSinSF team: English version / Spanish version / supplemental resources and these video profiles of Latinas in tech: TECHNOLOchicas.
About the Author
Lilibeth Mora is an equity teacher leader and instructional coach in Vallejo, California. Her teaching philosophy is that all students can learn and she will do everything in her power to create a positive learning environment that is conducive to collaborative learning and creative problem-solving. She spent 15 years in the field of education developing connections with students, constantly learning how to improve her craft, and sharing best practices with others. Within the last few years, Lilibeth became a chapter leader for CSTA Sacramento and discovered a new passion in education–ensuring that all students have the opportunity to take a computer science course in high school and to change the demographics of who’s making programs, software, and artificial intelligence that is changing the way we live. Until the people in those positions match the people who they were intended for, people of all diversity, she will not stop.