It’s been over 100 years since we've been observing International Women’s Day and we’re celebrating with a list of 10 Latinas who inspire us! Some are stars in their fields and others are not quite household names, but inspirational nonetheless. These women make us proud to be Latinas and push us to make a difference.
Emma Gonzalez has become one of the main voices confronting the NRA and the Trump Administration. She is a survivor of the Parkland shooting and has not let fear stop her. She currently has over one million followers and continues to use her platform to promote the #NeverAgain movement in hopes of ending mass school shootings once and for all.
International superstar Shakira is known for more than her beauty, charm, and provocative lyrics. Since starting the Piez Descalzos Foundation in 1995 which won her an award at the Radio Disney Music Awards in 2014, she has made activism and philanthropy part of her work and currently serves as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Her commitment to philanthropy has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative, among other organizations. In 2018 she wont the Grammy for the Best Latin Pop album for El Dorado and is currently slated to tour Latin America later this year.
Amara De La Negra is confronting racisim in her own Latina community. The Love & Hip Hop: Miami star was told during an episode to "be a little bit more Beyonce, a little less Macy Gray." Since then, Amara has been outspoken about racism in the Latino community and is bringing Afro-Latina issues to the forefront. During her acceptance speech after being honored by the sororiety Alpha Phi Beta Foundation, she said, "It's for you too, you know. I am doing this to open doors for all of us. It's now my time to be strong for YOU."
Diane Guerrero is not only a beautiful actress in popular series such as Jane the Virgin and Orange Is The New Black but she is also at the forefront in supporting DACA and DAPA recipients. She published her book In The Country We Love: My Family Divided in 2016 wherein she detailed the struggle of her undocumented family which resulted in her battle with depression. Guerrero has gone on to actively be involved immigration reform.
Longtime civil rights advocate Cecilia Munoz was the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under the Obama Administration. For years before that, she worked with the National Council of La Raza, an organization that works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans through community organizing, policy analysis, research, and more.
It is unsurprising that Hilda Solis has become a role model for young Latinas interested in politics. As the first Hispanic women to serve as a Cabinet member, she became the 25th U.S. Secretary of Labor in 2009 under President Barack Obama. Since then, she’s fought to give more power to unions and workers, a struggle important to countless Latinos in the U.S.
Soledad O’Brien has used her influence to bring issues of race, ethnicity, and culture into the public dialogue. She stands out from colleagues not only for her appearance, but for her passion and conviction.
Yvette Modestin is the diaspora coordinator of the Red de Mujeres Afrolatina Americans and is the representative of the network at the UN office for Women and the African Union. This Afro-Latina activist not only works to mend relations between Afro-Latinas and the Latino community but also ensures that relationships within the Afro-Latina and African American community are strong as well. This Panama native is putting in the hard work to make sure everyone stands on equal ground.
You may not have heard of the name Concepcion “Conchita” Picciotto, but it may soon be one you never forget. A longtime activist, she lived in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. in protest of nuclear arms since August 1, 1981. Originally from Spain, her peace camp is notable for being the longest continuous act of political protest in the U.S. Sadly, Picciotto passed away in 2016 but her activism will live on as legendary.
No list on Latinas who inspire us is complete without Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. Born in the Bronx, this proud Puerto Rican graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and started her career in law after attending Yale Law School.
Rosario Dawson is more than just a beautiful actress, she’s also committed to social change and Latino empowerment. In addition to her involvement with Amnesty International, Oxfam, and many other organizations, she co-founded Voto Latino in 2004 in order to bring Latino issues to the forefront. She has especially become a main voice calling for congress to act quickly on passing a clean DREAM act. Dawson is currently acting in various Marvel series on Netflix including Daredevil and Luke Cage.
Speaking of Voto Latino, we can’t leave out Founding Executive Director, Maria Teresa Kumar. For years, she’s been speaking out about government, politics, social entrepreneurship, and other important issues, and can be seen regularly on CNN, Telemundo, and MSNBC.
Gloria Lucas is the founder of Nalgona Positivity Pride and uses her platform to remind women that they are beautiful no matter what shape, size, or color they are. This fierce Latina continues to have talks around the nation ensuring that her body positivity message is heard. She also empowers community leaders to work within their own communities to help spread body positivity.
For some, the name “Dolores Huerta” will forever conjure the famous image of a strong Latina holding up a sign that says “Huelga.” She has been heavily involved in the labor rights and civil rights movements for over 60 years and is an inspiration to many. She was played by Rosario Dawson in the film Cesar Chaves and last year she was the focus of the documentary titled Dolores. Huerta was also an honorary co-chair of the Women's March on Washington that took place the day after Donald Trump was inagurated.
Rita Moreno's role as an “inspirational Latina” cannot be ignored. One of only 12 entertainers to win all major entertainment awards – Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar – she is still the only Latina on that list. Her career has spanned decades and her commitment to the arts was recognized in 2004 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President George W. Bush. She currently stars on the Netflix revival of One Day At A Time.