9 Latinas Who Did it For the Culture in 2016

While we can all agree that 2016 was somewhat of a hot mess, it never stopped each of these Latinas from trailblazing in their own right. This year, these women wrote books, carved spaces for themselves in history, took important positions at The White House and did everything they could to make a name for themselves and their cultures. 

Ahead, check out these incredible accomplishments by women who make us proud to be Latina.

PLUS: Presenting Badass Ladies Who Inspired Us In 2016

1. LWDI: Julissa Arce

Julissa Arce

Arce took the world by storm this year with her powerful memoir, "My (Underground) American Dream." In her book, she opened up about her experience growing up and working as an undocumented executive on Wall Street. 

2. LWDI: Ana Flores

Ana Flores

As founder and CEO of #WeAllGrow Latina Network, Flores knows the significance of supporting your fellow Latina woman. This year, she was invited to speak on a panel at the White House's United State of Women Summit about gender diversity in media. 

3. LWDI: Juliana Pache

Juliana Pache

This Afro-Latinx Twitter personality introduced the Internet to #BlackLatinxHistory in February 2016. The hashtag was created in order to include Afro-Latinx people into the Black History Month narrative. 

4. LWDI: Joanna Hausmann

Joanna Hausmann

Hausmann isn't just making the Latinx community laugh with culturally relevant jokes — she's also making them think. Her videos and social content often aim to inform her audience about everything from her native Venezuela's political crisis to what it means to her to identify as a Jewtina. This year, she also landed a spot as an official correspondant on Bill Nye's new series, "Bill Nye Saves the World," which we look forward to watching on Netflix in 2017.

5. LWDI: Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera

This year, Rivera has helped build a space for young queer Latinas with her writing. With her debut YA novel "Juliet Takes a Breath," she is heightening representation of LGBTQ Latinas in literature. Also in 2016, the Boricua announced that she will be writing the story of "America," Marvel's first queer Latina superhero series. 

6. LWDI: Wendy Carrillo

Wendy Carrillo

In the wake of the 2016 election, this journalist and activist decided to take a stand for her community by running for Congress. In a Medium essay, Carrillo explains that she realized our country needs leaders who are "unapologetically progressive and 100 percent for the people." 

7. LWDI: Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

Freedman-Gurspan made history this year as the White House's first trans Latina LGBT liason. As the outreach and recruitment director for presidential personnel and associate director for public engagement, the hondureña is the point person for LGBT groups on all issues.

8. LWDI: Sarai Gonzalez

Sarai Gonzalez

This 11-year-old girl stole the hearts of millions this year when she made her debut in Bomba Estereo's music video "Soy Yo." She inspired brown girls everywhere to brush off the haters and just be themselves.

9. LWDI: Tanzina Vega

Tanzina Vega

As the CNN national reporter on race and inequality, this Puerto Rican knows how to spot injustices when she sees them. This is exactly why she recently published a thoughtful article on "How Newsrooms Can Be So White," where she expanded on her own experience being Latina at The New York Times. She also challenged companies by giving them concrete steps as to how brands can diversify their offices and give journalists of color a chance to grow.