Our 4 Inspiring Young Latinas of the Month!

We previously reported on the inspirational story of Mercedes Ramirez Johnson, who survived a tragic plane crash in 1995. Johnson lost her parents in the accident and suffered severe injuries. Despite all of the challenges she faced, the mother of four boys finished college and transformed her terrible experience into a hopeful story. In honor of her powerful experience, we are highlighting our 4 Inspiring Latinas of the Month. Be sure to learn more about Johnson's journey on ABC's The Revolution all this week.

1. Inspiring Latina: Gaby Rodriguez

Last year, the then 17-year-old senior at Toppenish High School in Toppenish, Washington, pretended to be pregnant for six months for her Senior Project, a requirement for graduation. Gaby Rodriguez told only a handful of people about the experiment, which was aimed to bring awareness to stereotypes often pegged to Latina youth. Among those in on the months-long secret were the teenager’s mother, boyfriend, and school principal, Trevor Greene. Greene said he admired Rodriguez’s courage in an interview with the Yakima-Herald newspaper. “In essence, she gave up her senior year,” he said. “She sacrificed her senior year to find out what it would be like to be a potential teen mom.” Read more here!

2. Inspiring Latina: Patricia Ramirez

We’re excited to introduce to you a Californian young woman named Patricia Ramirez [nicknamed Patty], who is a cancer survivor. Patricia’s sister e-mailed us her story, and we had to share. After she was diagnosed with leukemia last year, Patricia has weathered many storms, and continues to push on. Ramirez’s leukemia diagnosis fell on an interesting date – March 31, 2011. According to her sister Sovia Mendoza, Patricia connected it to the late Mexican American civil rights activist/labor leader César Chávez, who was born on March 31, 1927. “‘Si se puede’ [Yes, it can be done] she [Patricia] said to fighting this disease, ‘si se puede’ to enduring months of horrible chemotherapy,” Mendoza wrote in her e-mail to Latina. Continue reading here!

3. Inspiring Latina: Ariana Torres

Ariana is a Latina who proves that working hard really can pay off. Through studying and working simultaneously, this 23 year-old native of Mexico became the only full Latina on the NBA Los Angeles Clippers Spirit dance team, and she’s proud of it! While studying as a scholarship student at UC Berkeley, this Tijuana, Mexico native worked full time and cheered professionally for the San Francisco Forty-Niners. Her drive doesn’t stop there. Ariana also works at a Latino non-profit in Los Angeles. Her diversified interests make Ariana's story so unique. She told Latina.com via e-mail, “I am proud of being full Mexican, love to step out of the norm, and encourage other Latinos to follow their dreams.” Keep reading!

4. Inspiring Latina: Samantha Garvey

Samantha Garvey has become a household name since being invited to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. The homeless teen garnered national attention after becoming a semifinalist in Intel’s science competition for her research in mussel population. Since then, the future marine biologist has appeared on several shows including, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where she received a $50,000 college scholarship from AT&T. During her appearance, she explained what drives her everyday, “Science has always been big for me…Being able to focus on something else is my way out.” Garvey added, “I decided that if I keep doing what I love, I’m able to make a better life for myself.” Read more here!

5. Inspiring Latina: Related Links