Hispanic Heritage Month: 9 Activists & Political Leaders Who Shaped Our Present

Ask Media Group | Photos Courtesy: Diana Davies/Manuscripts and Archives Division/The New York Public Library; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; U.S. Department of Labor/Wikimedia; Tenayuca Family/Wikimedia Commons

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve spotlighted the films, TV shows, books, artists, and comedians who’ve brought much-needed representation (and top-notch entertainment) into our lives and living rooms. Here, however, we’re honoring some of the real-life Hispanic American and Hispanic activists, speakers and political leaders who have made a difference in the United States and Puerto Rico. Undoubtedly, these nine voices have shaped — and continue to shape — our lives.

Editor’s Note: There are certainly limitations and nuances that come with identifying language. Dominican journalist Amanda Alcántara perhaps puts it best in an interview for an article entitled “The Problem With Latinidad,” saying that terms like Hispanic often create “a monolith… of an entire continent when every single country and every single community has their own history.”

In our other Hispanic Heritage Month articles centering on films, TV shows and books, we focused solely on the Hispanic American experience. Here, we’re focusing on Hispanic activists and leaders who have made a difference in both the United States and Puerto Rico. Some of the featured figures may identify as Hispanic American, while others may be working in the United States but from Spanish-speaking countries in South America and Central America. For a more in-depth look at the nuance of language as it relates to terms like "Hispanic" and "Latinx," check out this informative primer from Dictionary.com.