National Hispanic Heritage Month

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

We invite you to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by joining us as we salute some of the greatest Hispanic Female pioneers in US history!

ANNA MARIA CHAVEZ – Since 2011, Anna Maria Chavez has been the CEO of the Girls Scouts of the USA. She is the first Latina to ever head the prestigious organization.

Anna Maria Chavez, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA


MYRTLE GONZALEZ – Widely known as Hollywood’s first Latin and Hispanic star, Gonzalez starred in more than 70 films during the Silent Film era.

Silent film star Myrtle Gonzalez


RITA HAYWORTH – Born Margarita Carmen Cansino, Rita Hayworth starred in more than 60 films in a career that spanned nearly four decades. She was listed by American Film Institute as one of the 100 Greatest Stars of All Time.

Legendary singer, actress and dancer Rita Hayworth


CAROLINA HERRERA – Venezuelan-born and internationally recognized socialite and fashion designer Carolina Herrera has designed elegant clothes for everyone from First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Michelle Obama to style icons like Bianca Jagger and Duchess Diana de Melo.

Fashion designer Carolina Herrera

RITA MORENO – Puerto Rican actress and singer Rita Moreno captivated audiences early in her career in hit films like West Side Story, and she continues to keep them spellbound in projects as gritty as the HBO series prison drama Oz. She is one of a handful of history-making performers to win an Academy Award, a Tony, a Grammy and an Emmy.

Multi-talented performer Rita Moreno


ANTONIA NOVELLO – Novello is the first woman and Hispanic to serve as US Surgeon General – a position she held from 1990 – 1993.

Former Surgeon General Antonia Novello


SONIA SOTOMAYOR – Nominated by President Barack Obama and subsequently confirmed by a Senate vote 3 months later, Sonia Sotomayor became the first person of Hispanic heritage to be appointed to the US Supreme Court in August of 2009.

US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor


HONORABLE MENTION: OSCAR DE LA RENTA – Sure, he’s not a woman, but he sure knows how to make us look beautiful and, well, that’s certainly worth mentioning, isn’t it? The Dominican-born designer has been dressing women since the mid 1960’s. Although his ready-to-wear collections are now available in retail stores, he is primarily known for his chic, sophisticated evening and red carpet creations.

Acclaimed fashion designer Oscar de la Renta


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