By Gabrielle Bennett Senior Content Specialist
Updated February 01, 2024

To celebrate baby’s Hispanic heritage is essential! Raising baby to remember the communal and historical heroes of one of the many countries considered Hispanic will remind them what they’re capable of, too. Baby could be inspired to be a lifelong activist, an astronaut, an artist, or anything in between when they have so many examples to lean on. A Hispanic baby girl, boy, or gender-neutral name taken straight from the pages of history could help them lead a life dedicated to the well-being of all.

Emma González, b. 1999

The youngest Hispanic American celebrated on this list is Emma González. This Latina-American, at the young age of 18, witnessed brutal horrors that irrevocably shaped this teen’s life. In 2017, González survived a mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen of her classmates were killed in a rapid time frame of six minutes and twenty seconds. As a result of this unabashed violence, González quickly became a loud, public advocate for gun law reform. Though she’s young, she has already made her voice heard with her help in organizing the March for Our Lives event in 2018 and her powerful speech, which concluded in a six-minute and twenty-second silence for her fallen classmates.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, b. 1989

Powerhouse Puerto Rican Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a political activist from the Bronx in New York, has been making history for years. She was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at the age of 29, and soon after, in 2019, she entered the US House of Representatives for New York’s 14th district. She is known for her forward-thinking, outspoken politics and these ideals led her to her victory over the 10-term incumbent. Throughout her political terms, she hasn’t stopped fighting for the people who need it most, fundraising and advocating all year long—even raising a whipping $200,000 for food pantries and other organizations on just a three-hour twitch stream.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, b. 1980

A modern-day genius in the arts, Lin-Manuel Miranda is a Puerto Rican composer, actor, and writer born in Washington Heights, New York. Though predominantly known for his smash hit that changed the face and future of broadway, Hamilton, Miranda is also an award recipient and activist. Having received a MacArthur Foundation’s genius grant, multiple Tony awards, an Oscar, a Kennedy Center Honor, and a Pulitzer Prize, Miranda uses his now enormous platform for good. He is a frequent donor to groups helping immigrants in the US, provides aid for natural disaster relief aids, and funds numerous arts education grants.

Julián Castro, b. 1974

Julián Castro is a Mexican American Democrat in the US. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, to Chicana mother and political activist Rosie Castro. Castro himself has admitted his political drive and drive toward a better future can be credited to his mother and grandmother—who immigrated to the US in 1920. His family members have advocated for civil rights and the freedoms of Hispanic people for generations, inspiring Castro and his brother to make big moves on the political chess board.

Jennifer Lopez, 1969

Everyone knows the Puerto Rican New Yorker superstar Jennifer Lopez. She’s “Jenny from the Block,” “JLo,” and the classic Jennifer Lopez and has always handled her rampant stardom with grace. She has fought tirelessly for her path in life, even though her parents supported her performance ambitions at the tender age of five—when she started her singing and dancing lessons. When she decided to drop out of college to become an actor, it was a fight against her parent’s wishes, but she jumped these hurdles with the grace she’s always exhibited.

José Andrés, b. 1969

Food is one of the purest delights of this world, but it is also obviously essential. And one of the people answering the call to provide this necessity to those who need it most is José Andrés. Andrés is an innovative chef who took his talents from Spain to the US in 1991 and gained renown in the years since. But more important than his personal reputation as a chef is his renown as a humanitarian. Andrés formed the World Central Kitchen after the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, which provided hot meals to those affected by the disaster. This World Central Kitchen has since helped in the wake of natural disasters, gathering 19,000 volunteers to serve 3.5 million meals during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico alone. Due to his outstanding work, Andrés has won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef and Humanitarian of the Year and was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

Ellen Ochoa, b. 1958

If you’ve looked to the stars with awe and wonder, you’re not alone. Hispanic American Ellen Ochoa took that awe several steps further, going to space aboard the Discovery shuttle in 1993. She was the first Hispanic American woman to do so, and she went on the nine-day mission to study Earth’s ozone layer. She became a research engineer and joined NASA in 1988, and just two years later was selected to be an astronaut. She earned her Bachelors in Physics and her Masters and PhD in engineering from Stanford. But these feats are not her only claims to fame; she was Johnson Space Center’s first Hispanic director.

Gloria Estefan, b. 1957

One of the most famous Latina singers of recent memory, Gloria Estefan made pop-music history. She is a Cuban woman, but her family fled to Miami during the Cuban Revolution, soon after she was born in 1959. She’s won 3 Grammy Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Kennedy Center Honors in her time. She’s most famous for “Conga,” “Anything for You,” “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” and “Hot Summer Nights.” If that hasn’t got you grooving, it might be time to track down these hit singles.

Gwen Ifill, 1955–2016

Gwen Ifill was a journalist, author, political correspondent, and TV co-anchor gone too soon from breast and endometrial cancers. But before her tragic and early death, she made a massive mark on the United States. She spent time as a chief political correspondent for NBC news and moderated the vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008. She eventually wrote “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” which became a best-selling book. Throughout the rest of her life, she received more than 20 honorary doctorate degrees and the Fourth State Award from the National Press Club. She was a Panamanian and Barbadian American, and she left deep marks on the political landscape.

Sonia Sotomayor, b. 1954

A Bronx native and Puerto Rican history-maker, Sonia Sotomayor, was the first Hispanic American to become a member of the Supreme Court. She’s known since the young age of ten that she would become an attorney, and she did that and more after graduating from Princeton University and Yale Law School in 1976 and 1979, respectively. Favored by presidents for many terms, Sotomayor was nominated for the Southern District of New York in the US District Court by President George HW Bush in 1991, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President George Clinton in ‘97, and—of course—the previously mentioned Supreme Court appointment by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Sylvia Rivera, b. 1951

Of Venezuelan and Puerto Rican descent, Sylvia Rivera has fought tirelessly for the rights of the queer community. When she was young—just ten—she faced severe violence and discrimination and quickly learned to fight for herself. This fight for her survival turned her toward a life of activism, and after Stonewall in ‘69, she and her friend Marsha P. Johnson worked together to form groups helping the underprivileged. A staunch advocate for the LGBTQIA+ youth, she formed Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries with the help of her friend yet again.

Julia Alvarez, 1950

Unlike so many in this list, Julia Alvarez was born in New York City and then moved to the Dominican Republic as a baby. However, those tickets became a return trip when her family moved back in 1960, but not before teaching baby Alvarez a lesson in activism; her father failed, but he attempted to overthrow the militant dictator at the time. Alvarez’s activism took a different shape, but she’s revered for her work as a poet, novelist, and essay writer. One of her most notable works, In the Time of Butterflies, was an inspection of the Dominican Republic dictatorship and was later adapted to film. She used her writing as the vehicle for speaking of much-needed change and has inspired creatives for generations.

Richie Valens, 1942–1959

A story ripe with sincere tragedy, Richie Valens rose to fame quickly in his short life. Undoubtedly his rise can be accredited to his talent and skill, but it also was due to a sacrifice of owning his lineage for white audience approval; Valens was born Valenzuela. Because of his willingness to cater to the dominant audience of the US, Valens was able to introduce the public to the vibrancy of Mexican music! He died tragically at the young age of 17 while on a plane with Big Hopper and Buddy Holly. But his legacy lived on long after him, inspiring creatives for generations, making films and music connected to his story.

Roberto Clemente, 1934–1972

If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve definitely heard of Roberto Clemente. Born in Puerto Rico, he set his sights high. Clemente became a professional baseball player by 18 in his home country, then moved to Canada for a stint, and then made his way to the US in 1954, joining the Pittsburgh Pirates. He faced racial discrimination throughout his career, but he didn’t let those people dictate a downfall in his career but rather used his growing platform to become an advocate for the rights of Latino and Black people in sports. And in 1964, Clemente became the first Latin American and Caribbean to win the World Series as a starting player. Unfortunately, a tragic accident occurred in 1972 where Clemente died while en route to aiding the relief efforts of an earthquake in Nicaragua. A year after his death, he was still making history; he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the first Hispanic person to do so.

Rita Moreno, 1931

Knowing she would see her name in lights, Rita Moreno became a darling of the Broadway stage. She broke everyone’s hearts in her portrayal of Anita in West Side Story in 1961, launching her into stardom. But she didn’t stop there; her various roles earned her numerous Emmys, Kennedy Center Honors, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony award, Grammys, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, Academy Awards, and an Oscar. If you couldn’t keep up with her whirlwind stardom, that makes her one of the few EGOTs in the world! Her fast track to history-making Broadway fame started with winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress as the first ever Hispanic American woman to win an Academy Award. Rita is still earning accolades and fans with every passing day!

Dolores Huerta, 1930

Dolores Huerta is a fighter. She founded the United Farm Workers organization and has used that platform to fight for the rights of agricultural workers. She identified the gap in safe working conditions and fair contracts; she sought to eliminate harmful pesticides and fought for worker benefits, including healthcare and unemployment aid. She has been a leader in seeking working rights for decades, founding organizations like the Dolores Huerta Foundation in 2002 and leading strikes like the Delano Grape Strike in 1965. Her tireless work earned her the inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Cesar Chavez, 1927–1993

A labor leader, civil rights activist, and a navy man, Cesar Chavez accomplished many things in his time. As a Mexican American, Chavez always knew his fair share of oppression and was faced with inequality in the workplace. The focus of his activism was primarily on farm workers’ rights. He worked in the Community Service Organization in California, and there he met Dolores Huerta; they co-founded the National Farm Workers Association for Hispanic working rights. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his service, and his activism led the way for today's rights movements.

Guy Gabaldon, 1926–2006

Guy Gabaldon was born during the interim of the World Wars. Unbeknownst to him and his foster family, at just the young age of 18, Gabaldon would make history. His foster family was Japanese, and they taught him basic Japanese in the seven years he lived with them. Tragically, his foster family was taken to concentration camps when World War II struck. Gabaldon was, of course, too young to enlist at the time, but at 18, he became a marine and was stationed in the South Pacific. Because of his family’s educational efforts, Gabaldon was able to negotiate with Japanese soldiers in Japanese for the peaceful surrender of approximately 1,500 soldiers and civilians. He was nicknamed the Pied Piper of Saipan, won both the Purple Heart and the Navy Cross, and lived a long life afterward as one of history’s most remarkable negotiators.

Jovita Idár, 1885–1946

A woman who walked so feminists of today could run, Jovita Idár was an activist all her life. She was a Mexican American woman who diligently fought for her rights and others sharing her background. But her biggest splash in history was her public condemnation of Woodrow Wilson’s decision to send US troops to the border. Using her father’s paper for the publication of this outcry resulted in Texas rangers showing up on her doorstep to shut down the paper. But Idár refused to relent, literally standing in the way of the rangers until they eventually left. Unfortunately, they later were able to stop the paper's publication, but Idár never stopped her fight for the equal rights of women and underrepresented people.

Octaviano Larrazola, 1859–1930

Octaviano Larrazola was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1859. His family immigrated to the United States when he was a child, and there he was raised in New Mexico. He sought a life of politics after seeing the disparity between his people and that of more privileged communities. Through his life of political action, he sought equal treatment for Hispanic Americans and was known as a “champion of civil rights.” In 1918, he was elected as the fourth governor of New Mexico, and in 1928, he was elected as the first Hispanic American to serve in the US Senate.
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