The first Latina I ever personally met was back in fourth grade when Audrey Huerta was one of my Frost Elementary classmates. Over the rest of my school days and in my 20’s I got to meet and even date a few while reading about the exploits of amazing Latina civil rights icons like Dolores Huerta.
I also came in contact with more Latinas at my mom’s school, since she spent her teaching career working at two East End elementary schools. I also got the message early that Latinas come in all shapes, sizes and skin tones when I met Nereida Hooker, Lydia Andrade and Cindy Lopez while I was working my job at the Astrodome and a few years later at my airline job.
So what’s National Latina Day? It’s one that was started back on August 20, 2015 for Latina women here and around the globe to show pride in their heritage and who they are as Latinx women. They are urged to wear red on that day
Latinas are the intersectional trailblazing backbone of our various human rights movements not only in our nation but across Latin America. I have great examples of that locally in Ana Andrea Molina, Ali Lozano, Kayla Lozano, Maria Gonzalez, Januari Leo, Melissa Vivanco, Sen. (and future congresswoman) Sylvia Garcia,. Elizabeth Santos, Christina Gorczynski and Alice Serna McDougald just to name a few.
In the trans community, in addition to Ana Andrea, we also are blessed to have Latina trans leaders like Joanna Cifredo, Bamby Salcedo, Ruby Corado, Alexis Martinez, Arianna Lint, Jada Mercedes Cardona, Marie Angel Hernandez, Brooke Cerda Guzman, Catalina Velasquez and Jennicet Gutierrez who are unapologetically trans Latinas, proud of their heritage and do the work to make our trans community better for all of us.
Latinas grace our lives in all fields from the business world to education, politics and media, and some are blazing historic trails while doing so.
It has also been interesting to watch over the last few years as people like La La Anthony, Soledad O’Brien, Tatyana Ali, Gina Torres, Rosario Dawson, Reagan Gomez- Preston and Amara La Negra name and claim their Afro Latinx roots like my friend Nereida unapologetically did back in 1981.
Afro Latinas are driving home the point that they exist and deserve to be in the conversation when the conversation turns to talking about who Latinas are and what they look like, the issues they face like anti-Blackness, and let you know they will be unapologetically Black while participating in the needed and necessary discussion. .
So to all the Latinas, cis and trans who I am blessed to currently have in my life, call my friends, and who make my life infinitely better, Happy National Latina Day!