During Hispanic Heritage Month, we are celebrating the rich tapestry of Hispanic culture and the remarkable individuals who have made significant contributions to American society. In the fields of academia and literature, these Latinos have enriched our understanding of Latinos in the United States with their profound insights, analyses and storytelling.
G. Cristina Mora, a Mexican American sociology professor at UC Berkeley and the author of the 2014 book “Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats & Media Constructed a New American,” explores the conception, construction, and institutionalization of the “Hispanic” category during the 1980 census, which marked the first inclusion of a Latino/Hispanic identifier. Her book underscores the pivotal roles played by advocacy organizations, especially the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS), in the emergence of a “pan-Hispanic/Latino” identity.
Mora continues to produce scholarly works that delve into racial politics in the United States. We anticipate the rich archives she will leave for generations of Latinos to come.
Christopher Rivas is Dominican and Colombian American actor and the author of the 2022 book “Brown Enough: True Stories About Love, Violence, the Student Loan Crisis, Hollywood, Race, Familia, and Making It in America.” This book is a captivating blend of memoir and social commentary, delving into topics such as love, fake-it-till-you-make-it ambition, imperfect Spanish, racial identity, code-switching, whitewashing, Hollywood scandals, and the student debt crisis. Notably, this work has received praised from the esteemed Latino actor John Leguizamo.
Beyond his writing, you can catch Christopher on the small screen in the Fox series “CALL ME KAT” and listen to his podcast, “Brown Enough,” on SiriusXM.
Elizabeth Acevedo is a spoken word artist and a New York Times bestselling author known for her 2018 book, “The Poet X.” This captivating story unfolds through a series of poems, offering readers a window into the life of Xiomara Batista, an Afro-Latina heroine from Harlem who discovers her strength through slam poetry. “The Poet X” has earned critical acclaim, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award.
In addition to her remarkable success with “The Poet X,” Acevedo has authored “With the Fire on High,” which garnered accolades from the New York Public Library, NPR, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. She also wrote “Clap When You Land,” a book recognized as a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor book and a Kirkus finalist.