Inspirational Hispanic Women

Hispanic women have always been very passionate when it comes to what they believe in. Once they set their minds to something, there’s no stopping them. Whether it’s breaking barriers between stereotypes or creating a movement, they are all inspirational in their own right. Therefore, we should recognize them by making a list of the top five Hispanic women in history that left some of the most significant impacts on the world.

  1. 1. Selena Quintanilla-Pérez

    Quote: “If you have a dream, don’t let anybody take it away.”

    As a famous Latina artist, Selena was known as the “Queen of Tejano" or the "Mexican Madonna." Before tragically dying at the age of 23, Selena inspired many American Latinas by being the first Hispanic woman to achieve the American dream. She was not only a musical sensation, but also an entrepreneur. When she wasn't designing her own outfits for the stage, she was designing for her clothing line. Her music and success managed to bring together Latinos from Mexico and the United States for the first time.

  2. 2. Dolores Huerta

    Quote: “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”

    Without the Latina activist icon Dolores Huerta, farm working in the United States for migrant laborers would be entirely different in the worst way. When American farmers saw migrant workers as merely cheap labor for them to exploit, Huerta said “NO MORE.” She gathered activists from across the country and created a movement that shook the agriculture industry until they respected their employees. If it weren’t for her, we wouldn’t have unions, such as the Agricultural Workers Association and the National Farm Workers Association, protecting workers’ rights. She spent her whole life fighting for human rights but didn’t stop at just the agricultural laborers. Even today, Dolores Huerta continues to help people with her foundations the Feminist Majority Foundation and the People For the American Way. Her goal is to make sure everyone has equal rights, no matter what race or gender you are, through urging others to join the fight.

  3. 3. The Mirabal Sisters (Minerva, Patria, and Maria Teresa)

    Quote: “If they kill me... I’ll reach my arms out through my tomb and I’ll be even stronger.” -Minerva

    Yes, I know these are three different women but hear me out. These women left a massive mark on the world by defying the ruthless dictator, Rafael Trujillo. At the time, he was running the Dominican Republic with an iron fist, and the Mirabel sisters did not make his reign easy. While much of the public hid terrified of the dictator, the Mirabel Sisters did the complete opposite. Not only did they try to assassinate him, but they also gathered weapons, distributed pamphlets, and even made homemade bombs out of firecrackers around their kitchen table. If that doesn’t scream badass, I don’t know what does.

  4. 4. Jennifer Lopez

    Quote: “It’s smart to listen to other people’s advice, but at the end of the day, you’re the only one who can tell you what’s right for you.”

    Selena may have gotten the ball rolling for Latina music artists, but Jennifer Lopez is the person who continued that legacy after her passing. In addition to being a current Latin artist, JLo just so happens to have a thriving career as an actress, producer, and dancer, making her a quadruple threat in the industry. Despite coming from a poor Puerto Rican family who lived in the Bronx, Lopez spent her whole life striving to improve herself and her career. Her goal was never to let anything hold her back. This includes negative tabloids, messy relationships, and constant rejections that tried to tear her down. In the end, Jennifer Lopez never allowed her fame to take over and always stood by her roots: a Latina first and superstar second. She does this by participating in charities such as the Children’s Health Fund and Amnesty International while also spreading awareness for Mexican femicide. To her, there is no human rights cause not worth fighting for or dream too hard to reach, making Latinas look up to her today. (Fun Fact: Jennifer Lopez played Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in a movie.)

  5. 5. Sylvia Rivera

    Quote: “Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned.”

    After being abandoned by her family at the age of 10, Sylvia grew up realizing what it truly meant to grow up as a transgender person in New York during the 60s. Not only was homosexuality considered a mental disease, but those part of the LGBTQ+ community had to face police and societal brutality on a daily basis. This infuriated Sylvia, which was why she was one of the first patrons to throw bricks at the police at the Stonewall Riot, sparking her newfound career as an activist. That was when she realized that even in the queer community, she was still a minority as a brown, gender nonconforming, and poor trans individual. At the time, the LGBTQ+ had only highlighted the middle-class white gay men and lesbians.  Therefore, this leads to Sylvia Rivera to form her activist group called STAR (Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries). Within this group, she sheltered many homeless youths, street queens, and hustlers to create a safe place for minorities to go. She also used this group to pressure the government into including transgender people into the New York City Gay Rights Bill, claiming that they had rights too. This was why even after her death, Sylvia's legacy lived on through the queer activists she inspired with her dedication and fierce spirit. If it weren't for her, the "T" in LGBTQ+ might have not even existed and the community might've not been as accepting as it is today.