Antonia Pantoja, honoring the champion of the Puerto Rican community

During this Hispanic Heritage Month we honor Dr. Antonia Pantoja. One of her favorite saying was “We make the future, I make the future.” The Puerto Rican New Yorker committed her life to helping Latino high school students get an education and move forward in life.


More about Dr. Pantoja:

1922 – Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico

1942 – Graduated from the University of Puerto Rico

1944 – Arrived in New York City

1952 – Graduated with Masters of Social Work

1958 – joined a group of young professionals creating the Puerto Rican Forum, Inc.

1961 – Founded ASPIRA

1970 – established the Universidad Boricua and the Puerto Rican Research and Resource Center

1972 – Fought for bilingual education in New York City

1997 – President Clinton awarded Dr. Pantoja the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She became the first Latina to receive the highest honor the nation bestows on a civilian.


Other sources: 

ASPIRA: Our founder 

National Association of Social Workers

Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating Hispanic women who have changed the world

This Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15- Oct. 15) we will be honoring Hispanic women who have worked to make life better for others, especially the Hispanic community.

These are women who have made an impact in education, politics, art, journalism, science, civil rights, tech and other fields. Some of these Hispanic leaders are still with us today and some are not, but their legacy lives on.



Read more about Maria Rebecca Latigo de Hernandez and her hard work.

Texas State Historical Association



Women’s History Month: The Latina who fought for better education for Mexican children

MariaHernandezMaría Rebecca Latigo de Hernández was a civil rights activist. She worked hard to make life better for the Mexican-American community. In 1929, she co-founded the Orden Caballeros of America. The organization supported civic and civil rights.

Latigo de Hernández protested the segregation of Mexican-American children and the inferior education they were being offered at school in San Antonio, Texas. In 1970, she was instrumental in the development of the Raza Unity Party’s gain in politics.

Latigo de Hernández used radio to get her message out. She was one of the first Mexican-Americans on the radio in the 1930, and later went on to do television until the 1970’s.

Highlights of Hernández’s Life

  • Taught elementary school in Monterrey
  • Mother of 10 children.
  • 1929-Organized organization dedicated to political activities to help Mexicans.
  • 1932-first Mexican female radio announcer. 1933- Formed organization to give financial help to expectant mothers.
  • 1934-Formed organization to help get better education for Mexican community.
  • 1934-spoke on “Voz de las Americas” to promote LULAC.
  • 1938-took up works rights in the Pecan-Shellers’ Strike.
  • 1939-visited Mexico’s president to create good will between Mexico and U.S. Mexicans.
  • 1945- Book published with Hernández essays.
  • 1945- formed Club Liberal Pro-Cultura de la Mujer.
  • 1968- began bimonthly speeches on education and social progress.
  • 1968-was part of El Círculo Social Damas de América on Television in SA
  • 1968-testified before US Commission on Civil Rights on race discrimination against Mexican Americans and African Americans.
  • 1969- Board member of Círculo Social
  • 1970- became part of Raza Unida Party
  • 1986-María Hernández died of pneumonia in Lytle on January 8, 1986

More resources on María Rebecca Latigo de Hernández

Texas State Historical Association: Life of Maria Rebeca Latigo Hernandez

Latinas in the United States: Maria Rebecca Latigo de Hernandez 

Rebecca Aguilar is a freelance journalist and the founder of Wise Latinas Linked, a virtual group of 7,000 Latinas on Facebook and LinkedIn.