Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.During National Hispanic Heritage Month(September 15 to October 15) we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.
Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.
The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”
According to this Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.
Lupe Valdez (born October 11, 1947) is an American law enforcement official who is currently the Sheriff of Dallas County, Texas.
Born to migrant farm worker parents, she was raised in San Antonio as the youngest of seven children. She started life working in the fields, but paid her way through college, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. She then earned a Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Prior to entering law enforcement, Lupe Valdez was an officer in the United States Army. During her time in the Army, she attained the rank of Captain.
Her law enforcement career began as a jailer, first in a county jail and then a federal prison. She then moved on to investigative roles as an agent of the General Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and, finally, the U.S. Customs Service where she was a leader in the federal Counter Smuggling Initiative. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, she was made a Senior Agent, serving in that role until her retirement in 2004. In January 2004, Lupe Valdez retired to run for the office of Dallas County Sheriff.
On January 2, 2004, Lupe Valdez announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Dallas County Sheriff. During the primary election, she faced three opponents, and finished as the highest vote-getter with 13,867 votes. She subsequently won a run-off election against future Dallas County Judge Jim Foster. Valdez won 73% of the vote in the run-off.
As she entered the general campaign, Valdez was widely considered the underdog in her general election race against Republican Danny Chandler. Chandler, a 30-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, had defeated incumbent Sheriff Jim Bowles in the Republican primary. Bowles, who was tainted by corruption allegations, had held the office for 20 years.
The general election saw Valdez beat Chandler by 51.3% to 48.7% – a margin of some 18,000 votes. The election, combined with the fact that Valdez is female, Hispanic and a lesbian, made national headlines and was even reported overseas.
On November 4, 2008, Lupe Valdez was re-elected Sheriff of Dallas County with 388,327 votes to Lowell Cannaday’s 322,808 votes, a margin of roughly 65,500. Valdez received over 99,000 more votes than the heterosexual Democratic” option. She won in precincts across Dallas County, including formerly Republican areas including Valley Ranch in Irving and Mesquite. Her opponent won most precincts in far North Dallas, Richardson, Coppell, and the southern part of Irving. She began her second four-year term on January 1, 2009.
In 2010, the Dallas County Jails passed inspection by the State of Texas for the first time since 2003. Completion of a new jail facility in 2009 and continued investment from Dallas County were cited as steps towards re-certification of the Dallas County jail system, which passed inspection once again in 2011.
Also in 2010, Sheriff Valdez was elected to the Democratic National Committee and was appointed by President Barack Obama to a committee regarding immigration reform.
In November, 2012, Valdez won a third term, defeating Republican challenger Kirk Launius. She also announced in 2015 that she would be seeking a fourth term in 2016.
Camilo Arenivar (born June 2, 1967) is a founding member of the Los Angeles-based POZ Power Coalition, part of The Wall-Las Memorias Project. Since 2007 he has been Quality Assurance Engineer at Entertainment Partners. Additional work included creation of the now defunct LGBT Hip Hop website, It is now become what Arenivar calls “a ditigal archive” OutHipHop.com. He was the organizer and tour manager for the HomoRevolution Tour, the first ever organized road tour of LGBT hip hop artists which traveled to 10 cities in the southwestern United States. In 2009, he launched Big Milo Records, the first independent record label geared toward LGBT Hip Hop with distribution, the site is now defunct.
Arenivar has managed gay rappers such as Deadlee and Latino hip hop group, Salvimex, Tori Fixx in the past. Arenivar is passionate about his efforts, largely in part to integrate mainstream rap and hip hop into gay culture and vice versa, to show that there is a significant audience in the LGBT community and to prove that said mainstream genre is not limited to the so-called “haters” (typically homophobics).
Arenivar grew up in Pittsburg, California, USA.
Iyari Pérez Limón (born July 8, 1976) is an American actress, best known for her supporting role as Potential Slayer Kennedy on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Limón was born in Guadalajara, California, US, USA, ), UA on July 8, 1976. She moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of one, and grew up in Southern California.
Limón has appeared in numerous TV commercials, both in Spanish and English. Among her credits are commercials for Toyota, Dr Pepper, and Always.
During her screen test for the part of Carmen in The L Word, Limón ad libbed a Spanish phrase into Kate Moennig’s ear (“Quiero lamerte hasta que te vengas en mi boca mil veces” – “I want to lick you until you come in my mouth a thousand times”). The phrase was written into the show, and later used in the series by Sarah Shahi’s Carmen. Limón played Clovis Galletta in the 2011 video game, L.A. Noire.
Limón came out as bisexual in an interview with the website AfterEllen.com in April 2006, in which she stated that she was once married to Napoleon Dynamite actor Efren Ramirez and was, at the time of the interview, dating DJane Sandra Edge. In September 2007, AfterEllen.com further reported that Limon and Edge had ended their relationship, and that Limon was pregnant by her boyfriend Alejandro Soltero. Limon married Alejandro Soltero and their daughter was born on August 24, 2007.
Michael Angel Nava (born September 16, 1954 in Stockton, California) is an American attorney and writer. He has worked on the staff for the California Supreme Court, and ran for a Superior Court position in 2010. He authored a seven-volume mystery series featuring Henry Rios, an openly gay protagonist who is a criminal defense lawyer. His novels have received six Lambda Literary Awards and critical acclaim in the GLBT and Latino communities.
Nava grew up in Gardenland, a predominantly working-class Mexican neighborhood in Sacramento, California that he described as “not as an American suburb at all, but rather as a Mexican village, transported perhaps from Guanajuato, where my grandmother’s family originated, and set down lock, stock and chicken coop in the middle of California.” His maternal family settled there in 1920 after escaping from the Mexican Revolution. Nava’s grandmother was an “influential force” whose “piety and humility that was highlighted by her Catholic beliefs.”
At 12 years old, he started writing and it was also around that time he recognized that he was gay. He was the first person in his family to go to college; he attended Colorado College and “acquired a special affinity for literature and writing.”[ He joined a group of young poets that included writer and humorist David Owen and the poet David Mason. He graduated in 1976 cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History.
Nava received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and spent the following year in Buenos Aires and Madrid where he worked on translations of works by Spanish-American poet Rubén Darío. After returning, he considered graduate education in English or History. He enrolled in Stanford Law School, and received his J.D. in 1981.
Nava worked in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, where he was a deputy attorney and prosecutor on about 50 jury trials. In 1985, he became an associate at the appellate boutique firm Horvitz & Levy, located in Encino, California.] He then served as a judicial staff attorney for Arleigh Woods, the first female African-American appellate court justice in California, from 1986-1995. One of the cases he worked on was Jasperson v. Jessica’s Nail Clinic in 1989, which resulted in the first published decision to uphold an HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination statute.
After Woods retired, Nava moved back to Northern California and settled in San Francisco. In 1999, he joined the staff of the California Supreme Court. In 2004, he became a judicial attorney for Carlos R. Moreno, who was the third Latino to ever sit on the California Supreme Court. Nava said “Judicial attorneys and law clerks can have a huge influence in shaping the direction of the law, but there are very few attorneys of color in those positions because they are mostly filled through the Old Boys Network. We need to establish our own network.”
From 2007 to 2009, he was a member of the State Bar of California’s Council on Access and Fairness, which advises the State Bar’s board of governors on diversity issues. In 2008, he wrote The Servant of All: Humility, Humanity, and Judicial Diversity, a law review article where he put forth the case for judicial diversity.
In 2010, Nava ran for Seat 15 of the San Francisco Superior Court. In the June election, he received a plurality of the votes, but the position required a majority. In the November run-off election with incumbent Richard Ulmer, he received 87,511 votes (46.83%) compared to Ulmer’s 99,342 (53.17%).
After graduating from Stanford Law School, Nava began writing his first novel. The Little Death features Henry Rios, an openly gay Latino criminal defense lawyer who worked in Los Angeles. He was inspired to create Rios because of a comment by author Toni Morrison about writing books that she could have read when she was growing up. After the novel was rejected by thirteen publishers, it was picked up by Alyson Books, and published in 1986. His follow-up novel, Goldenboy, published in 1988, received critical acclaim by the New York Times which called him a “brilliant storyteller.” From 1990-2000, Nava wrote five more Henry Rios books: How Town, The Hidden Law, The Death of Friends, The Burning Plain, and Rag and Bone. He received six Lambda Literary Awards. In 2001, he was awarded the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle, a GLBT professional group within the publishing industry.
In 1994, he co-authored the book Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America.
After not having written any new novels since 2000, Nava announced in 2008 that he has drafted a new work, The Children of Eve, which was set in the Mexican Revolution. He based one of the main characters on his grandfather. The Children of Eve would later be redone as a quartet of historical fiction novels; the first book would be titled The City of Palaces.
In October 2008, Nava married his partner George Herzog, an oncology nurse at the Veteran’s Administration hospital in San Francisco. California Supreme Court justice Carlos R. Moreno presided over the ceremony. They live in Daly City, California.
Carmen Carrera (born April 13, 1985) is an American reality television personality, model, burlesque performer, and actress, known for appearing on the third season of the Logo reality television series RuPaul’s Drag Race, as well as its spin-off series RuPaul’s Drag U. Although she presented as male during the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, on May 1, 2012, ABC News reported that Carrera is a transgender woman.
The November 2011 issue of W featured a series of fictional products in realistically styled advertisements as part of an issue-wide art project. Carrera was featured in the series as the face for the fictional fragrance La Femme. In 2011, Carrera, along with third seasonDrag Race contestants Manila Luzon and Shangela Laquifa Wadley, appeared in a television commercial for the travel-related website Orbitz.
Carrera has also been active in AIDS awareness and activism. After being featured in aGilead Sciences ad entitled “Red Ribbon Runway” with fellow Drag Race co-stars Manila Luzon, Delta Work, Shangela Laquifa Wadley, and Alexis Mateo, the dress she wore was auctioned by Logo in commemoration of World AIDS Day. Proceeds from the auction were donated to the National Association of People with AIDS.
Carrera appeared as a “drag professor” in two episodes of the second season of RuPaul’s Drag U. In the episode “80s Ladies,” she gave singer Stacey Q a confidence-boosting makeover.
In an episode of the ABC news program Primetime: What Would You Do? that aired on May 4, 2012, Carrera portrayed the role of a transgender server working in a New Jersey diner. An actor playing a customer berates Carrera’s character regarding his past experience of being served by her when she had presented as male, prompting other customers to come to Carrera’s defense. This program also marked the first occasion in which Carrera publicly revealed herself to be transgender.
In 2014, Carrera was included as part of the Advocate’s annual “40 under 40” list and made a cameo appearance on Jane the Virgin’s premier episode.
Also in 2014, Carrera was featured on the fifth anniversary cover of C☆NDY magazine along with 13 other transgender women: Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Geena Rocero, Isis King, Gisele Alicea, Leyna Ramous, Dina Marie, Nina Poon, Juliana Huxtable, Niki M’nray, Pêche Di, Carmen Xtravaganza and Yasmine Petty.
She is of Puerto Rican-Peruvian ancestry.
Mitch Kellaway is a transgender news reporter, Pushcart Prize-nominated writer, and the co-editor of Manning Up: Transsexual Men on Finding Brotherhood, Family & Themselves, an anthology of personal narratives by trans men. He currently covers trans news for the Advocate.com.
Mitch has written over 400 articles, op-eds, essays, interviews, and reviews about LGBT people, with a focus on transgender communities. He’s gotten a chance to speak with and write about a number of today’s transgender luminaries, including Laverne Cox, Laura Jane Grace, S. Bear Bergman, Trace Lysette, Angelica Ross, and Sgt. Shane Ortega.
In addition to The Advocate, his writing has appeared in the Lambda Literary Review, Everyday Feminism, Huffington Post, Mic, Out, and Original Plumbing magazine, and has been published in several literary journals and anthologies including Jonathan: A Journal of Gay Fiction, Zeteo, Re*cog*nize: The Voices of Bisexual Men, Best Sex Writing 2015, Finding Masculinity: Female-to-Male Transition in Adulthood, and Outside the XY: Queer, Brown Masculinity (forthcoming 2015).
An openly queer, biracial man, Mitch holds a degree in gender studies from Harvard University and lives with his wife in Somerville, MA.