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Nuestra Gente

Celebrating Hispanic culture and history September 15th through October 15th, 2022

Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García

Place & Date of Birth: Havana, Cuba |  September 1,1957 

Gloria Estefan is a Cuban American singer, actress, and businesswoman. In March 1990, Estefan sustained a life-threatening cervical vertebrae fracture when her tour bus was involved in a serious accident near Scranton, Pennsylvania. She underwent an emergency surgical stabilization of her cervical spine and post-surgical rehabilitation that lasted almost a year but made a full recovery. Estefan is now a seven-time Grammy Award winner, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and has been named one of the Top 100 greatest artists of all time by both VH1 and Billboard. Estefan’s record sales exceed 75 million worldwide, making her the second best-selling female Latin artist in history and one of the best-selling female singers of all-time.


Desi Arnaz Hispanic Heritage Spotlight

Desi Arnaz

Place & Date of Birth: Santiago, Cuba |  March 2, 1917 – December 2, 1986 

Desi Arnaz (Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y De Acha) was a Cuban-born actor and musician who is remembered for his marriage to Lucille Ball and their TV show, ‘I Love Lucy.’ 

Born to a wealthy family, the Arnazes fled Cuba for Miami after a revolution in 1933. After working several odd jobs to help support his family, Arnaz debuted his own band in Miami Beach in December 1937. 

The young orchestra leader then landed a part in the movie Too Many Girls where he met acress Lucille Ball.  In 1940, the two married, and in 1948 formed Desilu Productions to coordinate their various stage, screen, and radio activities.   

The first episode of I Love Lucy aired on October 15, 1951.  There are 181 episodes total.  The show was nominated for 21 Emmy Awards and won 5 times. 

Arnaz passed away from cancer in 1986 at the age of 69. 

Source: biography.com/actor/desi-arnaz


Sonia Maria Sotomayor 

Place & Date of Birth: New York City, New York – June 25, 1954 

Sonia Sotomayor became the youngest judge in the Southern District and the first Hispanic federal judge in New York State. She became the first Puerto Rican woman to serve as a judge in a U.S. federal court. She has been identified with concern for the rights of defendants, calls for reform of the criminal justice system, and making impassioned dissents on issues of race, gender, and ethnic identity. 


Benito Juarez 

Place & Date of birth: San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca in March 21, 1806 

Benito Pablo Juárez García was a Mexican liberal politician and lawyer who served as the 26th president of Mexico from 1858 until his death in office in 1872. A Zapotec, he was the first indigenous president of Mexico, and the first indigenous head of state in the postcolonial Americas. Juárez was seen as “a preeminent symbol of Mexican nationalism and resistance to foreign intervention.” He is the only individual whose birthday (21 March) is celebrated as a national public and patriotic holiday in Mexico. 


Celia Cruz

Date of Birth:  Havana, Cuba | October 21, 1925

Celia Cruz was a Cuban American singer, best known as one of the most popular salsa performers of all time. 

Before Celia Cruz became known for her signature catchphrase, “Azucar,” she was just a young girl in Cuba absorbing the rich musical diversity in Havana.   She attended a school for teachers after high school before music called to her and she started studying at Havana’s National Conservatory of Music in 1947. 

 In 1960, she left her homeland for the United States where she recorded several albums with Tito Puente, and together they sparked an international interest in salsa.  Cruz’s music and style constantly evolved. While her salsa music was prolific, she also performed rumba and reggaeton, and starred in films.   

Always singing in her native Spanish, she recorded seventy-five records, twenty-three of which went gold, and received a host of honors and awards including the National Medal of Arts and a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy. 

Celia Cruz passed away from brain cancer in 2003 at the age of 77.


Carlos Augusto Santana Alves

Date of Birth:  July 20, 1947 

Carlos Santana was born in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, México on July 20, 1947, learning to play the violin at the age of five and the guitar at the age of 8.  His family moved to Tijuana, Mexico where he began to play in clubs and bars.  In the early 1960’s his family then moved to San Francisco, CA where his musical career gained momentum. 

He formed the Santana Blues Band which quickly gained popularity and ultimately performed at the legendary Woodstock festival in 1969. 

Santana has sold more than 100 million records to date, and his works have works have entered the Grammy Hall of Fame and Latin Grammy Hall of Fame. 

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