Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled an exhibit in the State Capitol honoring the legacy of eight Latino leaders and announced that September 15th marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage month. The exhibit, "Shaping the Bright Future of New York State | Celebrating Hispanic Heritage," explores the significant and far-reaching contributions of Latino New Yorkers. The exhibit is located in the War Room on the second floor of the New York State Capitol and will run through October 15.
"We are proud to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic and Latino New Yorkers who have enriched and helped shape this great state and nation," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is stronger because of the voices and contributions of the Latino community, and this exhibit shares the story of eight Latino New Yorkers who have made lasting positive impacts on our state. I urge New Yorkers to get out and visit this exhibit to learn about the contributions of these eight remarkable individuals."
Hispanic Heritage Month begins in mid-September to coincide with national independence days in several Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on Sept. 15, Mexico on Sept. 16, Chile on Sept. 18 and Belize on Sept. 21.
New York State has the fourth largest Latino population in the United States. Nearly one in five New Yorkers identifies as Latino or Hispanic. Since 2000, the Latino population in the state has grown by nearly 33 percent, today making up 19 percent of all New Yorkers. Every day, members of the Latino community help shape New York's bright future with their hard work, dedication, and ideas. Indeed, the number of Latino -owned businesses has increased significantly in the past decade, accounting for 13 percent of all businesses in New York.
The following eight Latino leaders (listed in alphabetical order) are being recognized in this exhibit for their accomplishments:
- Julia Alvarez (1950 - present)Julia Alvarez is an award-winning author and poet whose first novel, "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents," received wide critical acclaim and became the first major novel published by a Dominican-American.
- Hermelinda Urvina Briones(1905 - 2008)An adventurous pilot in the early years of aviation, Hermelinda Urvina Briones, raised in Ecuador, was the first female South American to earn a pilot's license in the United States.
- Fernando "Frank" Caldeiro (1958 - 2009)A lead astronaut at NASA, Fernando Caldeiro was the first person of Argentinian descent to train for a space flight.
- José Arcadio Limón (1908 - 1972) An immigrant from Mexico, José Arcadio Limón was one of the 20th Century's most influential dancers and choreographers in American Modern Dance.
- Luisa Moreno (1907 - 1992) An immigrant from Guatemala, Luisa Moreno was an instrumental labor organizer of Latino and African American workers who helped unify Spanish-speaking communities across the United States.
- Oscar García Rivera, Sr. (1900 - 1969) As the first person of Puerto Rican descent elected to public office in the United States, Oscar García Rivera, Sr. advocated in the New York State Assembly for improved working conditions, child labor laws, and anti-discrimination legislation.
- Helen Rodríguez-Trías (1929 - 2001) An internationally recognized pediatrician, Dr. Helen Rodriguez- Trías, who spent her childhood in Puerto Rico, is credited with improving maternal and family health care and public health services for marginalized patients.
- Prudencio Unanue (1886-1976) An immigrant from Spain, Prudencio Unanue founded Goya Foods in New York City in 1936, selling Spanish foods to the city's growing Hispanic population. Today Goya is one of the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States.
The Hispanic Heritage exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information on Latino New Yorkers who have been honored at the New York State Capitol, please go to: https://hallofgovernors.ny.gov/HispanicHeritage.
The Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany will host the 2017 Hispanic Heritage Celebration from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, September 23. The free event will include live music, dancing, food, information, and family-friendly activities. The celebration will feature Puerto Rican salsa band Conjunto Imagen and performances by Joe Veras, Lisette Melendez, and DJ Boy Boy. For more information, please go to: www.empirestateplaza.org.
More information about visiting the New York State Capitol is available here.