Monday, September 18, 2023

Six Epic Latina Firsts

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month, Girl Scouts! Today and every day, we celebrate the cultural richness of all the people in the U.S. whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Check out these six EPIC women from the Latina community who continue to inspire AND make our world a better and brighter place.

First, we uplift the success and influence of Cuban-American singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan. She was the first Latina to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year on June 15th. Estefan also made history in the 1980s and 1990s when she topped international charts with some of her biggest hits like “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” and “Let’s Get Loud.” It is no doubt that Estefan’s music continues to bring a lively spirit to every room while also being a huge part in paving the way for Latin artists who followed. Way to go, Gloria!


Everyone’s hearts will also forever go “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” for the one and only Selena Quintanilla! So many danced, sang, and cried to her music and movies, but did you know she has a long list of firsts? Selena was the first Tejano woman to win a Grammy, the first Latina inducted into the Star Trail of Fame at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and the first Latina to grace the cover of PEOPLE magazine. She even had the first album of primarily Spanish songs to debut globally—which peaked at number one on the Billboard chart. To this day, her legacy continues to shine.

Our beloved Girl Scout alum Ellen Ochoa is another awe-inspiring leader. In 1993, she became the first Mexican-American woman to go to space as part of the nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Ochoa is a talented engineer, former NASA astronaut, and former director of the Johnson Space Center—talk about reaching for the stars.

Next up, we have Nina Otero-Warren. She was the first Hispanic woman to run (and be elected) to Congress in 1922 and became the first superintendent of the Santa Fe public schools. A champion of women’s voting rights and education in New Mexico, she is now one of the several women whose images are featured on the U.S. quarter. Simply AMAZING.
Meet Katya Echazarreta! In June of 2022, Katya became the first Mexican-born woman to go to space—only the second Mexican after Rodolfo Neri Vela. As an electrical engineer and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) enthusiast, Katya certainly made her mark.
Last but CERTAINLY not least. You know her; you love her! Laurie Hernandez had us flipping out (pun intended) all throughout the 2016 Rio Olympic games with her talent, but did you know she became the first Latina to make it to the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team in 30 years? Born to Puerto Rican parents, Laurie has always shown love and admiration for her culture while winning some medals along the way. She’s now earning a degree at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and empowers college students to tap into their vulnerability at conferences throughout the nation. Absolutely remarkable!


These are just a few incredible Latinas—there are countless others to celebrate! So, here’s to many more historic firsts! Show us how you’ll be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and share the story of an exceptional Latina in your life by tagging @girlscouts on your social media posts.

Don’t forget to check out the Hispanic Heritage Month patch

¡Hasta luego!