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Puerto Rico

Puerto RicoJudgeLawyer

Nitza Quiñones Alejandro

Nitza Ileana Quiñones Alejandro, born in January 1951 in Puerto Rico, became the first Hispanic woman to be appointed as a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Her nomination faced controversy, but she persevered and went on to serve for 22 years. In 2012, she made history as the first lesbian Latina to be appointed as a federal judge by President Barack Obama. Her trailblazing efforts have paved the way for diversity and inclusivity within the judiciary.

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Puerto RicoActivistLawyer

Ana Irma Rivera Lassén

Ana Irma Rivera Lassén is an Afro-Puerto Rican attorney, feminist, and human rights activist. Throughout her career, Rivera Lassén has been at the forefront of championing human rights and fighting against discrimination. Recognized for her expertise and dedication to legal advocacy, Rivera Lassén served as the head of the Bar Association of Puerto Rico from 2012 to 2014. Her impact and dedication to social justice and women’s rights have been recognized with numerous prestigious awards and honors. As an openly lesbian woman of Afro-Puerto Rican descent, she has been a trailblazer in breaking barriers and challenging societal norms.

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Puerto RicoBoxer

Belinda Laracuente

Belinda Laracuente (born 1980) is a women’s boxing competitor from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, where she lived from 1989 to 1998. Known by her nickname “Brown Sugar,” Laracuente made a name for herself in the world of professional boxing. Laracuente’s career had its ups and downs, with notable victories and defeats along the way. Despite her setbacks, she remained determined and resilient throughout her boxing journey.

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Antonia Novello

Antonia Coello Novello, M.D., was born on August 23, 1944, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. She grew up in a humble household, where her father worked as a sugar cane plantation worker and her mother was a homemaker. From a young age, Novello showed exceptional intelligence and a deep passion for helping others. Her parents encouraged her to pursue education, which they believed was the key to a better future.

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Puerto RicoActivistWriter

Luisa Capetillo

Luisa Capetillo, born in 1879 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, was deeply influenced by her parents’ liberal ideologies. After becoming a mother at 19, she found work in a cigar-making factory where she witnessed the struggles faced by workers, inspiring her to write essays advocating for workers’ and women’s rights. Capetillo challenged traditional gender roles and fought for social equality, leaving a lasting legacy in the labor movement of Puerto Rico. She passed away in 1922, but her contributions to social justice and equality continue to inspire activists today.

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Puerto RicoUnited StatesActivist

Blanca Canales

Blanca Canales (1906-1996) was an educator and a Puerto Rican Nationalist who played a vital role in the fight for Puerto Rican independence. Raised in a politically active family, Canales developed a passion for learning about other nations and their heroes. She joined the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, organized the Daughters of Freedom, and supported the cause through monetary contributions. Canales stored arms used in the Jayuya Uprising of 1950, which challenged U.S. rule over the island. Her advocacy work and dedication to Puerto Rican independence continued until her death in 1996.

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Puerto RicoActorDancer

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno (born Rosa Dolores Alverío Marcano; December 11, 1931) is a Puerto Rican actress, dancer, and singer. She is noted for her work on stage and screen in a career spanning over seven decades and is one of the last remaining stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Moreno’s contributions to the entertainment industry have been widely recognized, as she is one of the few performers to have achieved the prestigious EGOT status, having been awarded an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.

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Puerto RicoTennis

Gigi Fernández

Beatriz “Gigi” Fernández, born on February 22, 1964, is a Puerto Rican former professional tennis player who left an indelible mark on the sport. Known for her exceptional skills on the doubles court, Fernández amassed an impressive career that includes 17 major doubles titles, two Olympic gold medals, and a stint as the world No. 1 in doubles. Her contributions to women’s tennis and her dedication to her craft have solidified her place in the history of the sport.

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Natalie Morales

Natalie Morales-Rhodes is an accomplished American journalist who has made a significant impact in the world of broadcasting. Born on June 6, 1972, in Taiwan, she has spent over two decades in the field, working for major news networks and becoming a familiar face in American households.

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Puerto RicoScholarWriter

Giannina Braschi

Giannina Braschi, born on February 5, 1953, is a Puerto Rican poet, novelist, dramatist, and scholar. Known for her unique and innovative writing style, she has made significant contributions to literature and political philosophy. Braschi’s notable works include “Empire of Dreams” (1988), “Yo-Yo Boing!” (1998), and “United States of Banana” (2011). She writes in a combination of Spanish, Spanglish, and English, creating a hybrid form of literature that incorporates poetry, metafiction, postdramatic theatre, memoir, manifesto, and political philosophy.

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Puerto RicoUnited StatesActivist

Helen Rodríguez Trías

Helen Rodríguez Trías was a pediatrician, educator, and women’s rights activist who dedicated herself to improving public health services for women and children in minority and low-income populations around the world. She faced discrimination and racism during her upbringing, but her passion for science and people led her to a career in medicine. Rodríguez Trías was the first Latina president of the American Public Health Association and played a key role in advocating for healthcare access and social justice. Her work earned her the prestigious Presidential Citizens Medal.

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