Hispanic Heritage Month Names
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration which spans from September 15th to October 15th of all Hispanic/Latino peoples and the contributions they’ve made to the United States, I’ve put together a short list of some of the most influential Hispanic men and women who broke barriers and became inspirations to all.
While this list is far from exhaustive, it’s a solid start that may give you some inspirational and classic baby name ideas for your next child.
Antonia C. Novello – Antonia Novello, born Antonia Coello in Puerto Rico, was not only the first woman to be appointed to the office of Surgeon General of the United States but also the first Latina. Born with a colon abnormality that couldn’t be corrected until the age of 18, Antonia understood the importance of prompt medical treatment and dedicated her life to helping sick children. Antonia is a Latin name meaning “priceless one” and is currently near the bottom of the SSA baby name’s list at 975.
César Chávez – Co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association and civil rights activist, César Chávez has long been remembered for his strong leaderships skills and devotion to the causes he held dear. While the meaning of César is uncertain, there’s no doubt that the legacy left by Chávez makes it an excellent name choice for a little boy.
Dennis Chávez – The second Hispanic to be elected to the office of Senator but first to serve a full term, Dennis Chávez was the longest serving Hispanic senator and an inspiration to Hispanic-Americans everywhere. Dennis, a name derived from the Greek god Dionysus, is a strong, male name that currently hovers near the 500th spot in SSA popularity name ranks.
Ellen Ochoa – The first Hispanic-American, female astronaut, Ellen Ochoa offers a fantastic name choice to parents looking for a solid female name connected to a strong, historic figure. A name meaning bright, light, and torch and currently hanging around in the 600s popularity-wise, Ellen is a refreshing name choice that’s well-known but not too popular.
Gloria Estefan – Born in Cuba but raised in America as a result of the Cuban Revolution, Gloria Estefan is a highly regarded singer with seven Grammys and numerous other awards. Gloria, a Latin name that literally translates to “glory,” has been hovering around the 500s since 2010.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – The first Latina elected to the office of Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is a Florida-based Republican politician. Ileana is the Spanish variant of Helen (with Ellen being a variant of both) and means bright, light, torch.
Jaime Escalante – A Bolivian-born educator, Jaime Escalante is portrayed by Edward James Olmos in the critically acclaimed film, Stand and Deliver. Escalante is best known for his dedication to the underprivileged students he taught at a high school in Los Angeles. Jaime is the Spanish equivalent of James meaning “supplanter.”
Rita Moreno – A Puerto Rican singer and actress, Moreno is the first Latina and one of few performers to have won all four major American entertainment awards– an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony. Best known for her role as Anita in the movie adaptation of the famous Broadway musical West Side Story, Rita (born Rosa and nicknamed Rosarita) has been entertaining the masses for over 60 years. Rita, a shortening of Margarita, Spanish name meaning pearl, is a great choice for those parents looking for a unique but known name, as it hasn’t been in the top 1000 names since 2002.
Roberto Clemente – The first ever Hispanic-American inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Puerto Rican-born Clemente was a 15-time All Star, as well as a charitable individual who spent his time in the off-season helping the needy in Latin America and the Caribbean; he was killed tragically in a plane crash while on a humanitarian mission. Posthumously, an award was created in his name which is given each year to one excellent MLB player who is also involved in community work. Roberto is the common Spanish equivalent of Robert and means “bright fame.”
Which influential Hispanic man or woman would you name your child after?
Stephanie Bruce, known on Nameberry as elizabeths, is a content writer by trade and a Junior studying for her Bachelor‘s in history. As a self-proclaimed name nerd, Stephanie has been collecting names since the age of 10 and loves names with strong ties to history. She can be found at her website.