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Hispanic Heritage

How Soledad O’Brien Is Elevating Latino Voices During Hispanic Heritage Month

Photo: Courtesy of Hearst

Being a Latina and black means the world to me. It is a connection with my deceased mother who came here from Cuba, alone, at age 14. It is the smell in my grandmother’s kitchen, the stories from when I was a child, and, more and more every day, it is an identity and a people that I have an obligation to defend.

I may report news but I also receive news just like everyone else, from online media, TV, radio, and social media. Even if I wasn’t a journalist, I would keep up with what’s going on in our country during these times when Latinos seem perpetually under attack. 

I think everyone in the community needs to stay informed and activated. It’s the very least we can do, and when you do, you will see how important it is to be active and vocal right now. 

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time when I often report on the community or take stock of how the year played out. I have released documentaries and written books; I have spoken to crowds of Latinos, college students, and business groups to encourage diversity, inclusion, and awareness of identity. Whether it’s immigration or education, there are so many topics to be explored. 

Each time, students come up to me and ask about ways they can engage more with the public about who they are. I tell them to stand up for their community, to educate and speak out, to be the best they can be, and participate in making their community stronger and more active. Latinos need to encourage education, pursue leadership positions, demand accountability from government and elected officials, and vote. 

This year, I will be covering Latinos as part of the fabric of this country on my show “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien.” I plan to include guests from the community to talk about important issues like voting, and to pursue pieces that shed light on our issues.

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