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Happy Birthday to Rosa Dolores Alverio

Happy Birthday to the fabulous entertainer and humanitarian Rosa Dolores Alverio, born in Humacao, Puerto Rico on December 11, 1931. Known on stage as Rita Moreno, the multi-talented star is the only woman and the only Hispanic American to win the entertainment industry’s four top awards: Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Emmy. Moreno struggled with being typecast as a “Latin Spitfire” and was desolate over her lack of progress during an early point in her career. Moreno had the last laugh in her role as Googie Gómez in the Broadway play, “The Ritz”.  Moreno is a social activist who supported African American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Moreno said of her heritage and her career, “When I was a young starlet, I wanted to be an all-American girl…. But when I grew up and developed a sense of self-esteem as a Hispanic, I learned how essential it was to cling to one’s own heritage, for only in that way can we truly understand our ancestors, our culture, and ultimately understand ourselves.” (Please see August 9, 1963 for more on Moreno’s civil rights activism.)

Latinx and Coca Cola: empowering an American Icon

One of the most successful Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) at Coca-Cola, an iconic American company, was Cuban immigrant Roberto Crispulo Goizueta.  Born in Havana, Cuba, on November 18, 1931, Goizueta earned a BS in chemical engineering at Yale University.  He returned to Cuba and started as a production supervisor for Coke plants.  He immigrated to the US and continued with Coke, working his way up to become CEO.  During his tenure, he revitalized the company and increased its value by almost $150 billion.  Goizueta became one of the wealthiest Hispanic Americans in the country, and started the Goizueta Foundation, which continues after his death.  The Foundation’s motto is, “Educate yourself.  Educate each other.  Educate the world.” (Image from Goizueta Foundation by Chip Simone)

Happy Birthday to Manuel Phillip Berriozábal

Happy Birthday to Manuel Phillip Berriozábal, an educator, mathematician, and humanitarian born on July 21, 1931, in San Antonio, Texas.  Berriozábal’s life is a passionate commitment to developing programs to help Hispanic and other minority students to stay in school and to succeed at higher level education.  His focus has been on mathematics, and in 1988, his findings were incorporated into a pilot program for freshman engineering students called ” The Texas Pre-freshman Engineering Program: A Model for a Statewide Precollege Intervention Program.”  Berriozábal also contributed to a task force that examined the problems posed for minority students in studying mathematics. His analysis was included in a 1989 paper titled “Why Hasn’t Mathematics Worked for Minorities?”

The “Boss of Bosa Nova”

Happy Birthday to musician and composer Joao Gilberto, born on June 10, 1931, in Juaseiro, Brazil.  As he titled himself in one of his albums, Gilberto is the “Boss of Bosa Nova”, the jazz-inflected Brazilian pop style. Gilberto began playing the guitar at age 14, and was influenced by the norteamericano big band sounds of Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey.  Gilberto wrote the iconic Latin song, “The Girl from Ipanema”, which was sung by his wife, Astrud.   He won a Grammy award in 1964 for Song of the Year, over the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night”.  His career spans 40 turbulent years, with his latest album released in 2004.

Feliz cumpleaños a Joao Gilberto músico y compositor, nacido el 10 de junio de 1931, en Juaseiro, Brasil. Como el mismo título en uno de sus álbumes, Gilberto es el “Jefe de Bosa Nova”, el estilo jazz-descendido popular brasileña. Gilberto comenzó a tocar la guitarra a los 14 años, y fue influenciado por los sonidos de la banda Norteamericano grandes de Duke Ellington y Tommy Dorsey. Gilberto escribió la canción latina icónico, Astrud “La chica de Ipanema”, que fue cantada por su esposa. Ganó un premio Grammy en 1964 a la Canción del Año, por encima de los Beatles “Noche de un día duro”. Su carrera abarca 40 años turbulentos, con su último álbum lanzado en 2004.

Argentina’s First Woman President 1972

February 4, 1931 was the birthday of María Estela Martínez Cartas, known as Isabel Peron.   Peron was the third wife of Argentinian general and president, Juan Peron.  Her husband began his third term of office in 1972, and after his sudden death, Isabel was sworn in as Argentina’s first woman President on July 1, 1973.  Isabel was later implicated in the disappearance of an activist during a period of political violence in Argentina.  She was arrested while in exile in Spain in January 2007, but Spanish courts refused to extradite her to Argentina to stand trial.  (Please don’t confuse Isabel with Evita Peron, born on May 7, who inspired the famous musical and movie, “Evita”.)

04 de febrero 1931 fue el cumpleaños de María Estela Martínez Cartas, conocida como Isabel Perón. Perón fue la tercera esposa del general y presidente argentino, Juan Perón. Su marido comenzó su tercer mandato en 1972, y después de su repentina muerte, Isabel asumió como la primera mujer Presidenta de la Argentina el 1 de julio de 1973. Isabel estuvo implicado más adelante en la desaparición de un activista durante un período de violencia política en Argentina. Fue detenida en el exilio en España en enero de 2007, pero los tribunales españoles se negaron a extraditar a Argentina para ser juzgado. (Por favor no confundir con Isabel Perón, Evita, nació el 7 de mayo, que inspiró el famoso musical y de la película “Evita”.)