Celebrating Inspirational Hispanic-American Locals

11 Hispanic-American Chicagoans are spotlighted all month

The rich heritage and history of Hispanic-Americans throughout the country is the yearly national focus of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Chicago is no different. From Sept. 15-Oct. 15, the city recognizes Hispanic-American locals whose contributions have made a difference in the city.

NBCChicago chose 11 inspirational people to spotlight this month, from entrepreneurs to business leaders and human rights activists to local students.

They are job creators, Presidential Medal holders, social service providers, community builders, education leaders and artistic trailblazers. They hold numerous awards, boast booming businesses and have built from the ground up galleries, festivals and federally recognized non-profits.

This year's national Hispanic Heritage theme is “Heritage, Diversity, Integrity and Honor: The Renewed Hope of America.”

That theme shines in each of the following people:

  • Jaime Viteri, president and founder of Chicago Latino Network
  • Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr., director of administration for The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute 
  • Ric Estrada, president and CEO of Metropolitan Family Services
  • Cesar Rolon Jr., principal of PR, events and promotions at Brillante Multicultural Marketing Group
  • Mary Gonzalez-Koenig, president and founder of National Latino Education Institute
  • Elba Aranda-Suh, executive director of National Latino Education Institute
  • Carlos R. Hernandez, executive director of Puerto Rican Arts Alliance
  • Marty Castro, chairman of Human Rights Commission
  • Sol A. Flores, founding executive director of La Casa Norte
  • Mary Santana, founder of The Miracle Center
  • Lauren Escobar, senior at Golder College Prep
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