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5 Famous Mexican-Americans

Cesar Chavez
Tim Graham, Evening Standard/Getty Images

Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico, but is huge in the United States, truly making it a Mexican-American holiday. There are more than 31 million Mexican-Americans living in the United States, a substantial and strong part of the fabric of the US. Here’s a quick look at five famous Mexican-Americans:

César Chávez

Chávez was a farm worker, labor leader, and activist. He helped found the National Farm Workers Association and used nonviolence to give national recognition to the farm workers’ struggle. His motto, ”Sí, se puede” (“Yes, it can be done”), inspired hope in generations of activists. César Chávez Day is an annual state holiday that promotes community service in honor of his legacy.

Salma Hayek

Hayek is an award-winning actress, director, and producer. She began her career as a telenovela soap star eventually moving into Hollywood film. Hayek produced an Academy Award nominated feature and went on to executive produce the Golden Globe winning series Ugly Betty. She is an outspoken advocate for increasing awareness about violence against women and discrimination against immigrants.

Bill Richardson

Richardson is a politician who served as the Governor of New Mexico. Under the Clinton administration he was the US Ambassador to the United Nations and the US Secretary of Energy. He helped negotiate the release of American prisoners in Iraq, North Korea, and Bangladesh. These efforts got him nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Hilda Solis

Solis is the current US Secretary of Labor. She was previously a member of the US House of Representatives and the California State Senate. She was the first female recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, and the first hispanic woman to serve in the US Presidential Cabinet. She said of Wisconsin’s 2011 protests “[they] aren’t just asking workers to tighten their belts, they’re demanding they give up their uniquely American rights as workers.”

George Lopez

Lopez is a comedian, actor, and talk show host. His comedy routines dissect race-relations in America. He is currently the host of late-night talk show “Lopez Tonight.” In late 2010 Lopez announced that he’d be interested in a running for mayor of Los Angeles. He has been awarded for his fund-raising efforts for the victims of Central American earthquakes.

- Contributed by Josh Heller

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