National Hispanic American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the many contributions of the Latinx community in the United States. This year, National Womxn of Color Collective honors a couple distinguished Latinx womxn who have trail-blazed for other womxn within the legal profession.
Catherine Cortez Masto
Masto was born and raised in Nevada where she received her B.S. in Business Administration and Finance from the University of Nevada, Reno, and then continued on to receive her J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law. The early stages of Masto’s career involved serving as the Chief of Staff to Nevada Governor Bob Miller, working as an Assistant County Manager in Clark County, and working as a federal criminal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. Masto also spent two years as Nevada’s Attorney General where she helped pass laws criminalizing sex trafficking and acting as an advocate for seniors, womxn, and children. In 2016, Masto became the first womxn from Nevada and the first Latina ever elected to the United States Senate. As a current member of Senate, Masto continues to champion for a multitude of underrepresented groups through policies aimed at strengthening womxn’s health care, supporting the unique challenges faced by servicewomxn, repairing our immigration system, supporting survivors of human trafficking, and more.
Miriam Naveira De Merly
Merly was born and raised in Santurce, Puerto Rico where she received her J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico. Since then Merly became a well-known advocate for gender equality and a womxn known for her “firsts”. Merly was the first womxn to serve as the Solicitor General for Puerto Rico, which led to her becoming the first Latina to argue before the Supreme Court in 1975. She then became the first womxn to serve on the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, and later became the court’s first female Chief Justice in 2003. After a long career breaking barriers for Latina womxn, Merly passed away in 2018.
We celebrate Catherine Cortez Masto, Miriam Naveira De Merly, and all other Latinx womxn who have raised their voices for change both during Hispanic American Heritage Month and beyond. We hope to continue following in their footsteps to create a positive impact.
By: Alexandra Mayo, Esq.
President & CEO