73 Hispanic Heritage Month Quotes

Inside: A collection of meaningful Hispanic Heritage Month quotes from famous Latino leaders.

September 15th to October 15th marks National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. It’s a celebration of both famous Latino Leaders, and the everyday contributions woven into the story of our nation.

Hispanic or Latino (or Latinx) generally refers to people with ancestors from a Spanish-speaking country, usually in North America, Central America, or South America. 

These quotes are great for any time of year, but this month they are especially meaningful.

The list below is made up of influential Latinx leaders. Some were originally in Spanish and have been translated!


10 Hispanic Heritage Month Quotes About Culture

10 Inspirational Quotes from Latino Leaders

10 Hispanic Heritage Month Quotes About Helping Others

10 Quotes About the US-Latinx Experience

10 Hispanic Heritage Month Quotes About Art

13 Quotes from Famous Latinas

10 Quotes from Famous Latinos About Love

Related: 39 Famous Latino Leaders You Should Know

10 Hispanic Heritage Month Quotes About Culture

1. “Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” 

– César Chávez, Activist and Founder of United Farm Workers

2. “You are not lucky to be here. The world needs your perspective. They are lucky to have you.”

Antonio Tijerino, President & CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation

3. “When I was growing up, my parents insisted that we speak Spanish and read Spanish. I’m so happy they did that, because we developed their culture and their roots.”

Tito Puente

4. “It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has really shaped us in ways that we might not understand.”

Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Court Judge

5. “The more you speak more languages, the more you understand about yourself.”

– Sandra Cisneros

6. “Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples.”

– Rigoberta Menchú Tum

7. “Your individuality is important, but so is belonging. Recognize the parts of your culture that have shaped your past, and the parts you want to carry with you into the future.”

Sol Peralta

8. “We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community – and this nation.”

– César Chávez

9. “My mother gave me one piece of advice that stuck with me. She said don’t forget where you came from.”

— Eva Longoria

10. “I know now that he who hopes to be universal in his art must plant in his own soil . . . The secret of my best work is that it is Mexican.”

Diego Rivera

Related: Inspiring Language Learning Quotes

10 Inspirational Quotes from Latino Leaders

1. “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”

– Frida Kahlo

2. “Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars. I believe a good education can take you anywhere on Earth and beyond.”

Ellen Ochoa

3. “I don’t want an uneventful and safe life, I prefer an adventurous one.”

– Isabel Allende

4.  “Success is its own reward, but failure is a great teacher too, and not to be feared.”

– Sonia Sotomayor

5. “If you have a dream, don’t let anybody take it away.”

– Selena Quintanilla

6. “You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend, or not.“

– Isabel Allende

7. “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.”

– Pablo Neruda

8. “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.”

 Roberto Clemente

9. “I have a day. If I know how to make the most of it, I have a treasure.”

– Gabriela Mistral

10. “One of the greatest things you have in life is that no one has the authority to tell you what you want to be. You’re the one who’ll decide what you want to be. Respect yourself and respect the integrity of others as well. The greatest thing you have is your self-image, a positive opinion of yourself. You must never let anyone take it from you.”

– Jaime Escalante

10 Hispanic Heritage Month Quotes About Helping Others

1. “I try to be as honest about what I see and to speak rather than be silent, especially if it means I can save lives, or serve humanity.”

– Sandra Cisneros

2. “I hope I’ll see in my lifetime a growing realization that we are one world. And that no one is going to have quality of life unless we support everyone’s quality of life.”

– Dr. Helen Rodríguez-Trías

3. “We open doors so others can walk through them.”

 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

4. “We are all individuals; we are all human beings; we are all connected together; and we all have the same rights, the same freedom.”

– Sylvia Mendez

5. “We must be impatient for change. Let us remember that our voice is a precious gift and we must use it.”

Claudia Flores

6. “We must use our lives to make the world a better place to live, not just to acquire things. That is what we are put on the earth for.” 

Dolores Huerta

7. “The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”

Carlos Santana

8. “In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor.”

Julian Castro

9. “Widen the path of opportunities and continue to leave a powerful and positive legacy in this world.”

Luis Fonsi

10. “We can say, ‘Let our grandchildren worry about it.’ But it’s harder to change later. We invest in their children’s education, even though it doesn’t pay off for decades.Why not the planet?”

Mario Molina

10 Quotes About the US-Latinx Experience

1. “I feel very proud to be Mexican. I didn’t have the opportunity to learn Spanish when I was a girl, but…it’s never too late to get in touch with your roots.”

Selena Quintanilla

2. “As people of color, we have a potent power – and a responsibility – to change events around us, not just professionally, but spiritually and politically as well.”

Michelle Herrera Mulligan

3 “There was nobody that I could look up and say “That’s somebody like me”. Which is probably why I’m now known in my community as ‘La Pionera’, or the Pioneer. I really don’t think of myself as a role model. But it turns out that I am to a lot of the Hispanic community. Not just in show business, but in life. But that’s what happens when you’re first, right?”

– Rita Moreno

“They said you’d really have to be something to be like Babe Ruth. But Babe Ruth was an American player. What we needed was a Puerto Rican player they could say that about, someone to look up to and try to equal.”

Roberto Clemente

4. “How I vote is not relevant . . . I think that as a woman, as a Hispanic, as a member of a minority,” as the first surgeon general who is all these, “I bring a lot of sensitivity to the job.”

– Antonia Novello

5. “As a young writer, I was on guard against the Latina in me, the Spanish in me because as far as I could see the models that were presented to me did not include my world. In fact, ‘I was told by one teacher in college that one could only write poetry in the language in which one first said Mother. That left me out of American literature, for sure.”

– Julia Alvarez

6.  “As an immigrant, I appreciate, far more than the average American, the liberties we have in this country. Silence is a big enemy of morality. I don’t want our blunders in history to get repeated.” 

 Gloria Estefan

7. “It’s a privilege to work as an anchor for Univision, but more important, I am amazed by how Latinos are transforming America.”

Jorge Ramos

8. “I am proud to be born in the USA, but my Mexican roots are my foundation and what make me never give up, always keep fighting and finish the fight till the end.”

Oscar de la Hoya

9. “I was the first Chicano to write in complete sentences.”

– Gary Soto

10. “Growing up, there wasn’t an exact Hispanic role model that I had. I didn’t realize how big a difference I was making, going to the Olympics and being Hispanic, until I would be in an autograph session, and parents would come up to me and say, ‘You know, our family is so proud of you, you’re really doing Hispanics proud.’”

Laurie Hernández

hispanic heritage quotes

Related: Classic Songs in Spanish You Need to Know

10 Hispanic Heritage Month Quotes About Art

One of the things we celebrate are Latinx art, music, poetry, and literature. Here are quotes from some of the great creators and minds. 

1. “This is what poetry means—language that surprises and keeps us on our toes.”

Gary Soto

2. “Doubts may grow as shadows loom,
when you’re alone with your thoughts.
Plant music, art, pics of the ones you love
in the darkest corners.
Harvest the fruits of your daydreams and rest.
Water and sunlight to the best in you.”

– Lin-Manuel Miranda

3. “When people hear me sing, I want them to be happy, happy, happy. I don’t want them thinking about when there’s not any money, or when there’s fighting at home. My message is always felicidad – happiness.”

– Celia Cruz

4. “It is through art that we will prevail and we will endure. It lives on after us and defines us as people.“

Rita Moreno

5. “To sing is to love and affirm,
to fly and to soar,
to coast into the hearts of the people
who listen
to tell them that life is to live,
that love is there,
that nothing is a promise,
but that beauty exists,
and must be hunted for and found.”

Joan Baez

6. “Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”

Oscar De La Renta

7. “The elasticity of imagination and compassion is what writing and reading promote.”

– Julia Alvarez

8. “An artist is above all a human being, profoundly human to the core. If the artist can’t feel everything that humanity feels, if the artist isn’t capable of loving until he forgets himself and sacrifices himself if necessary, if he won’t put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn’t a great artist.”

– Diego Rivera

9. “The music is one of the beautiful things that has survived the Castro regime. I have played for audiences all over the world but I’ve never played for a Cuban audience. For [husband] Emilio and me, the music is the one tie to our homeland.”

Gloria Estefan

10. “I paint flowers so they will not die.”

– Frida Kahlo

Related: 22 Famous Latina Leaders

13 Quotes from Latinas

1. “I am obsessed with becoming a woman comfortable in her skin.”

Sandra Cisneros

2. “I want to be remembered not only as an entertainer but as a person who cared a lot, and I gave the best that I could. I tried to be the best role model that I possibly could.”

Selena Quintanilla

3. “I am like a drop of water on a rock. After drip, drip, dripping in the same place, I begin to leave a mark, and I leave my mark in many people’s hearts.”

Rigoberta Menchú Tum

4. “We as women should shine light on our accomplishments and not feel egotistical when we do. It’s a way to let the world know that we as women can accomplish great things!”

– Dolores Huerta

5. “I want to be able to look back someday and say, ‘I did make a difference.’ Whether is was to open the minds of people to think that a woman can do a good job, or whether it’s the fact that so many kids out there think that they could be like me.”

-Antonia Novello

6. “When you sing in English and Spanish, it’s two completely different forms of expression and . . . even the people who don’t speak Spanish love to hear me sing in Spanish.”

– Gloria Estefan

7. “Usually, girls weren’t encouraged to go to college and major in math and science. My high school calculus teacher, Ms. Paz Jensen, made math appealing and motivated me to continue studying it in college.”

– Ellen Ochoa

8. “Well, I ask a lot of questions, and I’m not just satisfied with glib answers. 

– France Córdova

9. My mother says, “Sylvia, don’t you realize what we’re fighting for?”,
“Yes, so we can get to that beautiful school in Westminster.”
She said, “No Sylvia, that’s not we’re fighting, we’re fighting because under God we’re all equal, you belong at that school just like everybody else belongs to that school, that’s what we’re fighting for”.

– Sylvia Mendez

10. “This was the last astronaut job that was not (yet) done by a woman. Now with this milestone we can focus on the fact that what is important to succeed in life, it does not matter whether you are a man or a woman.”

– Ellen Ochoa

11. “People think of Latina women as being fiery and fierce, which is usually true. But I think the quality that so many Latinas possess is strength. I’m very proud to have Latin blood.”

Zoe Saldana

13. “The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever.”

Sonia Sotomayor

10 Hispanic Heritage Month Quotes About Love

1. “Love is so short, and forgetting so long”.

– Pablo Neruda

2. “One learns to love by loving.” 

– San Francisco de Sales

3. There is so much fear and hate. We must negate it with active, courageous love.”

– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

4. “There are kisses that leave traces on the lips like a field of sunshine between two ice cubes.”

– Gabriela Mistral

5. “Do not do with love what a child does with his balloon; when he has it, he ignores it, and when he loses it, he cries.”

– Pablo Neruda

6. “I love you more than my own skin.”

– Frida Kahlo

7. “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love and love cannot be killed or swept aside.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2016 Tony Awards

8. “You must want! You have the right to ask! You must desire.” 

– Eva Perón

9. “Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.”

– Frida Kahlo

10. “Love is as important as food.”

 Gabriel García Márquez

What is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Here is a little more info on the history of Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States:

“Hispanic Heritage Month takes place September 15 to October 15 every year as a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community. Beginning in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week” under President Lyndon Johnson, but it was later extended to a month during President Ronald Reagan’s term in 1988.”

‘- U.S. Department of Education

Why do we celebrate September 15th – October 15th?

It may seem odd to stretch the celebration across two months, but dates were chosen to coincide with the independence dates of several Latin American countries. 

Hispanic Heritage Month  September 15 was chosen as the kickoff because it coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of five “Central American neighbors,” as Johnson called them—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Those five nations declared their independence from Spain on September 15, 1821.


Mexico also celebrates the beginning of its fight for independence September 15th and 16th.  

Did I miss one of your favorite quotes? Share with us in the comments below!

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