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Professor Manuel Hernández
Essays Collection

Address: : 2012 Ernest St. Kissimmee, Florida 34741

Manuel Hernandez was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1963. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and finished a Master�s in Education from Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx in 1994. He has coordinated symposiums, produced and coordinated television interviews on the literature written by Puerto Rican and Latino/a writers from the Diaspora. He has done numerous presentations, workshops and seminars on how to integrate latino/a literature in the English classroom. In 2014, he participated in a TedxTalk (Connections) at Southern New Hampshire University. He is the author of three books, , Latino/a Literature in the English Classroom (Editorial Plaza Mayor, 2003), The Birth of a Rican (Imprenta Sifre. 2008) and Living the Kingdom with purpose (Imprenta Sifre, 2013). He is a Language Arts teacher at Osceola School District in Florida.

Sonia Sotomayor: A True Pioneer of History
By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright

In spite of the social, cultural and economic circumstances faced by the pioneers of the Puerto Rican migration in the early and mid-twentieth century, today they have become a legitimate and bona fide component of American society. The United States based Puerto Ricans have made a name for themselves in politics, television, film-making, music, education, science, literature and in the American judicial system. During the last twenty years, their contributions have been recognized and documented extensively by American industries and institutions and in essence have become true pioneers of history.
According to the 2000 United States Census statistics, there were 3.5 million people of Puerto Rican origin living in the United States mainland. In 2009, those numbers are history and projections place them above the 4 million milestone. Puerto Ricans who migrated to the United States before, during and years after World War II, and those who were born and grew up in the United States have come out of the so-called melting pot and have become an important force developing a voice of their own. The contributions of Puerto Ricans to the current political and social growth of the development of the United States are vast and unquestionable.
On May 26th, 2009, another Puerto Rican received the highest opportunity to contribute to the social, historical and political outreach of the United States. Sonia Sotomayor, a Puerto Rican brought up by a single mother from The Bronx was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Obama. Sotomayor was born in and grew up in the Bronx Borough during its toughest times in the 1960's and 1970's. Her father a Puerto Rican migrant from Santurce died when Sonia was merely a nine year old girl leaving Sonia's mother with the responsibility of bringing up a family by herself. Young Sonia and her brother took advantage of the educational opportunities presented to her, and she was accepted and graduated from Princeton University and attended Harvard Law School.
In her 30 year career span, she has had the opportunity to work at all levels of the judicial system. She is labeled by critics as a political centrist. As a matter of fact, it was President Bush who appointed her a district judge and President Clinton who elevated her to her current judicial responsibilities. We are still pending Senate hearings and other pre-appointment proceedings, but she is on her way to reach further judicial heights en route to become the first Hispanic/Latino in the United States Supreme Court. Because her mother dearly valued education as the key to the future, Sotomayor today is on the verge of becoming a true pioneer of history.