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Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15 to pay tribute to the achievements of generations who have contributed to American life. The federal courts join in celebrating their accomplishments at every level of the Third Branch of government.

The designation of September 15 through October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month became law in 1988.  September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence in five Latin American countries and the days that follow mark the independence of other Latin American countries. Find more information at The Library of Congress.  

Among the Hispanic and Latino Americans who serve at every level of the federal court system are judges, including U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria G. Valdez, of the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.

Her first-person narrative is among a growing collection of Pathways to the Bench videos about judges who have faced adversity and now serve on the federal bench.  

U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez was a high school student who didn’t consider going to college until a guidance counselor recognized her abilities and suggested higher education. 

More Living History

Find more living history in the story of a California girl growing up in the 1940s.  Read the script and re-enact the story of Sylvia Mendez and her parents’ fight for inclusion in decent public schools.