Celia Cruz makes history as the first Afro-Latina to appear on a US quarter

Celia Cruz was no stranger to making history. The late Cuban American icon was the recipient of five Grammy Awards, 23 gold records, and the prestigious National Medal of Arts, awarded to her by the president. Now, she is being honored with a quarter of her own, making her the first Afro-Latina to appear on U.S. currency. Cruz is one of five honorees chosen to be part of the American Women Quarters Program, which began in 2022 and will run until 2025. The program celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of American women and the other honorees for 2024 include Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color to serve in Congress; Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War surgeon and suffragist; Pauli Murray, a civil rights activist and lawyer and Zitkala-Ša, a voting rights activist from the Yankton Sioux Nation. “All of the women being honored have lived remarkable and multi-faceted lives, and have made a significant impact on our nation in their own unique way,” said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson in a statement.
The American Women Quarters Program is a groundbreaking initiative that will not only honor the incredible women it features, but also set a powerful example. It will be a reminder of the importance of recognizing the accomplishments of all people, regardless of race, gender, or background. It will be a reminder that all women should be respected and celebrated and their lives should be honored and remembered. The American Women Quarters Program is a testament to the power of unity and the potential for progress and it is an honor for Celia Cruz to be part of it.

Cruz was born in 1925 in Havana and quickly made her mark in the country's music scene as the lead singer for the popular orchestra, La Sonora Matancera. When Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1961 and went on to help define the sound of salsa music we know and love today. Her vibrant stage presence, extravagant costumes and incredible voice made her a household name for over 60 years until her death in 2003 at the age of 77.

The designs for the 2024 American Women Quarters will be released in mid-2023. Cruz's quarter will be a fitting tribute to her legacy and a reminder that stories like hers must be remembered and celebrated. Celia Cruz's story is a powerful example of the importance of diversity and representation in American society. Her life and music have inspired generations of Latin American people. Her legacy continues to be a source of strength and resilience for those who come after her. Through her life and work, she has shown us the importance of standing up for what we believe in and the power of music to bring people together.
The release of the American Women Quarters Program is a significant step forward in recognizing the achievements of all women, regardless of race, ethnicity, or background. The quarters will serve as a constant reminder of their contributions to American society. It is an honor for Cruz to be included in such a prestigious program and her quarter will be a symbol of pride for Latin Americans everywhere.

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