Skip to content

A Justice Comes Home

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. Sonia Sotomayor, whose parents were from Puerto Rico, is the first Hispanic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor stands in front of a display case containing a bust of her head.
Bebeto Matthews/Getty Images News

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor poses with a statue that is now on display in the Bronx, where she grew up.

When Sonia Sotomayor was a kid in New York City, a TV show about a lawyer inspired her to dream about working in a courtroom. Eventually, that dream turned into a career—and a seat on the bench of the most powerful court in the country.

Sotomayor is one of the nine justices (judges) on the United States Supreme Court. Supreme Court justices are appointed by the U.S. president and approved by the Senate. Their decisions impact every American because they rule on whether laws are fair according to the U.S. Constitution. When Sotomayor joined the Supreme Court in 2009, she became the first Hispanic justice. 

Sotomayor, whose parents were from Puerto Rico, grew up in a part of New York City called the Bronx. In September 2022, Sotomayor returned to her old neighborhood to see the unveiling of a statue that was created in her honor. The statue is now on display in a shopping center that’s not far from her childhood home.

“[The statue is] quite amazing,” Sotomayor told the Associated Press. “Looks a lot like me.” 

Although Sotomayor now works in Washington, D.C., where the Supreme Court is located, she’s proud to be from the Bronx and continues to feel a connection to it. 

“I love the Bronx. I love my community,” she said.

Sotomayor is still a huge fan of the New York Yankees, the baseball team that plays its home games in the Bronx. When she wasn’t watching baseball games, young Sotomayor watched Perry Mason, a TV show about a lawyer. The show influenced her decision to become a lawyer, which put her on a path that eventually led to the Supreme Court.  

“[Being chosen for the Supreme Court] was the most electrifying moment of my life,” she once told TV host Oprah Winfrey. “[It was] a moment in which you sit and realize that you’ve gone further than any dream you ever had, that you’ve reached something that never seemed possible.”


Hurricane Fiona Hits Puerto Rico

A man carrying a gallon of water walks down a flooded street between rows of houses.
AFP/Getty Images

A man carrying a gallon of water walks down a flooded street between rows of houses.

On September 18, 2022, Hurricane Fiona slammed into Puerto Rico, which is located in the Caribbean Sea. The storm’s strong winds and heavy rain left most of the island flooded and without power and running water. From Puerto Rico, the hurricane traveled northwest to the Dominican Republic before hitting the islands of Turks and Caicos.

Hurricane Fiona has caused widespread destruction. Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Maria, which hit the island in 2017.

Did You Know?

A map labeled Mexico and its territories and the United States and its territories and showing the historical borders
© Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

This map shows which land was controlled by the U.S. and Mexico in the year 1835.

Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah, along with portions of what are now Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, were all once part of Mexico.

Making a Difference

© Alona Savchuk—iStock/Getty Images Plus, © Jennifer Retholtz/; Illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, check out three Hispanic Americans—all under age 25—who are working to make a difference. 

Daphne Frias

Daphne Frias first became involved in activism in 2018, when she organized bus service to take herself and other college students to a March For Our Lives event in 2018. March For Our Lives is a youth movement aimed at ending gun violence. Since then, Frias, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, has also become an advocate for climate justice and disability rights. 

John Paul Mejia

In 2017, John Paul Mejia came face to face with the effects of climate change when Hurricane Irma battered his hometown of Miami, Florida. Then a sophomore in high school, Mejia was inspired to start a journey of climate activism that continues today. Mejia is now a national spokesperson for the Sunrise Movement, a youth group that works to stop climate change. He also hosted House on Fire, a youth-centered podcast about the climate crisis.

Faith Florez

While growing up in California, Faith Florez heard stories about farmworkers suffering heat stroke and other health crises due to harsh work conditions. Some of these stories came from her grandfather, who had worked on farms himself. While still a teenager, Florez created Calor, an app that lets farmworkers connect to one another and get the resources they need to protect themselves from illness. Florez also founded the Latina Legacy Foundation, which looks for technological solutions to challenges facing Hispanic American communities.

More To Learn!

Animated GIF with different faces of Hispanic Americans appearing and disappearing
© Pollyana Ventura, SDI Productions, kate_sept2004, andresr—E+/Getty Images, © Dave & Les Jacobs, Jose Luis Pelaez Inc—DigitalVision/Getty Images, © stanley45—iStock/Getty Images, © WavebreakmediaMicro/, David Grossman/Alamy

Find more information about Hispanic heritage and Hispanic Americans at Britannica School!






: having many different parts : having many facets

Definitions provided by
Merriam-Webster Logo

Word Search

See how many words you can find.


In Case You Missed It

President Joe Biden has announced that millions of people who borrowed money to go to college will have their debt reduced.


Queen Elizabeth has died after a long and eventful reign.


Nervous delegates, arguments, and a heat wave. These were just a few of the things the Founders dealt with as they wrote the United States Constitution.


Sixteen-year-old Sophie Araque-Liu is the winner of the 2022 Doodle for Google contest!