Commemorating National Hispanic Heritage Month
This year, Compassion & Choices celebrates our Latino supporters and staff with the theme of “Our Heritage. Our Roots. Our Legacy.”
by Alyson Lynch
September 22, 2021
Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of the achievements of the Hispanic/Latino community in the United States. This year, Compassion & Choices celebrates our Latino supporters and staff with the theme of “Our Heritage. Our Roots. Our Legacy.” Across generations, Latinos are discussing their end-of-life wishes with their families and advocating for improved end-of-life options in their communities. Many approach this work with a focus on family and respect and honoring elders. Sharing stories about our most personal experiences with death and dying is difficult, but often leads to more people having these conversations and more progress being made in the end-of-life options movement.
Dolores Huerta is a civil rights icon and prolific advocate for end-of-life options. She shares the story of her mother’s passing in order to encourage lawmakers and the public to support medical aid in dying. Compassion & Choices is honoring Huerta’s advocacy and steadfast commitment to realizing a country where medical aid-in-dying laws are authorized in all 50 states. State by state, she has lent her powerful voice to this cause and recognizes end-of-life options as a civil right along with the other causes she champions. She also encourages people to plan for the death they want, telling them that “planning equals peace.”
Dan Diaz also knows the power of one person’s story. He has campaigned for medical aid-in-dying laws across the country since the death of his wife, Brittany Maynard, in 2015. Their story reached millions of people and represented a cultural shift in the way we talk about end-of-life options. Diaz has been instrumental in the passage of medical aid-in-dying laws in California and other states, testifying at hearings and lending his voice wherever he can.
In New Mexico, Jorge Otero knew that he had to share his story after his father died a painful death from cancer. Otero, like Diaz, shared his story in media outlets, at hearings and in a powerful video. His advocacy was critical in the passage of the medical aid-in-dying law that went into effect on June 18, 2021.
Cecilia Vasquez-Vigil , a Texas resident, contracted COVID-19 early in the pandemic and decided to share her story in order to encourage other Latinos to prepare for if and when they became ill. She speaks candidly about her regret that she hadn’t filled out an advance directive before her illness so that her loved ones knew her end-of-life wishes. Her mother also contracted COVID-19 and died in July 2020; Vasquez-Vigil shares her grief powerfully in an upcoming video.
Each of these advocates is tied together by a common belief that everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from, should be able to access compassionate care at the end of their lives. Whether you are a household name or a leader in your own family, you can make a difference in the lives of the people around you by just starting a conversation. Compassion & Choices celebrates the Latino advocates who are making a difference in their communities and beyond.