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America is made of stars — “and we Hispanics are among them,” said Claudia Romo Edelman in a recent telephone interview with Fox News Digital.
A humanitarian leader of Hispanic heritage who lived and worked for 25 years in Europe before moving to the United States eight years ago with her children, Romo Edelman is on a determined mission to set the record straight about Americans of Latino background — and to showcase their contributions to the U.S.
Born in Mexico City, Mexico, and today based in New York City, Romo Edelman founded the We Are All Human (WAAH) foundation. The group aims to “reveal, elevate and celebrate the best of humanity,” according to the organization’s website.
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“We Are All Human celebrates our differences. It is because of them, not despite them, that we are strong.”
Under the banner of Hispanic Star, Romo Edelman is also launching a new book series for young readers during this month of September 2022. To coincide with the start of Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 15 (which runs through Oct. 15), the book series will shine a spotlight on the contributions and accomplishments of Americans of Hispanic heritage.
“What’s good for Hispanics is good for America,” she told Fox News Digital.
She’s also working to engage the consumer market and everyday people across the country to build “a sense of unity and pride as a community,” she said.
“Think of it, there are Latinos in Miami, Latinos in Minnesota — everywhere — who can support each other, mentor each other, buy from each other and help continue their own upward mobility,” she said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Romo Edelman and her groups organized 30 Hispanic hubs across the country that brought in food donations from multiple companies — as many as 25 participated. The groups then donated that food to people in the community who needed a hand-up during a hard time.
“That gives us hope that we can really — with a little bit of understanding about the contributions by Latinos in this country, of people giving to America — see a growth and a flourishing of this entire community.”
“It was a win-win for everybody,” she said.
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“Those donations were given by Procter & Gamble, by PepsiCo, by Goya Foods,” she said, “and were gathered in different centers across the country and given to 1.5 million Latinos over a six-month period.”
She said that more than 10,000 volunteers helped in this person-to-person effort.
“That gives us hope that we can really — with a little bit of understanding about the contributions by Latinos in this country, of people giving to America — see a growth and a flourishing of this entire community across America.”
In addition to her humanitarian and marketing work, Romo Edelman is today focused on the Hispanic Star book series.
Published by Roaring Brook Press as part of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, the series opens a window into the life stories of a range of Americans who have made contributions to our nation in many fields, including philanthropy, sports, the arts and more.
One of the first books is about standout baseball player Roberto Clemente, who was born in Puerto Rico. He wasn’t just a star baseball player. The youngest of seven children, he gave back to others as an adult in a way that many people didn’t realize or appreciate during his lifetime.
Clemente played for 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he also helped others in need. This year is the 50th anniversary of his untimely death.
On Dec. 31, 1972, Clemente perished along with four others when the plane he chartered to bring relief supplies to earthquake-devastated Nicaragua crashed shortly after takeoff from Puerto Rico. He was only 38 years old.
He had just gotten his 3,000th hit prior to that. “He could run like a deer and throw beautifully, yet he died trying to help other people,” noted Romo Edelman’s husband, Richard Edelman, the CEO of Edelman, the largest global communications firm.
Outstanding singer and performer Celia Cruz, born in Havana, Cuba, is also highlighted in the book series. Known as the “Queen of Salsa,” Cruz entertained millions.
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She was “pretty incredible,” said Romo Edelman.
After arriving in the U.S. in November 1961, Cruz became one of the few women to make it big in the world of salsa music. Author Maya Angelou, in a foreword to Cruz’s autobiography in 2004, called Cruz one of those “artists who belong to all the people, everywhere, all the time.”
Cruz recorded more than 80 albums and songs, earned 23 Gold Records and won five Grammy Awards. She also earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received America’s National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton.
Romo Edelman’s middle grade Hispanic Star book series kicks off with “Hispanic Star: Celia Cruz,” coauthored with William Alexander and illustrated by Alexandra Beguez (out Sept. 6, 2022), and “Hispanic Star: Roberto Clemente,” coauthored with Sara Echenique, illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez (also out Sept. 6, 2022).
“Every Latino child [will] have access to their heroes.”
Both books are published in both English and Spanish.
Said Romo Edelman, “I want the Hispanic Star series to be a source of inspiration and pride for the next generation — and for Hispanics to be recognized for their incredible contributions to this country,” she added.
Six initial books comprise the series.
“By the end of next year, there will be a boxed set — a collection of books to give as gifts to children, to schools, to libraries — ideally allowing every Latino child to have access to their heroes,” said Romo Edelman.
Anyone can learn more about her organization and the new book series at hispanicstar.org.
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As the nation soon pauses to remember all those lost on 9/11, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City — for the first time ever in 21 years — is going to honor, on Sept. 8, 2022, the fallen Hispanics who perished in the World Trade Center terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Nine percent of the people who died in the Towers were Latino,” noted Richard Edelman, including bankers, chefs and workers of all kinds.
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“And then in the aftermath, they were among those who helped out. They worked as first responders” — and handled so much else along with so many fellow Americans, he said.