President Obama Honors Sandra Cisneros, Luis Valdez & Rudolfo Anaya With Arts & Humanities Medals

Lead Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) presents the National Medal of Arts to author Sandra Cisneros (L) during an East Room ceremony at the White House September 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a super stacked event at the White House on Thursday, President Barack Obama awarded artists, writers, and other prominent figures for their contributions to the arts and humanities. Obama honored 24 people with either a National Medal of Arts, which is the highest award the government gives artists, or National Humanities Medal.

“Throughout my time here, Michelle and I have tried to make it a priority to promote the arts and humanities, especially for our young people,” he said at today’s ceremony. “And it’s because we believe that the arts and the humanities are in many ways reflective of our national soul. They are central to who we are as Americans: Dreamers, and storytellers, and innovators, and visionaries.”

After Obama talked more about the importance of these two fields, a voice introduced each recipient and explained their importance. The event honored four Latinos. Sandra Cisneros was the second person called up. Cisneros – whose classic coming-of-age novel, The House on Mango Street, serves as an important contribution to Chicana feminist literature – received the award for enriching the American narrative.

For spreading conjunto music throughout the United States, Santiago Jimenez, Jr. received a medal for “expanding the horizon of American music.”

The director of La Bamba, Luis Valdez, brought Chicano culture to the movies and on stage.

Lastly, the author of Bless Me, Ultimate, Rudolfo Anaya received the humanities medal for his stories about the Chicano experience and the American southwest.

Cisneros later posted images on Instagram, and she made sure to get a picture with all the other Latino winners:

Check out the entire ceremony above.