Critical Mas: 20 For 2000

PHOENIX, ARIZ., AGE 20 She started Children for a Safe Environment at the age of 9 and has been fighting to keep hazardous waste and pollution out of minority neighborhoods ever since. "Poor people shouldn't always be the ones dumped on," says Arvizu-Johnson, who is of Mexican-American and Native American heritage.

MARC ANTHONY
SALSA SINGER

NEW YORK, AGE 30 His CD, "Contra la Corriente," won a Grammy this year. Of Puerto Rican descent, he is recording his first English-language pop album.

CARLOS CARDONA
INTERNET ENTREPRENEUR

MIAMI BEACH, AGE 23 Cardona got the idea for yupi.com, an Internet portal site, while introducing his father to the Web in 1996. Now it's the most-visited Spanish-language site, drawing 6 million visitors a month.

LUIGI CRESPO
POLITICAL ORGANIZER

WASHINGTON, D.C., AGE 27 As the executive director of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, the Peruvian-born Crespo aims to bring more Latinos into the Republican fold. "Our Hispanic ideals are very conservative," he says.

TED CRUZ
LAWYER

WASHINGTON, D.C., AGE 29 The first Latino to clerk for the chief justice of the United States, in 1996-97. His father emigrated from Cuba in 1957 and, Cruz says, "Education opened the American dream to him. We're failing to provide that education now, especially to poor minorities."

OSCAR DE LA HOYA
BOXER
LOS ANGELES, AGE 26JUNOT DIAZ
AUTHOR

NEW YORK, AGE 30 His critically acclaimed "Drown" (1996), a collection of stories about his childhood in the Dominican Republic and New Jersey, established him as one of the strongest voices of Generation N. A Guggenheim Fellow, he's working on his first novel.

LYSA FLORES
MUSICIAN, ACTRESS

LOS ANGELES, AGE 25 She recorded her punk-inspired 1998 CD, "Tree of Hope,'' on her own label, and is a stalwart in L.A.'s "Chicano alternative'' music scene. Flores appears in the Telemundo series "Reyes y Rey,'' and is a fund-raiser for environmental and Latino causes.

JOHN LEGUIZAMO
ACTOR

NEW YORK, AGE 35 In his off-Broadway shows "Mambo Mouth," "Spic-O-Rama" and the Tony-nominated "Freak," the Colombian-born actor turned Latino stereotypes into real characters with heart. He plays an Italian in Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam."

REBECCA LOBO
BASKETBALL PLAYER

NEW YORK, AGE 25 The WNBA star, whose great-grandfather was Cuban, is injured and out for the season. But the kids wearing pint-size number 50 New York Liberty jerseys won't forget their 6-foot-4 hero.

JUAN MALDACENA
PHYSICIST

CAMBRIDGE, MASS., AGE 30 A MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant winner, this Argentine physicist's specialty is "string theory."

FAUSTO MEZA
MEDICAL STUDENT

GALVESTON, TEXAS, AGE 29 As coordinator of the National Network of Latin American Medical Students, the Ecuadoran-born Mesa works to get more Latinos into medicine.

YXTA MAYA MURRAY
NOVELIST, LAW PROFESSOR

LOS ANGELES, AGE 30 Her lyric novels explore society's rough edges. "Locas" was about female gangs in East L.A. Her latest, "What It Takes to Get to Vegas," is set in the Mexican-American boxing scene.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
TELEVISION JOURNALIST

NEW YORK, AGE 32 The NBC news correspondent-anchor is a one-woman melting pot. Her Cuban-born mother is black, her father is Irish-Australian.

JOHN D. OLIVAS
ASTRONAUT

HOUSTON, AGE 33 A fourth-generation Mexican-American, he will finish the year-long NASA Astronaut Candidate program in the fall, making him the ninth Latino astronaut.

ALEX PADILLA
CITY COUNCILOR

LOS ANGELES, AGE 26 On June 9, Padilla became the youngest Latino (he's Mexican-American) to win a seat on the L.A. City Council.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ
BASEBALL PLAYER

SEATTLE, AGE 23 A-Rod, as Mariner fans call the Dominican-American shortstop, is the first 40-40 infielder--40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in one season--in major league history.

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ
FILM DIRECTOR

AUSTIN, TEXAS, AGE 30 His debut film, "El Mariachi," was made for only $7,000 and won him a Sundance Audience Award. A Mexican-American, his most recent film was the teen thriller "The Faculty."

SHAKIRA
SINGER

MIAMI, AGE 22 Her gutsy 1998 rock album "Donde Estan Los Ladrones" won her a zealous following among young Latinas. She's currently working on an English version with Gloria Estefan. A native of Colombia, she wants to show the world that Latinos "don't just do ranchero and salsa. We can do good rock."

BILL TECK
MAGAZINE EDITOR

MIAMI, AGE 31 The second-generation Cuban-American founded Generation N magazine, and coined the term. "It's about saying, 'Wait a minute. We're not all Generation X'."

Editor's Pick