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Obama Administration Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month highlights the rich heritage of the Latino community and the contributions Hispanics have made to America.

On Friday, President Obama signed a Proclamation in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, highlighting the rich heritage of the Latino community and the “contributions Hispanics have made to America.” As the Proclamation reads:

Hispanics have helped shape our communities and expand our country, from laboratories and industry to board rooms and classrooms. They have led movements that pushed our country closer to realizing the democratic ideals of America's founding documents, and they have served courageously as members of our Armed Forces to defend those ideals at home and abroad....As we celebrate these hard-fought achievements, we must also remember there is more work to be done to widen the circle of opportunity for the Hispanic community and keep the American dream within reach for all who seek it.

You can read the full proclamation HERE.

In addition to the Proclamation, Administration officials are also participating in a number of activities engaging this fast-growing segment of the American family. On Thursday of last week, Vice President Biden addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 35th Anniversary Awards Gala, to highlight the importance of education and the work of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI).  Through professional development workshops, internships and fellowships CHCI engages nearly 1,700 young Latinos annually in educational and leadership development programming designed to promote college readiness and support college attainment.

Other Administration highlights include:

  • The Small Business Administration and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce launched a pilot program in four cities and statewide programs in four states (Austin, Texas; El Paso, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Florida; California; Ohio; and Utah) to help widen the agency’s outreach efforts and connect Hispanic small business owners and entrepreneurs with local lenders and business counseling to help them grow and create more jobs.  To learn more about this pilot program click HERE.
  • The Small Business Administration will feature stories from Hispanic American small business owners that have received SBA assistance to help start or grow their business.  You can follow these stories on Twitter using the hashtag #HHMsba. The stories will also be available on SBA's Facebook pages.
  • The U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Arne Duncan kicked off a third annual Education Drives America back to school bus tour, which includes a number of stops with Hispanic educators, teachers, and students, including a town hall at the University of Nevada, Reno; a town hall at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Missouri in conjunction with the National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia; and a roundtable at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Virginia.
  • The Department of the Interior through the National Park Service recently published, ‘A Report on the American Latino Heritage Initiative’, which captures the goals and outcomes that have been generated to help celebrate the past and ongoing contributions of American Latinos to the development of our nation. 
  • The U.S. Department of State held a dialogue with Medal of Freedom Honoree Dolores Huerta with Under Secretary Patrick F. Kennedy last Wednesday.  The State Department will also feature profiles of Hispanic Americans working among their ranks.  Two of the featured State Department employees include, Marcela E. Curtis and David Bargueno.The U.S. Department of Agriculture will hold a National Hispanic Heritage Month Observance on Thursday, September 20th at 10:00 AM at the Jefferson Auditorium in Washington, DC.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is hosting a series of briefings with national Latino organizations including the National Council of La Raza, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Hispanic Medical Association, and Vision y Compromiso regarding the impact of the Affordable Care Act on Latinos.
  • And the U.S. Department of Labor kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month with a discussion about the state of the economy and the critical impact of education and training on the Latino workforce. Secretary Hilda L. Solis moderated the conversation, which included dialogue about trends and opportunities in today’s jobs market, and featured the participation of community leaders and recent graduates.   To view the video of the panel discussion, click HERE.

The Obama Administration has also worked to engage the private sector on a number of initiatives important to Hispanics and all Americans. The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Javier Palomarez signed a Statement of Support for the National Guard and Reserve to kick off the organization’s 33rd Annual National Convention in Los Angeles, CA. James Rebholz, National Chairman of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), joined Palomarez during a ceremony on September 16th at the convention.In addition, Palomarez encouraged the USHCC network of over 200 local Hispanic chambers across the country to join with the USHCC to support their chamber members hire those who serve voluntarily in the National Guard and Reserve.

White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz congratulated the USHCC for their commitment to helping hire returning veterans as well as their partnership with the SBA, while speaking at their national convention in Los Angeles.  You can read more details about her remarks by clicking HERE.

Luis Miranda is White House Director of Hispanic Media