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By Adrienne Burns, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs
The history of America is a history of diversity. The fabric of our nation is woven with threads of diverse communities, cultures, experiences and perspectives. The national observance months we celebrate throughout the year offer an opportunity to spotlight many of the communities who have shaped our nation and continue to make an impact today.
From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans are celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic and Latinx American history is made up of the experiences of Americans who have generations of history in the United States, as well as communities of immigrants, refugees and Spanish-speaking and Indigenous people — some of which were living in the United States long before the nation was established. This rich and vast community is represented through the theme of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month — “Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One.”
There are nearly 64 million Hispanic people in the United States as of July 2022, making it the largest racial or ethnic minority in the nation, comprising more than 19% of our population. The roots of Hispanic and Latinx Americans can be traced across Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean.
Here at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, the Hispanic and Latinx members of our workforce are represented in shops and codes throughout the command and bring a variety of experiences and backgrounds with them. The Hispanic Employee Resource Organization is one of the Employee Resource Groups where their cultural and community perspectives are shared and celebrated throughout the year.
HERO is open to all PSNS & IMF employees and supports the command's outreach, recruiting, retention and professional development of Hispanic and Latinx employees—both military and civilian— through authentic allyship with command leaders and resource groups via networking, skill building, mentoring, guest speakers and speaking opportunities. Like all ERGs, HERO offers an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to find points of connection and shared values that exist throughout the many communities represented at PSNS & IMF.
“PSNS & IMF’s Hispanic Employee Resource Organization is gaining momentum, more and more shipyard employees are starting to open up and share their culture,” said Nina Cole, co-lead for HERO at PSNS & IMF. “Sharing stories is one way to connect to people and build a stronger team. I think Hispanic Heritage Month is a good time to reflect on culture and family.”
Hispanic and Latinx Americans have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multi-ethnic and multicultural customs of their communities. This community has contributed to important milestones — not just in our nation, but also in our Navy’s history — ranging from the Civil War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Navy continues to be strengthened by the diversity of its force as patriots of Hispanic Heritage continue to serve our nation and build on our nation’s legacy of freedom, fighting for the security of our nation and all Americans.
The national observation of Hispanic Heritage started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. It was later expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15. It was enacted into law Aug. 17, 1988. National Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with important dates in many Hispanic and Latinx communities and encompasses independence days for several Latin American countries.
As of December 2021, approximately 67,000 active and Reserve Sailors of Hispanic heritage serve in the U.S. Navy, contributing to the strength of the nation’s force. PSNS & IMF joins the Navy and the nation in celebrating the culture, community and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans.
To learn how you can join or support the HERO ERG, email email@example.com.