Defense Federal Community observes National Hispanic Heritage Month

By Mislin A. Hampton DLA Columbus EEO Hispanic Employment Program

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Poster
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 - October 15 annually to honor the contributions of Hispanic Americans.
Poster
Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 - October 15 annually to honor the contributions of Hispanic Americans.
Photo By: Graphic Illustration by Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
VIRIN: 200910-D-D0441-0131
The Defense Federal Community and the Equal Employment Opportunity Hispanic Employment Program join in the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 through October 15, 2020. This month was designated by Congress to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans, whom have influenced this country for more than 240 years, and worked hard in building this great nation.   

This year’s theme is “Honoring Hispanic Americans – Essential to the Blueprint of Our Nation.” Many Hispanics have marched for social justice, defended our country, and helped advance America’s journey toward an ideal nation by sharing a dream of equality and limitless opportunity. They have defied social and cultural stereotypes throughout many generations and have become pioneers in their respective fields.  To honor its impact on America, see the list below.

• Justice Sonia Sotomayor – Made history in 2009 as the first Latina to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Since then, she has built a reputation on being an advocate for criminal justice and women’s rights.

• Scientist Mario J. Molina – Co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1995 for his research on the effects of chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer. Molina was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.  

• Astronaut Ellen Ochoa – First Latina woman to fly into space, which occurred aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. She also became the first Latina director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

• Dr. Antonia C. Novello – First woman and the first Hispanic person appointed Surgeon General of the United States – a role she served in from 1990-1993. She focused on the health of young people, women and minorities, and spoke out against drinking, smoking, and drug abuse.  

• Anthony Romero – First Latino and first openly gay leader of the American Civil Liberties Union just days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. His work at the ACLU has tackled racial equality, religious freedom, gay rights, reproductive rights and personal privacy issues.

As of July 1, 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the Hispanic population in the United States was 59.9 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.  Hispanics constituted 18.3 percent of the nation’s total population. By the year 2050, the Census Bureau predicts Hispanics will represent one-fourth of the U.S. population.

Thanks to the efforts of the Office of EEO and Diversity HEP committee, there are now more Hispanics working at the Defense Supply Center Columbus installation.  In 1999 and 2000, there was only one Hispanic participating in the Defense Logistics Agency Corporate Intern Program, now known as the Pathways to Career Excellence Program.  Then, the situation changed when DSCC started recruitment trips to Puerto Rico. “The former HEP Program Manager, Maria Castillo, was instrumental in bringing 50 high-caliber Hispanics of Puerto Rican [descent] who were highly qualified by being in the top of 10 percent of their class,” said Felix Huertas, a DLA Land and Maritime Hall of Fame member.

As of July 1, ninety Hispanics work for DLA Land and Maritime – 40 women and 50 men – from a total workforce of 2,422 employees, which comprises a 3.7 % representation rate of which is comparable to the local Columbus community.  Hispanics represent approximately 10 % of the national population.

Based on the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Hispanic Americans played an immeasurable role in the United States’ Armed Forces during World War II by serving bravely and with distinction from the initial attack on Pearl Harbor to the last days of the Pacific campaign. 

Sixty men of Hispanic heritage have been awarded the Medal of Honor. The award comes through the National Defense Authorization Act, which called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure that no prejudice was shown to those deserving the medal. It is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its Armed Forces. Of the sixty Medals of Honor, two were presented to members of the United States Navy, thirteen to members of the United States Marine Corps and forty-six to members of the United States Army. Forty-two of the Medals of Honor were presented posthumously.

The EEO HEP extends a special thanks to the committee members for their hard work and commitment for what they do every day to support the Warfighter, especially during these difficult times.

If you would like more information or to join the EEO HEP committee, please contact the Chair, Carlos Guzman by email at Carlos.Guzman@dla.mil or Coordinator, Maramcel Rivera at Maramcel.Rivera@dla.mil.