COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The DLA Land and Maritime EEO Hispanic Employment Program (HEP) joined in the celebration of the National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM) in an event held mid-October. The recognition period, designated by Congress to celebrate the rich heritage and cultural diversity, spans from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.
In his welcoming remarks, James McClaugherty, deputy commander of Land and Maritime, recognized the spectacular achievements of Hispanics in all facets of the federal workforce.
“Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the U.S.,” he said. McClaugherty congratulated the EEO Program Manager Frances R. Quinones, who was recently received the 2015 Hispanic Program Manager (HEPM) during the National IMAGE 43rd Training Program Awards Banquet, in Houston, Texas
In dealing with diversity and inclusion, McClaugherty also reminded the audience the importance of unconditional acceptance, respect and love by sharing some of his most favorite quotes from historical icons Robert E. Lee and President Abraham Lincoln.
This year’s theme was “Hispanic Americans: Energizing Our Nation’s Diversity.” The most current Land and Maritime workforce statistics reflect that 3.4 percent of the workforce Hispanic. Those figures mean that Land and Maritime has 77 Hispanic associates contributing to the warfighter support mission.
As part of the NHHM celebration, the EEO HEP sponsored a formal program on Oct. 14 with the Latino community leader and multicultural specialist, Lilleana Cavanaugh, as the keynote speaker in the Building 20 Auditorium. Cavanaugh, who serves as the Executive Director for the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs, State of Ohio, interpreted this year’s theme and highlighted the contributions of Hispanic-Americans.
As part of Cavanaugh’s presentation, the audience watched the short video, “The Shift,” which explains how America’s culture is changing as the population grows and the importance of being inclusive.
“As a melting pot, Hispanics came from many places of the world. We are mixed with Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and much more. An accent is not an issue, it’s an opportunity,” Cavanaugh said. “As much Hispanics are growing, we have challenges. We have been underestimated. If Miguelito can’t speak English that doesn’t mean that he has a disability,” she stated.
Cavanaugh emphasized how the Hispanic history that has been told is very different from reality. For example, 43% of the Hispanics in Ohio speak English well.
“Hispanics have unquestionable values such as perseverance, persistence and commitment. Please remember that Ohio is a mosaic of many cultures. This is our America, our dream,” she said.
Closing out the ceremony, CAPT Rogelio Alvarez noted the contributions of Hispanics in the military. “According to the Department of Defense 2013 Demographics Profile of the Military, 11.6% of active duty service members and 10.4% of the reserve members are of Hispanic ethnicity,” he said.
Alvarez also shared that 43 men of Hispanic heritage have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration presented by the U.S. to a member of its armed forces. Of the 43 Medals of Honor presented to Hispanics, two were presented to members of the Navy, 13 to Marines and 28 to Soldiers. 25 medals were presented posthumously.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to reflect on and value, not just the incredible contributions of the past, but to celebrate how diversity has strengthened our country…It’s that diversity that sets us apart and makes our country remarkable,” Alvarez concluded.
Shirley M. Cartagena, DLA Land and Maritime Supervisor, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Angela L. McCoy, DLA Land and Maritime Supply System Analyst, sang the National Anthem, and Pastor Carlos De La Cruz from Westerville Church of the Nazarene provided the invocation.