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Hispanic Heritage Month September 15–October 15, 2013 Hispanics: Serving and Leading Our Nation with Pride and Honor.

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Presentation on theme: "Hispanic Heritage Month September 15–October 15, 2013 Hispanics: Serving and Leading Our Nation with Pride and Honor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hispanic Heritage Month September 15–October 15, 2013 Hispanics: Serving and Leading Our Nation with Pride and Honor

2 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th, celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. 2 Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

3 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the observance to become Hispanic Heritage Month. 3 The observance started in September 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Photos courtesy of the White House

4 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 September 15th is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16th, and Chile did so on September 18th. Also, Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, falls within this 30-day period, on October 12th. 4

5 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Generations of Hispanics have shaped and strengthened the fabric of the United States since its inception. Hispanics have enriched every facet of our national identity with traditions that stretch across centuries and reflect the many ancestries that comprise the Hispanic/Latino community. 5 Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

6 Hispanic Heritage Month “We do not choose our fate or our family circumstances. Those who have little in life to begin with can find success if they have survival instincts and are highly motivated to succeed in life.” LTC Alfred Rascon, USA, retired Public servant

7 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 As a soldier and public servant, LTC Alfred Rascon, retired, served the United States with distinction for nearly four decades. At the age of four, Rascon came to the U.S. from Mexico with his parents. Raised in the barrios of California near Port Hueneme Naval Station during the Korean War, he was fascinated by the military, making parachutes out of sheets and staging imaginary combat jumps off the roof of his house. At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and became a medic in the 173rd Airborne Brigade. 7

8 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 In March 1966, Rascon’s unit moved to reinforce its sister battalion that was under attack. A firefight broke out, beginning what Rascon would later recall as “ten minutes of hell.” Ignoring orders, “Doc” Rascon ran to tend to the wounded soldiers. He was hit by shrapnel and a rifle bullet that traveled from his hip through his shoulder blade. He managed to drag one man to safety, then crawled back into the melee to bring ammunition to a wounded machine gunner. 8

9 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Fearing an abandoned machine gun would be used by the enemy, he went to retrieve it. A grenade exploded, spraying his face with shrapnel. Later, he saved the life of another GI by shielding the man with his own body as he administered treatment. When a grenade landed near an injured sergeant, he threw his body over the sergeant. The explosion blew off Rascon’s helmet and rucksack. He refused morphine so he could continue treating his wounded comrades. 9

10 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 He was nominated for the Medal of Honor days afterward, but the paperwork was lost. Upon his discharge from the Army in 1966, he joined the reserves, attended college, and became a naturalized citizen. In 1969, he returned to active duty and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He returned to Vietnam in 1972 for another tour. In 1993, some of the men whose lives Rascon saved heard that the recommendation for his medal was lost. They took the case to the House Veterans Affairs Committee. 10

11 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 In 2000, Rascon was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service at a White House ceremony with the men he had saved looking on. In presenting the Medal of Honor, President Clinton said, “On that distant day, in that faraway place, this man gave everything he had, utterly and selflessly, to protect his platoon mates.” 11

12 Hispanic Heritage Month President Clinton and LTC Alfred Rascon, USA, retired The White House, 2000 Alfred Rascon, medic in the U.S. Army (center) Vietnam, March 1966

13 Hispanic Heritage Month Rascon became the 343rd person awarded the nation's highest military honor. Today, describing himself as “Mexican by birth, American by choice,” he is a role model for students. He also works with soldiers, veterans, and their families, offering support, assistance, and recognition for their contributions to the country.

14 Hispanic Heritage Month “Whether we’re called Hispanos or Mexicanos or Puertorriqueños, Cubanos, or Latinos, we are a family connected to a community of very talented people from very different backgrounds who are doing amazing things that our parents did not have the opportunity to do.” Linda Alvarado Entrepreneur

15 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Born in 1952, Linda Alvarado was raised with five brothers by parents who had high expectations for their offspring. They also gave their children pride in their heritage. Alvarado said, “They helped us to understand that as Hispanics we would probably be faced with some form of bias in our lives, but that we should never use that as an excuse not to try.” 15

16 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 She attended college on a full scholarship, but she worked as a laborer for a landscaping company to pay her personal expenses. She graduated with a degree in economics and went to work as a contract administrator for a development company that specialized in large retail, commercial, and housing projects. Her position often put her on the construction site, and she discovered the satisfaction of seeing a building design on a blueprint become a structure. 16

17 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Alvarado developed a sense of humor about the bias she faced and remained determined to launch a successful career as a contractor. Alvarado defied stereotypes attached to women and Hispanics. She explained, “Not only was construction just for guys, it was just for big, burly guys. Women often talk about a ‘glass ceiling,’ through which they can clearly see where they want to go. In my case, it was a concrete ceiling. I couldn’t see any other women where I was going.” 17

18 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 There were no special programs to support women and minority business start-ups. Banks turned her down. Her parents mortgaged their home and lent her $2,500. On this foundation, Alvarado built one of the most successful construction firms in the country, moving from flatwork and simple paving jobs to bus-stop shelters, convenience stores, fast-food restaurants, public school buildings, and Denver’s aquarium, international airport, and convention center. 18

19 Hispanic Heritage Month Alvarado initially signed her proposals “L. Alvarado,” fearing that if she used “Linda,” she wouldn’t be considered because she was a woman. She recalls when a male accompanied her on a project interview and the clients extended their hands to him, assuming he was the president of the company. Linda Alvarado

20 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Alvarado is a fervent believer in encouraging young women not to limit themselves. She uses her own story to illustrate her points. “I've been mistaken for a banker, a secretary, and even the office cleaning woman, but I've never had someone come up to me and tell me I look like a contractor. What is important is not how others see you, but how you see yourself.” 20

21 Hispanic Heritage Month Joseph Unanue Businessman and philanthropist “Many Latino immigrants just need a little help, and they will succeed. They're not looking for a handout, they're looking for jobs. All they need is a chance, and they will help this country become stronger.”

22 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Joseph Unanue was one of four sons of Prudencio and Carolina Unanue, who founded Goya Foods in 1936 to sell olives, olive oil, sardines, and other food to local Hispanic families. He started working at the company as a boy, delivering food and running errands during the summer and on weekends. He and his brothers built Goya Foods into the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States. 22

23 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 At age 19, Unanue fought in World War II in the decisive Battle of the Bulge. On his first day in the European Theater, his sergeant lay dead; he was the next in command. “They wanted me to take over, but I didn't want to. I was just a PFC,” he said. He pulled his men to safety amid intense shelling, a heroic act earning him the Bronze Star. 23 PFC Joseph Unanue

24 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 He returned to the U.S. and enrolled in the Catholic University of America, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering. He turned down his first job offer because it did not pay what he thought he was worth. “Instead, I went to work typing invoices for my father at half the salary!” 24

25 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Over the next 25 years, he learned every facet of the food industry, and he became the company's president in Goya Foods now stretches across the United States and into Mexico, Central and South America, and Spain. Unanue was known to possess a certain down-to- earth air, remembering his roots and always being there to give advice to new and up-and-coming Hispanic-owned companies. 25

26 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Unanue said that Goya Foods initially “had a hard time convincing the chain stores that the Hispanics pay with money.” Additionally, some supermarkets were reluctant to give Goya Foods shelf space alongside more mainstream items, and instead offered the company a separate section for its goods. “Instead of refusing the lesser offer, my father used it to the company’s advantage and took it,” Unanue said. 26

27 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 “(Unanue) had great vision, he saw the demography of the United States changing before anybody talked about it … He also appreciated the fact, and I think this is part of his genius, that Brazilians and Venezuelans and Guatemalans, all Hispanics, had different traditions and different tastes.” —Richard Fritzky Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce 27

28 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Under his leadership, Goya Foods’ annual revenues grew from about $8 million to about $1 billion, boosted by successive waves of Hispanic immigrants entering the United States. In 1993, he told CNN that “the ambition is to … show the Hispanic population of this world that it doesn’t matter what you are, you can grow a company … you can make it work.” 28

29 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Unanue was honored extensively throughout his life for his community service efforts. The National Conference of Christians and Jews twice hailed him as “Man of the Year.” The National Minority Suppliers Association awarded him its Leadership Award. In 1991, Hispanic Magazine honored him with the National Hispanic Achievement Award. 29

30 Hispanic Heritage Month “The main purpose of organizing is to develop leadership. The people you are organizing have to own the organization. Power is like love, the more you share, the more it grows.” Dolores Huerta Labor leader and social activist

31 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Dolores Huerta has fought for more than four decades to bring justice, dignity, and a decent standard of living to farm workers. Huerta learned about social activism from her mother, who often provided homeless farm workers a helping hand. Unlike most Hispanic women of her generation, Huerta attended college. She began teaching but left because, in her words, “I couldn’t stand seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes. I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than by trying to teach their hungry children.” 31

32 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Huerta found her calling as an organizer while serving in the leadership of the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO). She founded the Agricultural Workers Association, set up voter registration drives, and pressed local governments to improve barrios. In 1955, she met CSO Executive Director César E. Chávez. The two soon discovered that they shared a common vision of organizing farm workers. 32

33 Hispanic Heritage Month Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez Photo courtesy of the Dolores Huerta Foundation

34 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 I n 1962, Chávez and Huerta launched the National Farm Workers Association. Huerta’s organizing skills were essential to the growth of this budding organization. The challenges she faced as a woman did not go unnoted, and in one of her letters to Chávez, she joked, “Being a now (ahem) experienced lobbyist, I am able to speak on a man-to-man basis with other lobbyists.” 34

35 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Her lobbying and negotiating talents were demonstrated in 1963, by securing aid for dependent families and disability insurance for farm workers in California. She was also instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of The first law of its kind in the United States, it granted farm workers in California the right to collectively organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions. 35

36 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 While she was busy breaking down one gender barrier after another, she was seemingly unaware that she impacted not only farm workers but also young women everywhere. Huerta advocated for entire families’ non-violent participation in the movement because men, women, and children all worked the fields. 36

37 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 At age 58, Huerta was assaulted in San Francisco while protesting against the policies of then- presidential candidate George H. W. Bush. A baton-wielding police officer broke four of her ribs and shattered her spleen. Public outrage compelled the San Francisco Police Department to change its policies regarding crowd control and police discipline. 37

38 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Following her recovery, she took a leave of absence from the union to focus on women’s rights. She traveled the country for two years on behalf of the Feminist Majority’s Feminization of Power: 50/50 by the year 2000 campaign, encouraging Latinas to run for office. Her efforts effectively increased women’s representation at the local, state, and federal levels. 38

39 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 In 2012, Huerta was named one of 13 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for her meritorious contributions to the United States. At 83, Huerta continues to work tirelessly, developing leaders and advocating for the working poor, women, and children. She maintains, “Every one of us has to make a commitment to social justice. You have to have the courage to get out there and fight for it.” 39

40 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Hispanics have exerted a profound influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and public service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect their multiethnic and multicultural customs. 40

41 Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 “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. Hispanics also serve as leaders throughout the public sector, working at the highest levels of our government and serving on our highest courts.”—President Barack Obama 41

42 Hispanic Heritage Month observations/hispanic-heritage.php office/2012/09/14/presidential-proclamation-national-hispanic- heritage-month %20Menu.htm rascon indiv.html?work_urn=urn%3Autlol%3Awwlatin.226&work_title= Unanue%2C+Joseph 42

43 43 Prepared by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida September 2013 All photographs are public domain and are from various sources as cited. The findings in this report are not to be construed as an official DEOMI, U.S. military services, or Department of Defense position, unless designated by other authorized documents.


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