News: Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated at district
Story by AnnMarie Harvie
CONCORD, Mass. - New England District’s Hispanic Employment Program manager and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer joined forces to sponsor a program to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Oct. 7 in the theater.
Marta Martinez, executive director of Hispanic Social Services in Rhode Island served as guest speaker for the program.
Lt. Col. Steven Howell, New England district deputy commander, represented the Executive Office and welcomed participants.
“Hispanics have played a vital role in the moments and movements that have shaped our country,” he said. “Since before the Revolutionary War these men and women have shaped and strengthened our country, and during Hispanic American Heritage Month, we celebrate and recognize the achievements and contributions of these individuals.”
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Martinez discussed the history of Hispanic Heritage Month, which began in 1968 as a week-long celebration. She explained the reasoning behind why the month runs from the middle of September to the middle of October. “There are many days of independence for various Hispanic countries in September and October,” she said.
An important note that Martinez wanted to stress – Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day. “That day is Sept. 16, and it is celebrated much like the United States celebrates July 4,” she said.
Martinez discussed the history of Mexico’s true Independence Day as well as the Cinco de Mayo celebration.
She said that the U.S. celebrated Cinco de Mayo because of the large contingency of Mexicans who live in the United States. “Cinco de Mayo is too commercialized in the U.S.,” she said.
Martinez concluded her presentation with census statistics of Mexican-Americans currently living in Rhode Island and taking questions from the audience.
Lt. Col. Howell presented her with a Bunker Hill plaque in appreciation for coming to speak with the District Team.
Jackie DiDomenico, EEO Officer, and Ruth Ann Brien, Hispanic Employment Program Manager, hosted this year’s program.