BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in the ship's hangar bay, Oct. 4.
The celebration, hosted by John C. Stennis' Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee (MCHC), featured guest speakers from the ship's crew, music, dancing and food.
"Let us not be ashamed of who we are or where we come from, but let's celebrate today that we're Americans with a lot to offer to the world," said Lt. j.g. Gabriel Sanchez, from Ruskin, Florida, one of the speakers at the event. "As we observe Hispanic Heritage Month, please know that we are all created equal and it is truly an honor and a pleasure to serve alongside you all."
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Cecibel Montesdeoca, from Newark, New Jersey, shared information about her home country of Ecuador, and Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Luz Pradaholguin, from Cali, Colombia, spoke about Colombia. They discussed the geographic and biological diversity and described the meaning of the countries' flags.
Seventeen percent of enlisted Sailors and eight percent of Naval officers identify as Hispanic, according to Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs.
"Sailors should appreciate one another and understand that the Navy is made up of all these different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds," said Yeoman 3rd Class Jazmin Maria, from Robbins, North Carolina, MCHC president. "We're a big melting pot."
Sailors demonstrated Merengue and Bachata dancing and invited the crowd to join in. The MCHC provided snacks including pan dulce and Mexican candies coated in chili powder.
Hispanic Heritage Month runs Sept. 15 - Oct. 15, which includes the Independence Day anniversaries for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile.
John C. Stennis is in port training for future operations after completing flight deck certification and conducting carrier qualifications.
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