KEYPORT, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Keyport celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 12 with an event featuring guest speakers, a potluck and the theme, “Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving our Nation.”
The celebration of Hispanic culture included the heritage of people with ties to Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain, and the Sept. 15-Oct. 15 period encompasses the independence day of several Latin American countries.
Leti Mason, the continuous process Improvement coordinator for NUWC Division Keyport’s Maintenance, Engineering, & Industrial Operations Department, is one of the co-chairs of the division's Hispanic/Latino Employment Program. Mason said such events are a critical opportunity to educate people on the impact Hispanics have had on the American story.
“Events like these are an opportunity to celebrate the achievements, contributions and cultures of people whose native language is Spanish and/or whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America,” Mason said.
“It’s important for event attendees to see themselves reflected in the leaders of our country in hopes that they'll become motivated to consider how they can also contribute and make a difference themselves along with taking pride in their own heritage.”
Norma Domingo, Financial Analyst in NUWC Division, Keyport’s Comptroller Department and the other co-chair of the Hispanic/Latino Employment Program, said the event is also a good way for the NUWC Division, Keyport community to strengthen their ties.
“We wanted to share our family culture with our new family, our Keyport family in order to establish connections,” Domingo said. “It allows us all to reflect on the profound and positive influence this community of people have had on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.”
The event featured two guest speakers: Tony TorresRamos, director of mission support at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and María Sigüenza, Executive Director of the Washington Commission on Hispanic Affairs.
During her remarks, Sigüenza discussed the strengths in the Hispanic community, such as collaboration and caring for one another.
“We are great collaborators. We make great partners in work. We make great leaders who take into account the state of our team: who care about the well-being of our teammates,” Sigüenza said. “These are traits that you likely recognize in your colleagues here. The Armed Forces are a catalyst for bringing diversity together and creating comradery and effective teams. Diverse, effective, and close-knit teams make an organization excel.”
TorresRamos talked about the passion for the job he has seen the Hispanic community bring to the Navy and the Department of Defense.
“We are a passionate people,” TorresRamos said. “Passion is what fuels you; passion is what motivates you. It’s the lens to your decisions, your actions and your thinking. Businesses have recognized the value and possibilities of passionate leadership and emotional intelligence. People respond to passionate leadership.”
The celebration was capped by a potluck lunch with a large whiteboard inviting attendees to complete the sentence, “I am from…” This was done to encourage people to consider their own heritage and how their ancestors contributed to the American story.
“Learning about the leaders in our community and our government makes us proud of the role our heritage has played in our country, and we are delighted that we have been given the opportunity to contribute our strengths here at NUWC Division Keyport,” Mason said.
Domingo echoed that sentiment, saying she hoped the celebration brought a greater awareness of the rich heritage of Hispanic people.
“We hope one other takeaway from this event is that the emphasis of the Hispanic community is not just Mexican. Hispanic Heritage Month encompasses many other countries with various traditions, foods, arts, etc.,” Domingo said.
For more news from Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, visit www.navy.mil/local/nuwcd/.