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Master Sgt. Thomas MacDougall, Regional Threats Analysis squadron senior enlisted leader, asks a question during a Courageous Conversations session here Sept. 30, 2022. Hosted by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility team, the event is one of many offered by the Center during Hispanic Heritage Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Earick)
Lt. Col. Axel Gonzalez, commander of the Signals Analysis Squadron, answers a question from a member of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center during a Courageous Conversations session here Sept. 30, 2022. This is one of the multiple events NASIC hosted during Hispanic Heritage Month which ran from Sep. 15 through Oct. 15. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Earick)
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The National Air and Space Intelligence Center celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting multiple events from Sep. 15 through Oct. 15 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Each year the National Air and Space Intelligence Center participates in this celebration of diversity by hosting several Hispanic-themed games and events. This year’s activities included bingo games, an “Amigos Latinos Gala” off-base, a “Hispanic Heritage Month-Culture Kitchen-Mexico” event, and a “Courageous Conversations” event hosted by the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility team at NASIC.
“Hispanic Heritage month is a deliberate ‘pause’ to recognize, celebrate, and honor the diaspora of Hispanic and Latine contributions to the U.S. – culturally, politically, and socially,” said Trinidy Jeter, NASIC’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “Having dedicated time to acknowledge cultural heritage gives space for preservation of self-awareness, cultural integrity, and a wealth of knowledge to transfer from one generation to the next. At NASIC, Hispanic Heritage Month elevates our commitment to recognize our people for all of who they are – moreso, it establishes our expected battle rhythm to cultivate unity.”
On a national level, Hispanic Heritage Month is a month-long celebration of Hispanic heritage, culture, and contributions to the United States. It was first observed in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and expanded to a month in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. The purpose of the observance is to honor Hispanics for their contributions to American society and highlight their achievements in business, education, entertainment, science and technology, sports, and more.
This year, the Department of Defense commemorated the celebration with the theme: “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” Unidos is roughly translated to mean united, connected, or close.
“While the DOD has made progress in increasing the presence of Hispanics in the Department of Defense military and civilian ranks, there is still much work to be accomplished,” said Gilbert Cisneros, Jr., Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the DoD’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, in a DoD press release. “Fostering an inclusive environment is crucial for the Department’s success.”
These words from Cisneros are a reminder that the most cohesive force is one where its members feel welcomed, valued, and appreciated. DoD personnel should feel judged only by their contributions to the team through the quality of their work and never by the elements that define their individuality.