On September 22, Congressmember Joe Crowley (D-Queens, The Bronx) celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting an event to recognize the extraordinary contributions Hispanics have made not only in his district but across the country. During the event, Crowley also paid special tribute to Congressmember Joaquin Castro (D-TX) who delivered the evening’s keynote address.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to commemorate the achievements of our Latino communities, reflect upon their important role in our history and celebrate what the future holds,” said Crowley. “Like all immigrants, they’ve left their homeland seeking a better life and have woven themselves into the fabric of our nation to make it even stronger. Congressman Joaquin Castro is a testament to that legacy and it was an honor to have him visit our district and join us at this year’s event to champion the profound impact Hispanics have had in our country.”
“I’m proud to join Congressman Crowley and his constituents in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and I thank them for the warm welcome. From New York to Texas, our Latino communities are a cornerstone of American society, making major contributions to the economy, culture and arts, public service and more. We must continue to ensure that we honor these contributions by building out the infrastructure of opportunity that allows all Americans to strive for our dreams,” said Castro.
Crowley also recognized three community leaders for their advocacy and commitment to strengthening the Latino community: Make the Road New York Co-Executive Director Javier Valdes, Ecuadorian International Center Executive Director Martha Zambrano, and Spanish Speaking Elderly Council-RAICES Deputy Director Suyapa Blanco-Hernandez.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by Congressman Crowley for the work that Make the Road New York has been doing on behalf our city’s Latino communities,” said Valdes. “As we pause to celebrate the many ways in which our country has been enriched by their contributions, I am proud of Make the Road New York’s commitment to promoting real opportunities for all New Yorkers. In Congressman Crowley we have an ally who understands that our immigrant communities are a vital part of our nation’s makeup and I thank him for his unwavering support.”
With over 15,000 members, Make the Road New York advocates on behalf of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services.
“I am humbled to receive this award on behalf of a small organization that serves our city’s diverse communities with great devotion,” said Zambrano. “At Ecuadorian International Center we strive to help, educate, and inspire immigrant New Yorkers to reach their full potential and I am honored to be given this recognition from Congressman Crowley.”
“I’ve had the privilege of being a Latina service provider for the last 17 years at the Spanish Speaking Elderly Council-RAICES and I know first-hand the tremendous impact Congressman Crowley has had within our Hispanic community,” said Blanco- Hernandez, whose organization first developed as a volunteer advocacy senior citizen council in 1978 by retired Hispanic seniors.
“He is someone who values the hard work and dedication from Latino providers throughout his district and it is an honor to be recognized on the occasion of his Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Assemblymembers Michael DenDekker and Francisco Moya, and Councilmember Daniel Dromm also joined Crowley at the event which drew over 300 guests at La Pequeña Colombia in Jackson Heights.
The observation of Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to designate Hispanic Heritage Week the week of September 15 because it included the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days September 16 and September 18, respectively.
In 1988, the week was expanded to a month-long celebration to honor the cultures and traditions of Americans with heritage tied to Spain and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
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