Hispanic Heritage Month: Serving and leading our nation with pride and honor

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During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) United Water celebrates the heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States.  The observation also serves to recognize the profound and positive influence Hispanics have had on our nation’s history.

The national theme of this year’s celebration is “serving and leading our nation with pride and honor” and hopes to recognize the many Hispanic and Latino Americans that serve our nation in various roles and highlight the significant contributions they have made in all sectors of society. Serving and leading our communities with pride and honor is something United Water employees of all backgrounds do daily.

Eva Martinez, manager of employee and labor relations, is a Puerto Rican American who can trace her roots back to Arawa (specifically Taino), African slaves, and Spanish explorers.

To celebrate her culture, Eva and her family enjoy visiting “El Museo del Barrio” located in East Harlem, New York.  “This museum hosts various collections and exhibits depicting Caribbean and Latin American cultures,” said Martinez.  “Afterwards, my family and I like to eat at one of the local Puerto Rican restaurants in el Barrio (the neighborhood) and indulge in some genuine home-cooking while listening to the salsa music that plays in the background.  It is a fun time with family, friends and community.”

Although United Water compensation analyst Federico (Rico) DeLima’s family originates from Columbia and Ecuador, his roots extend back to Spain, Africa (primarily Egypt) and Italy.

Having lived in a community with various Latino backgrounds, Rico takes time to celebrate his heritage all year long.  “Walking around the neighborhood in Queens, New York, you can feel the rhythms of salsa and merengue music taking control of your body and smell the wonderful aroma of home cooked food served up from your local hole-in-the-wall restaurant,” commented Rico.  “The neighborhood lets you travel across the ocean every day without ever leaving your doorstep and is a place where you can still eat like a king or queen for less than $7 a meal.”

This month long celebration, which dates back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.   The period also incorporates the independence days of Mexico, Chile and Belize as well as Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) on October 12.

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