09/16/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/16/2021 07:22
Hispanic Heritage Week was established as an annual national observance by the U.S. government in 1968, and by 1988, expanded into a month-long celebration that begins on September 15, and ends October 15. During this occasion, we take time to recognize this rich culture and honor the many ways that Hispanic people have made positive impacts to our nation and world.
To learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked CoreCivic employees to discuss what this time means to them, and share their unique perspectives.
'To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to reflect on the achievements and contributions we have made in our communities across the country and looking towards the future,' said Carlos Melendez, managing director of Partnership Development.
Melendez also noted that in the latest Census count, Hispanics accounted for 51.1 percent of the America's growth.
'Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of who I am,' said Aisha Alvarado, facility director at CoreCivic's Dahlia Facility. 'I am proud of my culture and values inherited from my family. This month highlights the contributions, struggles, and resilience that led to the achievements Hispanics have made throughout history. I take pride in being able to pass down my family traditions and beliefs to my daughters so they can embrace their backgrounds, be proud of who they are, and never forget where they came from.'
'Hispanic Heritage Month for me and my family means not only celebrating our culture as Hispanics, but also how our culture has evolved and grown to become the largest minority in our country,' said Hector Melchor, facility director at CoreCivic's El Paso Transitional Center. 'In addition, it is a celebration of the successes that we as Hispanics and Latinos have accomplished in the United States.'
'To my family and me, Hispanic Heritage Month means recognition of the diverse cultures within the Hispanic community that have contributed to the growth and diversity of our nation - everything from culinary arts, to military service, small business and more,' said Luis Rosa Jr., warden at CoreCivic's Nevada Southern Detention Center. 'That recognition helps us become role models that our young ones can look up to and can be encouraged by, and demonstrates that there is nothing out of their reach if they put in the time, effort, and hard work.'
To help celebrate many of the cultures within the Hispanic community, we also asked these employees to share their family origins.
'My parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico,' Melendez said. 'They came to the U.S. in their late teens, but as children, every Christmas and summer, my two brothers and I were in Puerto Rico. As boys growing up in the Bronx, Puerto Rico extended its beauty of beaches and mountains. My grandparents operated a farm where we raised various animals and various crops, a vastly different reality from the Bronx neighborhood.'
'My ancestry is made up of different regions in Mexico and Central America,' Alvarado said. 'My great-grandmother immigrated to the United States from Chihuahua, Mexico.'
'My family originates from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,' Rosa Jr. said. 'My mother is from Ponce (City of Lions), Puerto Rico, and my father is from Peñuelas (City of the Flamboyant Tree, also known as Royal Poinciana Tree). I was born and raised until my early teens in Brooklyn, New York, and then we relocated to Ponce, Puerto Rico, where I married and raised three sons and a daughter. I was on the island for 28 years and started my career with CoreCivic at the Ponce Adults Correctional Facility.'
'Both of my parents are immigrants from Mexico,' Melchor said. 'My father is from Durango, Mexico, and my mother is from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.'
To recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, many CoreCivic facilities will be taking time to celebrate Hispanic culture in various ways, such as incorporating Hispanic food, films, educational opportunities, and a celebration of Mexican Independence Day on September 16. All observances will be done safely and in accordance with local COVID-19 protocols.
'My staff and I have been dedicating time over the past three months to recognize one another's ethnicities and cultures through sharing family traditions and food,' Alvarado said. 'We feel it's important to understand that there are so many ethnicities that make each individual unique.'
CoreCivic is proud to be a diverse and inclusive workplace, where people of all cultures and walks of life can feel welcome and at home.
'I am a very proud Mexican American who is a proud son of two Mexican immigrant parents, who came to this country in search of a better life,' Melchor said. 'Both of my parents worked hard as school custodians to put their three children through school and thanks to their efforts, my brother and I are both directors and my sister is a teacher. Honoring our parents for their hard work and sacrifice so we can better ourselves in life is, in my vision, a true celebration of Orgullo Hispano.'