President Obama and the Hispanic Community

Honoring Hispanic Heritage

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden host a Hispanic Heritage Month Reception

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden host a Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., September 29, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Last week, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a reception at the Naval Observatory to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and recognize the outstanding contributions of Hispanic Americans across the military, government and private sector.  As Social Secretary to the Vice President and Dr. Biden, I was pleased to open up the doors of the Vice President’s residence for this special occasion – the third Hispanic Heritage reception they have hosted at their home.

The Vice President spoke before a crowd that included veterans and active duty service members, as well as Hispanic business leaders from around the nation. Noting the particular influence of Hispanic immigrants on American society, Vice President Biden said, “we have never once in our history not been stronger and richer and more vibrant as a consequence of the waves of immigration. … it is the thing that enriches us.”

The reception also recognized the continuing sacrifice and dedication of Hispanic American service members, with veterans from the Vietnam War to the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in attendance.

“Latinos have fought bravely in every war the United States has engaged in since the Revolutionary War.  And there are more than 29,000 Hispanics and Latinos right now serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, risking their lives for us right now – 1.3 million serving in the Armed Forces of the United States of America,” said Vice President Biden. “Their pride is absolutely unmistakable. Their heroism is not only worthy of our notice, but worthy of our admiration.”

Vice President Biden concluded his remarks by noting that this is a particularly consequential time for the Hispanic community.  “The single most consequential, influential movement happening in America today is Hispanic Americans,” said the Vice President. “It is in the process of beginning to transform the country.”

Carlos Elizondo is Social Secretary to the Vice President and Dr. Biden.

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