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September 13, 2017 blog

September 15 to October 15 is Latino & Hispanic Heritage Month

The rich heritage, culture and the contributions made by Latinos and Hispanics in the United States are recognized and celebrated during Latino & Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) locally and nationally.

This celebration started in September, 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson was authorized by Congress to proclaim national Hispanic Heritage Week, and directed that this week included September 15 and 16 to celebrate the anniversaries of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico. In 1988 the National Hispanic Heritage Month was established.

Latinos and Hispanics are classified as individuals living in the U.S. whose ancestors derive from the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, South America and Spain.

Latinos are the largest ethnic minority population in Iowa and the U. S. The Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs has established the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame to celebrate Latino heritage, honor Iowa's Latinos that have made outstanding and significant cultural, political, social, and economic contributions to Iowa and to pay tribute to their dedication and setting them forth as role models for other Latino Iowans, ensuring that their legacy is not forgotten. .

The First Annual Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Ceremony and Reception will take place Saturday, October 7, 2017 at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust in Des Moines  from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (The reception is sponsored by Community 1st Credit Union)

Help us celebrate Latino & Hispanic Heritage Month by attending the different parades, street parties, and festivals across Iowa.

Written by Sonia Reyes-Snyder, Office of Latino Affairs

Meet our 2017 Spring & Summer Interns!

Taylor Nicole Bradley, Office of Latino Affairs Intern

Taylor Bradley

Taylor is from Ames, Iowa and is studying Law at the University of Iowa College of Law.

In her own words:

I chose to intern at the Office of Latino Affairs, Department of Human Rights because I'm passionate about human rights. As a current law student, I wanted to get an understanding of what the Department of Human Rights and similar departments do. I am also interested in immigration law, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn about the Latino community.

I learned a lot about the immigration process. I also learned about the Latino community in Iowa, including that Latinos make up over 5% of Iowa's population and in many places a much higher percentage. Further, I learned some of the unique challenges the Latino community faces. In particular, I learned about Notario Fraud, wherein someone fraudulently convinces another they are qualified to practice law when they are not. 

Going forward, I will use my experience to help me understand what challenges departments like the Department of Human Rights face and what work they do. I will also use my experience to help me relate to the Latino community at large, a group I may work with some day. Regardless of where I end up, I will apply everything I learned here to my future practice in law.

Rubi Cordova, Writing Intern for the Department of Human Rights

Rubi Cordova

Rubi is from Des Moines, Iowa and is an English Major at Drake University. 

In her own words:

I was a writing intern for the Iowa Department of Human Rights. I helped with the heritage month newsletters. it was fun  to learn about Iowan history, Asian and Pacific Islander history, and the history of immigrants here in Iowa. I learned a lot about the different resources that exists for different marginalized groups here in our community.

My experience at the Department of Human Rights has showed me how important it is for the community to be aware of the resources that exist. So going forward,  I hope to lean more about events and organizations in my own community so that I can become a more engaged citizen.

Hassatu Diallo, Office on the Status of African Americans Intern

Hassatu Diallo

Hassatu Diallo is originally from Liberia, and currently lives in Des Moines. She is a Pre-Nursing Student at Des Moines Area Community College. 

In her own words: 

I was able to work with Mrs. Kim through Oakridge Youth Employment Program for the summer.

I was made to understand that just because it's Department of Human Rights there are different branches that connect  with that and not everyone works with only the Iowa Department of Human Rights.

Elizabeth Dowart, Communications intern for the Department of Human Rights

Liz Dorwart

Elizabeth is from Jacksonville, Florida and is studying Editing, Writing, Media/Political Science at Florida State University. 

In her own words:

I wanted to intern at the Iowa Department of Human Rights because I wanted to learn more about how the government works directly with the community. Working closely with the public on social issues is something that I have always been interested in and the Iowa Department of Human Rights is the perfect opportunity to learn more about what problems face different communities.

As the communications intern, I was able to combine my two interests: writing and public works. I learned more about writing for different demographics and researching new topics in order to cover them in newsletters.

Working at DHR has helped me to learn more about social issues, the inner workings of  government, and honing my writing skills. The skills that I’ve learned here go beyond resume builders, but transcend over to social ques as well. Working in an office environment was a new experience and will certainly help me in the future no matter where I end up.

Liz Nimmo, Office on the Status of Women Intern

Liz Nimmo

Liz is from Forest Lake, MN and is studying Applied Philosophy at Simpson College.

In her own words:

I'm passionate about human rights issues, so the Iowa Department of Human Rights was a natural fit. I'm interested in a career in advocacy work, and saw the Department of Human Rights internship as a great way to get my start in that field. 

Through the work I've done, I've learned a lot about the history of women in Iowa. Growing up, I never learned about that history, which made me realize just how important the Department of Human Rights' work is.

I hope to apply the skills I've learned to my future career in advocacy. This internship has prepared me for future experiences in advocacy work, and I'm extremely grateful to have had this opportunity.