The 16th Sustainment Brigade held an observance in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month at the Wagon Wheel Theater, Sept. 28.
Hispanic Heritage Month takes place every year, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, and has been observed since President Ronald Reagan enacted it into law in 1988. It is a time when the nation spotlights the achievements and contributions of people of Hispanic and Latin descent.
“Hispanic Heritage Month brings awareness to the cultures and histories of Spanish speaking countries and celebrates their independence by honoring the achievements of these countries and their people,” said Sgt. 1st Class Aloysia Johnson, Equal Opportunity Advisor of the 16th Sustainment Brigade.
Johnson worked as the coordinator of the observance, overseeing everything from setup to tear down, refreshments, décor, and awards. With assistance and performances from Knights Brigade Soldiers, the observance showcased different aspects of Hispanic cultures and history.
Command Sgt. Maj. Carla Hill, senior enlisted advisor for the 39th Transportation Battalion and native of Maricao, Puerto Rico, served as the guest speaker during the observance.
“She was chosen [to speak] because of the example she sets for others,” Johnson said. “She displays professionalism, wisdom, and knowledge and brings awareness to others about the Hispanic culture and experience as a Hispanic female Soldier in today’s Army.”
Hill spoke about the culture differences she discovered after joining the military and how being of Latin descent molded the person and Soldier she is today. She also mentioned the diversity within the Latin American world.
“Hispanics represent centuries of diverse history, cultures, and traditions of more than 20 nations,” Hill said. “To say you are of Hispanic descent is the equivalent of a melting pot. When America was discovered Europeans, Africans, Asians, and Indigenous populations blended together into multiple cultures resulting into what we refer as Latin or Hispanic.”
Six Soldiers from the 569th Human Resources Company performed a dance routine during the event. The dancers showcased different styles of traditional Latin dances from bachata to salsa. After the dance performance the audience was serenaded with traditional Mexican mariachi music. Later in the observance, Knights Brigade Soldiers of Hispanic descent were recognized with awards for their hard work and contributions to the brigade.
The theater was decorated with displays of Hispanic Americans who have contributed to many fields from athletics, to entertainment, to science. The observance was both a celebration and an educational event.
Hill urged all Soldiers in the audience to embrace all cultures and not let differences in ethnicities or traditions get in the way of unity.
“Let us take pride in this unique and vibrant culture and its history, and recommit ourselves to leading the way in diversity by valuing all the distinctive talents, backgrounds and experiences each of our Soldiers and Civilians bring to the United States Army,” Hill said.