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County Manager Column from Oct. 6, 2020 - Recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month
Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month across our country. This is a wonderful time and opportunity to recognize and learn more about the important contributions that Hispanic employees and residents of Ramsey County have made to our current and historical community prosperity.
Before I turn the rest of this article over to the Diversity, Inclusion and Organization Development unit of the Ramsey County Human Resources department to share some more information with all of you, I first want to personally thank our Hispanic employees for their dedicated work and leadership. Representation matters as we work to effectively serve everyone across our community, as we ensure residents feel that our organization is accessible and as we ensure that Ramsey County has role models exhibiting diverse leadership across our local government. It is important for me to acknowledge that Ramsey County has historically lacked strong representation of Hispanic employees to mirror our demographics as a community, and that is a dynamic that we must change as we move ahead in our Talent Attraction, Retention and Promotion work.
I encourage you to take some time to learn more about the complexities and historical context of Hispanic Heritage Month, including the origins of the term Hispanic. Here are some places where you could start:
- Take a look at a recent New York Times article.
- Explore one of many community resources and volunteer opportunities listed below.
- The Library of Congress manages a site with information and exhibits across a wide array of mediums that will appeal to people with all interests and learning styles.
- Pew Research compiled some important facts for National Hispanic Heritage Month that are well worth reading.
Additional thoughts from Ramsey County’s Diversity, Inclusion and Organizational Development unit
The recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month beginning in Mid-September is significant because it coincides with a celebration of independence for seven countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile.
The "Hispanic Paradox"
A 2015 Centers for Disease Control report found that Hispanics had better health outcomes than whites for most analyzed health factors - despite facing worse socioeconomic barriers - but they had much higher death rates from diabetes, chronic liver disease/cirrhosis and homicide and a higher prevalence of obesity. This is known as the "Hispanic Paradox." The field of public health, as well as public policy, recommends a deeper analysis to better understand what protective factors are at play in the Hispanic lived experiences. Stay tuned for a follow-up article about this phenomenon in the coming weeks.
Community resources and volunteer opportunities
- Minnesota Department of Latino Affairs - Created to ensure the social and economic well-being of Minnesota's Latino community through public service.
- Casa de Esperanza - The largest Latina organization in the country focused on domestic violence.
- International Institute of Minnesota – Volunteer opportunities as a math tutor, employment coach, refugee mentor and more.
- Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio – Volunteer opportunities as a Latino youth mentor, ESL teacher, tutor and more.
Thank you for taking time to learn more about our community and the important contributions of past and current residents and employees of Ramsey County. It is together we build a place where all will value and thrive!