QC urged to join Hispanic Heritage Month celebration

Janessa Calderon
Janessa Calderon

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year to mark our nation’s diverse culture and heritage. This occasion is celebrated in both the United States as well as other Hispanic  countries and recognizes the important contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM), announced the 2022 Hispanic Heritage Month theme: “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” The theme  invites us to reflect on Hispanic Americans’ service and contributions to the history of our  nation. This celebration is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. 

Hispanics make up a rapidly growing population in the United States. After the last U.S. Census, the U.S. Hispanic population stood at 62.1 million and is projected to be 133 million by 2050. Today in the United States, there are more than 4 million Hispanic-owned businesses with a GDP of over $66 billion; 31.5 million Hispanics in the United States are eligible to vote; and $215 billion of federal, state and local revenues come from our community. 

Data also shows that the Hispanic population in the Quad Cities stands around 11%. These numbers will continue to increase in the coming years as the Hispanic population continues to grow. 

Each year we have seen the Quad Cities community grow in its support. The Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has acted as a catalyst of change in shifting mindsets to become more inclusive.

Allies and supporters should no longer feel Hispanic Heritage Month is one to be observed only if you are of that descent, but now can celebrate alongside us while embracing our culture in a respectful manner. 

The Quad Cities community has been present this month by attending Mercado on Fifth on Friday evenings, the Celebra Floreciente Block Party, Mexican Independence Day Parade and  Fiesta, as well as attending the Hispanic Chamber and Project Now Block Party.

Embracing culture and being engaged in your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practices matter in business and our economy. Creating a safe environment for those who work there directly impacts your GDP and bottom line.

It is crucial to implement DEI in strategic planning, as it needs to be reflected and acted on in various parts of the business such as creating healthy group norms, top-down leadership which must lead by example, and DEI education for all staff. Hispanic Heritage Month is observed for one month a year, but it should be top of mind all year round.

Janessa Calderon is the executive director of the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GQCHCC). Contact her at [email protected].

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