SAN MATEO, CA - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) released the following statement on Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15- October 15:

“I’m proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with you and to recognize the rich and diverse contributions Latinos have made to our country and our communities in the Bay Area. 

“With Hispanics now making up 17 % of the population in the U.S and almost 40% in California, it is not surprising that we find the Latino community firmly woven into the fabric of our American tapestry. National Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez, actresses from Rita Moreno to Eva Longoria, comedian George Lopez, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, anchor Jorge Ramos, talk show host Cristina Maria Saralegu and author Isabel Allende are household names and among the most recognizable faces in our country.

“In my district, Latinos are integral to the success of our local economy. Recently I visited the factory of Casa Sanchez in Millbrae. This family-owned business has been making natural, healthy, authentic foods since 1924. It is one of the top ten grossing businesses in San Francisco.

“In East Palo Alto, current council member Laura Martinez was the first Latina to serve as Mayor. First elected at age 23, she was also one of the youngest Mayors in the country. 

“This has been a historic year for DREAMers, young immigrants who are now protected from deportation because of President Obama’s bold administrative action. These hard-working young people now have a shot at the American Dream. I am hopeful that Congress will finally complete comprehensive immigration reform that reflects the vision of our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence - to afford everyone the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“September 15, the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, is the Independence Day of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its Independence Day on September 16th and Chile on September 18th.

“During this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, let us celebrate the Latino Community by remembering that America is a country of immigrants, a heritage that makes us rich.”