Hispanic Heritage Month and NASA’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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Across the agency, NASA is proud to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month – the annual observance honoring the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans – running Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

As I noted to our team in our internal message yesterday to honor the kickoff of Hispanic Heritage Month, the theme for this year is Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope. We’re all invited celebrate the countless and enduring impacts Hispanics and Latinos have made at NASA and beyond, as pioneering scientists and engineers driving our innovation and technology, entrepreneurs energizing our economy, advocates leading social and political change, and creatives bringing to life our arts and humanities. I encourage you to participate in the many ceremonies, activities, and programs in your communities offered this month in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. 

 The legacy of NASA’s Hispanic and Latino workforce is exceptional. My former crewmate and good friend, Franklin Chang Diaz, became the first Hispanic astronaut and first astronaut of Costa Rican descent when NASA selected him in 1980.  

 Today, Diana Trujillo at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, serves Technical Group Supervisor for Sequence Planning and Execution and a Tactical Mission Lead for the Mars Perseverance rover. Zaida Hernandez is a Thermal Protection Systems subsystem manager for Orion Launch Abort System and Service Module and a thermal engineer for NASA’s VIPER mission at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. And Javier Ocasio-Perez serves as a Laser Communication Relay Demonstration Mission Integration and Test manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, just to name a few. 

You can find out more about some of our incredible staff by following along with our second season of Hispan@s de la NASA, a series of intimate video portraits and profiles of NASA Hispanic professionals talking about their career paths. All the videos will be in Spanish with English captions.

NASA also is expanding our Spanish-language communications. You can follow us online through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

In recognition of all the Hispanics contributing to NASA and the growth of our nation, thank you for all the critical work you do for NASA, the United States, and the world.  

 Adelante y hacia arriba… Onward and upward!