RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Ralph Northam is encouraging all Virginians to celebrate Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, which is observed between September 15 and October 15 each year.
The governor made the following statement Thursday after proclaiming Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month in the Commonwealth:
As Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month begins, Pam and I invite Virginians across the Commonwealth to join us in celebrating the tremendous contributions that Hispanic and Latino men and women have made throughout our Commonwealth and our country.
For generations, Hispanic and Latino Americans have shaped our Commonwealth and their stories are woven into the fabric of our communities. We must recognize that Hispanic and Latino history is Virginia history. And with nearly 800,000 Virginians of Hispanic and Latino descent who proudly call the Commonwealth home, our communities are richer and more vibrant thanks to their culture and traditions.
Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month recognizes integral role of the Hispanic and Latino men and women in business and education, in our military, in our government, and in the fight against COVID-19. It is in part because of these contributions that our Hispanic and Latino communities have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic. As we battle this virus and work together to move our Commonwealth forward, we must also renew our commitment to confronting generational health inequities and remain focused on ensuring that Hispanic and Latino Virginians are counted in the 2020 Census.
America is a nation of immigrants, and our communities are strengthened by hard-working individuals striving to create a better life for themselves and their children—this is the spirit that makes Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family. As we celebrate the strength of our diversity, let us also unite in our efforts to build a more equitable, more welcoming, and more inclusive Commonwealth.
During the 2020 legislative session, Northam's office says he signed legislation that extends eligibility for in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants and makes obtaining valid identification accessible to all Virginia residents, regardless of their immigration status.
The Northam administration mentioned that it has also worked diligently to increase outreach and provide COVID-19 resources to Virginia’s communities of color, including distributing personal protective equipment, sharing culturally-competent translated guidance documents, hiring multi-lingual contact tracers, expanding no-cost testing opportunities, and hosting engagement calls and webinars. Virginia was one of the first states in the nation to form a health equity task force and brought in experts to lead outreach for the Latino community.
Northam also shared a video message with Virginians during Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, which you can see here.