Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra issued the following statement to mark the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month:
“During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize and celebrate the contributions of more than 62 million Latinos currently living in the United States. Like so many Latinos, my parents came to this country believing in the promise of the American dream—that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can earn the opportunity to get ahead. Throughout my career, I have fought to ensure the American Dream is in reach for everyone, regardless of where they come from.
“During the last two and a half years, COVID-19 has caused unimaginable grief in the Latino community where health care is still out of reach for far too many. But during this time, we’ve also seen the GANAS of the Latino community — guts, grits, game all wrapped up into one. Many Latinos worked frontline jobs on our farms, in our meat packing plants, and in our hospitals and did not have the option to work from home during the pandemic. They worked, risked their health, and ensured this nation was fed and cared for during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
“Today, as Secretary of Health and Human Services, I continue to work to improve the health and well-being of everyone in the United States, including Latinos. Across the Department, we are tackling the pandemic by ensuring that everyone gets access to the new updated vaccines, strengthening mental and behavioral health, including working to reduce mental health stigma in the Latino community, and ensuring that quality affordable health care is accessible to everyone.
“As immigrants, my parents taught me about GANAS. And I believe in the GANAS of the Latino community. Together, we can rise above the challenges we face as a nation.”