Hispanic Heritage Celebration Highlights Positive Contributions of Hispanic Citizens

DHS celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month Friday October 21 with a special event at the Jesse Harris office building in Springfield. Organizer Jay Hidalgo, a supervisor in the Office of Accessibility and Customer Support, said the fourth annual event was an opportunity for people to learn about the positive influences Hispanic people have had on the community.

More than 180 people attended the event representing countries including El Salvador, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras, Uruguay and Puerto Rico.

The event featured guest speakers from DHS and other state agencies as well as free food and music.

Hidalgo, a native of El Salvador, said many people of Hispanic heritage hold key positions in state government. "We are part of the American panorama and proud American citizens," Hidalgo said.

Nelida Smyser-DeLeon, Director of Hispanic and Latino Affairs for DHS said the state is making progress in hiring more Latino workers.

Hispanic Heritage Celebration at DHS
Jay Hidalgo of the DHS Office of Accessibility and Customer Support and Susana Cruz Vargas of DHS take part in the Hispanic Heritage Celebration in Springfield.
Music Celebrations at DHS Hispanic Heritage Celebration
Mario Lopez (right) of the DHS Budget office and Marcelo Lepeley, originally from Chile but now residing in Decatur, Illinois entertain the crowd at the DHS Hispanic Heritage Celebration.

photos by John Allen