Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: A Recap of SAF/IE's Inspiring Virtual TED Talk Event

  • Published
  • By SAF/IE Strategic Communication Team

Hispanic Heritage Month, running from September 15th to October 15th, provides a platform to celebrate the invaluable contributions of Hispanic and Latino communities and to honor their enrichment of American culture and history. This year, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and Environment (SAF/IE) organized a virtual TED Talk to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and explore their contributions to society. This event brought together people from all walks of life to appreciate the significant place that Hispanic Americans play in our military – testifying to the organization's commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within its office.

The event’s keynote speaker, former Army Secretary Louis Caldera, delivered a powerful and moving address. He shared his journey of growing up as a Mexican American and the challenges his family faced while navigating poverty. 

Caldera's lecture at the SAF/IE event highlighted the strength of the Hispanic American community. He eloquently shared the experiences of his Mexican American family, underscoring the determination, resilience, and unwavering spirit that accompanied them through hardships. "Coming from a family of modest means, I never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become the Secretary of the Army," said Caldera. Caldera's dream included much more than serving as the 17th United States’ Secretary of the Army as he attended the United States Military Academy, served as Director of the White House Military Office, elected to the California State legislature, and was appointed the President of the University Of New Mexico.

"It was an encouragement to hear our senior leaders underscore the incredible value Hispanic Americans bring to the workforce as well as the importance of attracting and retaining team members with families who are shaping the next generation," said Christopher Lopez, Director of Congressional/Public Affairs for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and Environment.

In addition to learning from Louis Caldera's journey, those in attendance had the opportunity to hear personal stories from Mr. Roberto Guerrero, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Operational Energy.

 He shed light on the cultural nuances between Hispanics and Latinos and shared a story of his family's lineage, tracing his roots back to Ecuador.

"SAF/IE's Hispanic Heritage Month event significantly impacted our team. It allowed us to learn about the diverse backgrounds and contributions of Hispanic and Latino individuals, which was truly eye-opening. The positive feedback from people across our organization speaks volumes about its success,” said Lt. Col Daniel R. Romero, Chief Strategic Basing Future Ops Branch. “I eagerly await similar events to highlight other people and backgrounds as they play a vital role in helping us understand and respect one another. This increased understanding makes our team stronger, more unified, and exceptionally innovative."

As we continue to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, let us honor the past and recognize the ongoing contributions of Hispanic and Latino individuals to our nation's defense. Their stories and sacrifices are a powerful reminder of the strength and resilience that define the American spirit.