Watch: Honoring Latino veterans' service & sacrifice
On Wednesday, November 10th, Axios justice and race reporter Russell Contreras discussed ways to commemorate the contributions of fallen heroes and the importance of public policy that supports Latino veterans in civilian life after they have served, featuring Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Hispanic Veterans Leadership Alliance board member Col. Lisa Carrington Firmin.
Rep. Ruben Gallego recalled his experiences serving in the military and discussed the government’s role in protecting and honoring those who have served in the armed forces.
- On the need for military representation in Congressional leadership: “The less people you have in the military that serve in Congress, the less people you have to keep the Department of Defense in check. At times, I’ve seen members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, be way too deferential to the Department of Defense, to generals, not calling into question things that really should be called into question. They should be part of our oversight.”
- On changing military base names to honor Latino heroes: “The military is growing more and more diverse...especially when it comes to Latinos in the military. We need to have some type of base that’s named after Latino heroes, so that way they have someone to look up to…”
Col. Lisa Carrington Firmin illustrated her experiences as a Latina woman in the Air Force, why reforming the military environment is a meaningful goal, and how her father inspired her career in military service.
- On the personal impact of a conversation she had with a fellow young Latina enlistee: “I realized that I was a role model and that not only were people watching me to see if I succeeded or not, but the people watching me, and I guess even silently rooting for me to do well, those were my fellow hermanas, and Latinos in the service. She made a real difference to me in how I carried myself.”
- On the significance of having more high-ranking Latino officers in the military: “I never worked for a woman until I had been in the service 18 years at the Pentagon, and I had never, ever worked for a Latino or Hispanic officer. I think that's important, because the people coming up in the ranks need to see themselves in the leadership, I never saw that. It is really hard to be what you cannot see.”
Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.