Congressman Crowley Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

October 5, 2011
Press Release

(Bronx, N.Y.) – On Thursday, September 29, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month by paying tribute to the extraordinary contributions made by Latinos across his district and all of New York. During the event, Rep. Crowley honored special guest Queens Civil Court Judge Carmen Velasquez for her dedication to public service and leadership in the community. The first Ecuadorian-American to become a judge in the United States, Judge Velasquez was elected to the Civil Court bench in 2008. Judge Velasquez was recently elected as Co-Chair of the Judicial Council of the Hispanic National Bar Association. 

“An accomplished attorney and judge, Carmen Velasquez truly represents the American dream and I am proud to honor her many contributions to our community,” said Rep. Crowley.

"It has not been easy for me but I am grateful for the opportunity to attend school and get an education, and the opportunity to help others through my extensive pro bono work when I was a lawyer and now to preside in Court with dignity and respect,” said Judge Velasquez. “I am truly grateful to be living the American dream. God Bless America."

Congressman José Serrano (D-Bronx), Council Member James Vacca, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Assemblyman Peter Rivera, and local community leaders also joined Rep. Crowley in his annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the political, economic, social and cultural influences of Latinos on our great nation and nowhere is this influence more evident than here in New York,” said Rep. Crowley. “It is always such a pleasure to join the community in paying tribute to the many contributions of Latinos in our community – past, present, and future.”

About National Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, Americans celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 through October 15 to celebrate the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic Americans. The observation began in 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to designate Hispanic Heritage Week the week of September 15 to commemorate the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days September 16 and September 18, respectively.

In 1988, the week was expanded to a month-long celebration to honor the cultures and traditions of Americans with heritage tied to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Congressman Crowley is a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is a chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives.