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Hispanic Heritage Month:Raul Soto

2011 September 23

By Raul Soto

Looking back at the last eighteen months since my appointment at EPA, I am struck by the incredible passion I have been exposed to during my interactions with both region and program offices alike. During this Hispanic Heritage month, I can honestly say that I have been privileged to work alongside individuals that wear the agency on their sleeves and open their hearts to the needs of the American public. Interfacing with dedicated professionals throughout the agency has solidified my appreciation for the deep resolve I see manifested when I gaze upon individuals seeking to assist communities in need.

When I consider the theme of Jobs & the Economy, I consider a personal hero – my dad. Here is a man that I can honestly say never groused about getting up and going to work. He loved his job and it showed. It might never have paid much, but it was enough to raise a family of six and allow for some discretionary spending like a bike or a football to while the time away on hot Saturday afternoons growing up in South Texas. His oft-quoted phrase to us was: “Your work ethic is a reflection of your personal character”. “Mijo”, he would tell me, “Con ganas, todo es possible”. With effort, anything is possible.
In the 1990’s, Hispanics were heavily reliant on employment as a main component to personal income. Close to 70% of adult Hispanics were in the labor force by necessity. In recent years, with the great recession in full swing, many Hispanics/Latinos struggle to maintain and preserve their households. Still, they remain resilient.

Education continues to be a major contributor to economic fortunes for Latinos. Its positive effects were in evidence during a summer EPA-sponsored interns networking event. During the course of the morning I came across a young man and woman from Texas A&M- Kingsville. The young man declared he was going to take his younger brother under his wing and educate him about the mission he had been a part of. The young lady was so thoroughly committed to the role of Latinos in environmental justice, she is considering the possibility of a graduate degree. Their unbridled enthusiasm and appreciative demeanor so motivated me, that I feel rejuvenated and resolved to keep mentoring those who strive to be good role models and stewards of our environment. Con ganas, si se puede!

About the author: Raul Soto is the Associated Assistant Administrator for Office of Diversity, Outreach and Collaboration

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    September 23, 2011

    Americans…? : Who Are They ?

    I haven’t gone abroad and my passport was empty. But if the people ask me where am I choose the country first, my answer is U.S.! Why? This country has a unique history. I believe The God had chosen this country and its people to lead the world by work hard to clean up the earth : clean governments, clean religions, and clean environmental. Bow your head, analyze the all main conflicts and ask the question : What next…?

  2. what is haloxyl permalink
    September 26, 2011

    I saw something different relating to this on another blog. Youve obviously spent a little while on this. Done well!

  3. EPA employee permalink
    September 26, 2011

    Raul, Thank you for your committment to supporting our workforce and the American people whom we serve and represent! As the president said during the signing of the AAPI executive order in October 2009, “when any of our citizens are unable to fulfill their potential due to factors that have nothing to do with their talent, character, or work ethic, then I believe there’s a role for our government to play.” I thank you for your role and your leadership!

  4. EPA EMPLOYEE permalink
    September 18, 2012

    While education is the most important element in achieving higher goals in life, it is not a guarantee for success. All Hispanics are proud of their heritage regardless if the country of origin.More crucial is the fact we are all Americans first. The United States continues to be a country of unique opportunities, and freedoms found nowhere else in the world. However, we have a long ways to go and a lot of obstacles to overcome. As I look at EPA and the Office’s of Civil Rights and Diversity, I wonder what it is these two offices are doing to “Truly” promote diversity and opportunity for all. We still lack representation at the senior grades and SES levels within the agency for minorities. This has not improved in the last five years. While we have Hispanics in these critical offices, I don’t see them engaged in developing programs to ensure talented minorities get to those levels. The SES work force is aging and the agencies SES development program is idle. We must never give up seeking greatness and positions of leadership to make an impact in our agency, our government and provide the people the service they deserve.

    Words, need action. Leaders think and make things happen, while managers are always spinning the wheel.

  5. viral fb formula permalink
    June 3, 2014

    I saw something different relating to this on another blog. Youve obviously spent a little while on this. Done well!

    thank you

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