ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz, Mexican-born entrepreneur and the Make it Happen director at JJR Marketing, spoke about the value of American diversity as a part of Rock Island Arsenal's Hispanic American Heritage Observance in the island's Golf Clubhouse, Oct. 7.
Camacho-Ruiz said she thinks it is very important to be open to cultural diversity.
"I think there are opportunities for collaboration and possibilities for growth when you open up your heart and your mind to embrace other people and other cultures," she said. "Diversity to me means being open to the beauty of other cultures, what they can offer and how they can enhance your life."
Camacho-Ruiz moved to America from Mexico when she was 14, she learned English in only a year, and also knows German.
"For me, learning languages helps because when I learn a language I learn the culture behind it -- why they say the word in a certain way and what they believe in," she said. "I think it opens up the door to so much beauty and possibility; I would not see life the same way I do without embracing diversity from other cultures."
The observance was held to recognize National Hispanic American Heritage Month, which was established in 1988 and officially runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The theme of the event was "Energizing our Nation's Diversity."
James Spencer, chief of the Wellness Division, G-1 (Human Resources), U.S. Army Sustainment Command, said the event was successful in forwarding the social well-being of the RIA community and the Army.
"We are tremendously proud of the Hispanic influence across the Army," he said. "Especially how today, the Hispanic community has educated and heightened cultural awareness across the workforce, with the ultimate goal of eliminating barriers and helping our country achieve its fullest potential."
As a part of RIA's community outreach effort, the Glenview Middle School Mariachi Band participated in the event where they played three songs and received a standing ovation from about 140 attendees.
Maj. Gen. Kevin O'Connell, commanding general, ASC and Lt. Gen. Michael Tucker, commanding general, First U.S. Army, presented the mariachi band members with certificates of appreciation.
The Rock Island Arsenal First U.S. Army Equal Opportunity office and the ASC EO hosted the event.
Hispanic food was also available for attendees to sample.