Representation matters

We are in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month, where we recognize and celebrate the incredible contributions of the Hispanic culture and community to our nation.  In Pierce County, two people who exemplify those contributions are Councilmember (CM) Paul Herrera and Deputy Ernest Cedillo. I’m thankful for both their service and leadership at Pierce County, and for inspiring young people – especially Latino kids – to aim for a career in public service.

They got together recently to talk about their shared Mexican heritage and what it means to them, both personally and on the job. Take a look:

As he mentioned in the video, CM Herrera is the first Hispanic member of the Council.  He is also the only veteran among the seven councilmembers. In fact, his whole life has been about serving others. From his time in the Army to his service in the Puyallup Tribal Police Department and his current position as the Commander of the Washington State Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), CM Herrera is a leader. His many perspectives and life experiences will be important for the Council and their work for our community.  And I have a special interest in Paul’s work, as he represents the 2nd Council District where I live!

During the worst of the pandemic, you might remember that the Sheriff’s deputies aired a series of videos called Storytime with the Sheriff. Each night, one of the deputies would read their favorite bedtime story to reassure children during a very scary time. The videos were amazing but one of them really stands out: Deputy Cedillo and Deputy Carla Marquez reading Huevos Verdes con Jamon (Green Eggs and Ham)! What a beautiful way to connect with and support young Hispanic children. You can imagine the impact that hearing the story read in Spanish has on youngsters who may not always see their culture and language included. ¡Bien hecho!

I can’t watch them read this story and not be deeply appreciative of our deputies and other County colleagues who are bilingual.  As we deliver critical services to our residents, being able to communicate effectively is crucial – and in many cases that could be in their native tongue.  That video was read by two brand new deputies two years ago, but I have seen their contributions and professionalism since then.  Our entire community is safer and better for their service!

Hispanic Heritage Month reminds us to take a moment to celebrate and honor the many contributions made by Latino and Hispanic members of our community – and we are all stronger and more vibrant for it!

Thanks for reading and Go M’s!