Biden to participate in Hispanic Heritage Month flagship event
President Biden is due to attend the key event celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in Washington.
Hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the annual awards gala hosts a who’s who of Latinos in politics, culture and advocacy.
Biden’s attendance at the 45th annual gala is the first by a president since former President Obama delivered a speech at the 39th in 2016.
“This is an example of the commitment of our country’s most senior leaders to our community and the desire to engage directly with us – to talk to us, to hear from us, to learn more about our needs and our desires,” said Marco Davis, CEO of CHCI.
From 1979 to 2016, every sitting president has been invited to speak at the gala, and only former President George HW Bush was unable to attend while in office.
But in 2017, CHCI broke with tradition and did not invite former President Trump after pardoning Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and announcing a plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
CHCI’s primary function is to train young Hispanics who wish to work in government, and its intern classes typically include a number of DACA recipients.
“The president was not invited this year because of his slanderous comments and actions that were highly offensive to the Latino community in the United States,” CHCI president’s representative Joaquin Castro (D) said at the time. -Texas).
Trump also did not attend or speak at subsequent galas, and the coronavirus pandemic forced CHCI to hold the event online in 2020 and 2021.
Biden has twice participated as a keynote speaker in the virtual editions, sending video messages as the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee and as the 2021 gala chair.
“When we were virtual, it was definitely a very different experience. I will say the president sent a video message that we were able to play when we were virtual last fall, so technically he participated…but him being [there] in person is a very different thing,” Davis said.
The return of the gala is a boon for Hispanics in Beltway, who sometimes call the event “Latino Prom” or “Brown Prom,” in reference to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner’s tongue-in-cheek nickname of “Nerd Prom.”
Although CHCI and its parent institution, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, are nonpartisan, both groups are more closely associated with Democrats.
Still, the CHCI gala has historically brought together Democratic, Republican, and unaffiliated Hispanics with an interest in political leadership.
The 2022 event will posthumously honor Celia Cruz, the celebrated Cuban-American singer, with the 2022 Medallion of Excellence Award. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra will receive the 2022 American Dream Medallion Award.
Retired Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Albio Sires (DN.J.), Associate Justice of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Kenia Seoane López, and CHCI alumnus Marvin Figueroa, will also receive awards . who heads the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, Mexico’s Independence Day, and ends on October 15.