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By Karen Caraballo, Funding Specialist, Peoria, IL

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15 to honor the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans and celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries. The National Park Service and government partners work to share the history, heritage, and accomplishments of Hispanic and Latino Americans of past and present. Throughout the month, NSM will post personal stories from employees sharing what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them. 

Today’s employee contribution is from NSM Peoria, IL Funding Specialist, Karen Caraballo:

My full name is Karen Clariza Caraballo Martinez born in the state of Florida decedent of Puerto Rican Parents/Family. Was raised and lived many years on my beautiful Island, Puerto Rico. As a young adult who moved to the US, not knowing to fluently speak English. I worked very hard to get where I stand right now. Many humiliations, but with each one, I also conquered many accomplishments. The language barrier was and is the worst, we, Hispanics get to encounter. The language barrier allowed others to take advantage of situations for their own benefit. Making it harder for my persona to climb the ladder of success. All due to lack of accessibility, understanding and compassion. We can make a difference for sure! Everyone should know and understand we live in a diverse country; to promote equality, accessibility and inclusion. It doesn’t matter if I can’t see, hear, speak (speak your language), walk, write properly, etc. We, the people, should all be treated with grace and compassion. 

I am proud of my ethnic background; My Hispanic Heritage. Our resilience and love for others it goes unmeasured. Big Pride not only this month but we carry it within our hearts. Hispanic Heritage Month Means HOPE for all of us!

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