Washington National Cathedral welcomes Hispanic Heritage Month, a time of recognition and celebration for those in our community whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. We are reminded of the contributions of Hispanic Americans who have worked to bring God’s kingdom closer to us on Earth.

We celebrate César Chávez and Dolores Huerta, whose activism on behalf of field workers reminded us that those who help bring food to our tables deserve dignity and fair pay.

We honor Sylvia Rivera, who called for the protection of gay, lesbian and transgender people and worked to ensure safety for young queer people who had been rejected by their families.

We recognize the determination of Gonzalo Mendez and his daughter, Sylvia, who fought discrimination against Spanish-speaking children in our nation’s public schools.

Our country is enriched by the music of Selena, Joan Baez, and Gloria Estefan. We are inspirated by leaders like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, astronaut Dr. Ellen Ochoa and the late news anchor Gwen Ifill.

“The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart,” the noted musician Carlos Santana once said. “The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”

Our reflections and conversations throughout this month should seek to open our minds and hearts to the beautiful cultures of Hispanic peoples and aid us in learning from their history to become instruments of peace.

¡Que Dios les bendiga!

The Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr.
Canon Missioner and Minister of Equity and Inclusion