Metro Transit celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Pictured: From left Transportation Planner Penny Lara, Diversity and Inclusion Manager Anita Whitfield and Dr. Roberto Dondisch-Glowinski.

During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), we at King County recognize the important presence of Hispanic and LatinX Americans and the contributions they have made to the United States and King County, and celebrate their heritage and culture. National Hispanic Heritage Month begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Dia de la Raza is October 12.

Before Washington was a state, people of Hispanic origin were coming to the region to work on ranches, in mines, and on farms. Today, Mexico is a trading partner and the single biggest importer of Washington apples. People from Mexico and those with Mexican heritage, along with people from other Latin America nations, are part of the fastest growing demographic group in King County. King County residents of Mexican heritage is 9.5%.

Share in our annual tribute by learning about and celebrating the generations of Hispanic and LatinX Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. In honor of this month, the Metro Transit Office of Diversity & Inclusion hosted a special Lunch & Learn featuring the Consul of Mexico in Seattle, Dr. Roberto Dondisch-Glowinski, on Wednesday, September 27 at King Street Center.

Dr. Dondisch is the Head Consul of Mexico in Seattle providing services to over 790,000 Mexican nationals in the state of Washington as well as Alaska and seven counties in Idaho. He was previously Director-General for Global Issues within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he served as the Chief Negotiator for Mexico for the post-2015 Development Agenda and the Paris Climate Change Agreement and focal point for the Mexican participation as elected member of the United Nations Security Council. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations with a Masters in Foreign Service and International Studies and then received his PhD in International Relations (John Hopkins), a Masters of Science in Foreign Service (Georgetown University), and a Bachelors in International Relations (Universidad Iberoamericana). The King County Council presented Dr. Dondisch with a proclamation to celebrate Mexico Week in September.

Dr. Dondisch delivered an informative, inspirational and passionate message to a sizable audience of employees about Climate Change and Social Justice. The employees came from not only Transit but other Sections and Departments. Dr. Dondisch explained the interesting processes of negotiation that led to the Paris Climate Change Agreement. He spoke about the challenges and opportunities of getting nations of the world to reduce their carbon footprint with a goal of significantly slowing the increase in the rise in global temperature and thereby reducing the impacts to our planet. Mexico has its primary focus set on renewable resources and fuels as their way to achieve their goals. There was discussion about the recent earthquake in Mexico City regarding the devastation and relief efforts. Dr. Dondisch’s friendly and engaging style was evident during his question and answer period. Everyone in the room left feeling enriched by the experience.