Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of Latino and Hispanic communities in September. In celebration of this month, Office of Public Affairs headquarters interviewed a few of our colleagues about the significance that Hispanic Heritage Month holds for them. Here, we spotlight ICE's Gustavo Pena.
Please specify where you are from. How would you describe the culture there?
I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is also known as Enchantment Island because of the beautiful sceneries and the rich culture. Our people are very warm, happy and friendly, especially in hard times when we come together and help each other. Our people are also resilient, hardworking and very talented.
How do you incorporate elements of your culture and/or values into the DHS workforce?
I incorporate my culture in DHS by being always available to help, getting along and always trying to show how happy I am to be Hispanic/ Latino.
Who have been your strongest influences in life?
My strongest inspirations in life are my mother, a true warrior who raised 4 boys and always taught us to never give up and to love one another. Also, my family, who have been there through thick and thin supporting my career and sacrificing their time in order for me to accomplish my duties at DHS.
What are you most proud of accomplishing from either a personal or professional aspect?
My proudest accomplishment in my professional life has to be joining the Peer Support Program and being to help my peers in their times of need. Personally, being able to transfer back home to PR after 6 years in the service and being able to be with family after many years only seeing them for days at a time.
Why is Hispanic Heritage Month significant? Why is it important for your DHS colleagues to acknowledge and celebrate this month with you?
Hispanic Heritage Month is important because it cements the commitment DHS has with diversity. It is also an opportunity for me to share with my colleagues a different aspect of life, culture, and beliefs.
Is there anything you'd like to share pertaining to your heritage (or anything else) that I didn't ask?
People from PR are very proud to be Boricua, it runs in our blood and comes to show when such a small island has exported so much talent in music, sports, and entertainment as a whole.