Last week, U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., brought out a resolution marking September 22 as National Hispanic Nurses Day.
Shalala rounded up 17 cosponsors including fellow Democrat U.S. Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García of Illinois and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Darren Soto of Florida to back the resolution.
“The designation of a specific day to honor Hispanic nurses will help raise awareness of their accomplishments and the important work they carry out in our communities,” Shalala’s office noted.
“For years now, Hispanics have been the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States,” said Shalala. “As our country grows more diverse, bilingual and bicultural Hispanic nurses are more important than ever because their language and cultural skills help improve health-related outcomes. Nurses are the cornerstone of America’s healthcare system, and I am proud to honor the thousands of hardworking Hispanic nurses who are serving their communities and saving lives every day.”
“This year, nurses have been under unprecedented pressure, risking their lives and many times, their families’ lives to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have done so with compassion and tenacity, undergoing sleepless nights and facing devastating loss of patients, colleagues, and peers,” said García. “Even before the present health emergency, Hispanic nurses have played a key role in educating and helping change health outcomes in Latino communities. I also want to recognize the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, for being strong allies to Congress as they help inform, educate, and work closely with legislators to improve the education, recruitment, and retention of all nurses and, more importantly, the health and safety of our communities. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this resolution with my colleague Rep. Shalala to make September 22nd Hispanic Nurses Day.”
“Through sleepless nights and exhausting shifts, Hispanic nurses are demonstrating every day how they’re American heroes. Never before had our health care professionals confronted a challenge as daunting as this global pandemic — that’s particularly true for Hispanic nurses,” said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “Latinos have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19, which means people from our communities are disproportionately in need of life-saving care. Imagine the immense stress of seeing your neighbors dying at higher rates, and being responsible to care for their lives. This resolution not only recognizes the sacrifice and selflessness of Hispanic nurses, but also recommits this Congress to fully supporting these essential workers moving forward.”
The resolution was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Shalala was elected to Congress in 2018 after decades on the public stage including serving as U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Bill Clinton and leading three higher ed institutions including the University of Miami. She faces Republican Maria Elvira Salazar, a TV journalist, in a rematch from their 2018 contest which Shalala won 52 percent to 46 percent.
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