Proclamation: National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2000 (9/14/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                         September 14, 2000


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                                 A PROCLAMATION

     American society today embraces a remarkable breadth of cultures, and
Hispanics are an integral part of this diversity.  The Hispanic American
community is a collage of distinct groups, including people with roots in
Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Spain.  Hispanics
have been an important part of the history and heritage of the Americas
since the earliest days of European colonization, and today Hispanic
Americans are the youngest and fastest-growing minority community in our
Nation.  Devoted to family, faith, country, and hard work, they bring
unique perspectives and experiences to our national community and

     The vibrant Hispanic influence can be seen in all aspects of American
life and culture, from distinctive cuisine to colorful festivals, and from
the rhythms and melodies of traditional music to the contagious beat of
today's most popular songs.  Throughout our Nation, Hispanic men and women
have distinguished themselves in every endeavor and, with our cultural and
linguistic ties to our trading partners throughout the Western Hemisphere,
Hispanic Americans are crucial to maintaining our Nation's competitiveness
and prosperity in the global economy of the 21st century.

     Not long ago I had the privilege of awarding the Presidential Medal of
Freedom, our Nation's highest civilian honor, to Cruz Reynoso, a man who
has devoted his life to promoting civil rights and championing equal
opportunity for all our people.  A son of Mexican immigrants, he has lived
the American Dream, going to college and working his way up to become the
first Hispanic American to serve on the California Supreme Court.  A force
for positive social change in our Nation, he is
just one of many talented Hispanic Americans enriching our national life.

     Cruz Reynoso's success underscores what we already know:  education
and equal opportunity are the keys to ensuring that people of Hispanic
heritage can take full advantage of America's promise.  My Administration
has focused on improving educational opportunities for Hispanic children
through the Hispanic Educa-tion Action Plan, as well as by reducing class
sizes across our Nation, greatly expanding the Head Start program, working
to turn around failing schools, and making college more affordable through
tax incentives and scholarships.  By expanding the Earned Income Tax
Credit, raising the minimum wage, and moving people from welfare to work,
my Administration has also helped expand economic opportunity for Hispanic
American working families.  We have brought the Hispanic unemployment rate
to its lowest level on record and the Hispanic poverty rate to a 20-year
low.  We have also worked hard to create an Administration that truly
reflects America, with the most Hispanic appointees and the most Hispanic
judicial nominees in our Nation's history.

     Even as Hispanic Americans grow in number and influence in our
country, they have not forgotten their roots; they have not forgotten the
pain of discrimination, of being ignored or left behind.  Instead, millions
of courageous and compassionate Hispanic men and women across our country
are working to create a just and equal society, uniting around a firm
commitment to build One America in this new century.

     In honor of the many contributions that Hispanic Americans have made
and continue to make to our Nation and culture, the Congress, by Public Law
100-402, has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a
proclamation designating September 15 through October 15 as "National
Hispanic Heritage Month."

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, do hereby proclaim September 15 through October 15, 2000, as
National Hispanic Heritage Month.
I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs,
ceremonies, and activities.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of
September, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of
the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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