By the President of the United States of America
The Hispanic heritage of 16 million Americans is an essential part of our identity as a nation, and of our role as a leader among nations. As we reflect upon the countless historical, cultural, and scientific contributions that Hispanics have made to the development of our country, I want to reaffirm my commitment to ensuring the full participation of our Hispanic citizens in all levels of our society and government.
Americans have had a unique opportunity to appreciate the values of a broad diversity of cultures and the contribution each makes to our democratic and pluralistic society.
As we reach beyond our national borders to advocate the cause of human rights, we must increasingly look to our own Hispanic community as one of our primary sources of advice and counsel, particularly in the development of our relations with other nations of the western hemisphere.
Our Hispanic community is an integral element in the domestic life of our own nation, as well as in our continuing international effort to build understanding, mutual respect, and common purpose with all Hispanic nations.
In recognition of our Hispanic heritage, the Congress, by joint resolution approved September 17, 1968 (36 U.S.C. 169f), has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning September 10, 1978, as National Hispanic Heritage Week. I call upon all Americans to take this occasion to reflect on the influence of Hispanic culture in our land, and to consider how each of us can be more responsive to the concerns of Hispanics.
As we observe National Hispanic Heritage Week with appropriate ceremonies and activities, I call upon all Federal, State and community agencies, all business and professional leaders, educators, the clergy, and the communications media to join with me in launching new Hispanic initiatives that will assure the full participation of Hispanic Americans in every sector of American life, at every level of leadership, and guarantee that the human and civil rights of Hispanics, other minorities and, indeed, all citizens of our country are fully protected under the law.
As part of this week's activities I have asked many of my Hispanic appointees to hold town meetings in areas of concentrated Hispanic population. These meetings will help define the problems and concerns shared by Hispanics across our nation.
The role of Hispanics is ever increasing and offers our Hispanic citizens-the fourth largest Spanish-speaking population in the world-an increasingly active and visible leadership.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and third.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:53 a.m., August 17, 1978]