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Center for Minority Veterans (CMV)


The Voice | Issue 4 - Fiscal Year 2021

VA Center for Minority Veterans Newsletter

In this Section: Newsletter Index  |  Subscribe for Updates
On this Page: The CMV Welcomes New Director James Albino  |  VA joins the Nation in commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) this September 15 to October 15  |  Meet and Greet with Philippines Embassy  |  Virtual Veteran Naturalization Clinic  |  Women in Military Service for America Memorial and CMV Memorandum of Agreement  |  CMV Partner Meeting with Veterans County Service Officers  |  Announcing: Bystander Intervention Training for Veterans  |  Veterans Shaping VA Research
The CMV Welcomes New Director James Albino

Editor’s note: This is excerpt was provided by Director Albino

James Albino, DirectorI am a Navy Veteran, I’m the son of a World War II Veteran, and I recently learned that I am the grandson of two World War I Veterans. It’s very cool to see the WWI conscription document. Being a Veteran runs in my family, so it’s a community I identify with a lot.

I have nothing but great things to say about the work VA does. It’s heroic work. I’m looking at you with two VA-implanted artificial lenses, and soon I will have two VA-implanted artificial knees, hopefully. I would not go anywhere else to get my care. When you go into the VAMCs you see some very brave, some very proud Veterans who put their lives on the line and who deserve — earned — the services that they get, so it’s a great place to work.

My dad was in VA care at the Bronx VA for 30-, 40-something years. When I last saw him, he was in hospice care at VA. He was surrounded by two generations of medical practitioners that had cared for him over those years. There was a newly minted nurse who was a child of a nurse that had cared for him, and we were all impressed to just walk in there and see them calling him “Papi.” That’s Spanish for dad, and it was like one giant family that I didn’t know I had with all of these providers. It was really impressive to see, and I really appreciate the care that they gave him.

VA joins the Nation in commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) this September 15 to October 15

By Karen Basnight, Director, Outreach & Retention, ORMDI for the September 2021 issue of the VA Diversity@Work newsletter

This year’s national theme is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.” VA managers and supervisors are encouraged to support events and activities that recognize Hispanics and their many contributions to American society. During National Hispanic Heritage Month, VA commemorates Hispanic cultures and histories, and significant contributions Hispanics have made to American Society and to our Nation. In 1968, Congress passed Public Law 40-498 to honor the achievements of Hispanics in America with histories and cultures from ancestors who came from Spain, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Congress, by Public Law 100-402, as amended, authorized, and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating September 15 through October 15 as “National Hispanic Heritage Month.” These dates are significant as they commemorate the independence of various Latin American countries among them are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.

To promote awareness and engage Veterans about cultural diversity, the VA Central Office HHM Planning Committee will host a virtual HHM observance program on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, from 12:00 p.m. ET until 1:00 p.m. This event will be open to the public.

National Hispanic Heritage Month Facts

  • Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th, celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens with ancestors from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America
  • Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
  • Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Mexico declared its independence on September 16th, and Chile on September 18th. Columbus Day is recognized on October 12th
  • Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from National Hispanic Heritage Month started in September 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the length of the observance, establishing Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Constituting 17.1 percent of the nation’s total population, Hispanics are now the nation's largest ethnic minority group
  • Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from In 2060, the projected Hispanic population of the U.S. will be 128.8 million. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 31 percent of the nation's population
Meet and Greet with Philippines Embassy

Colonel Amado Dela Paz, Captain Henry Quinto, CMV Director James Albino, and CPO Oliver Carbonell

By Ronald Sagudan, CMV Asian American and Pacific Islander Liaison

CMV Director James Albino has a meet and greet with the Philippines Embassy Veterans Affairs Officer and Military Attachés — Colonel Amado Dela Paz, Captain Henry Quinto, CPO Oliver Carbonell.

Virtual Veteran Naturalization Clinic

Veterans Naturalization Assistance Program (VNAP)

Our goal is to make sure non-citizen Veterans know their rights, and to assist Veterans in gaining U.S. citizenship.

I am reaching out to you to share that we are hosting a virtual Veteran Naturalization Clinic on October 22 where we will help non-citizen Veterans complete their naturalization applications. We are thrilled to be hosting this virtual Clinic Day again to support even more Veterans through the naturalization process.

Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA) and CMV Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)

Lachrisha Parker (Community Engagement Manager), Phyllis Wilson (President MWM), James Albino (CMV Director), Denise Wright (CMV Senior Program Analyst, Minority Veterans Program Manager), Marilla J. Cushman (Senior Advisor to the MWM President) and CMV Director James Albino and MWM President Phyllis Wilson sign MOA

By Denise Wright, CMV African American Veterans Liaison

The signing of the MOA between the CMV and WIMSA took place on August 25, 2021 at the Military Women’s Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

CMV Partner Meeting with Veterans County Service Officers

Left to Right: Dennis May, Deputy Director, CMV, Salvador Castillo, VCSO, Cameron, TX, Melissa Castillo, VCSO, Dallas County TX, Margaret Garvin, VCSO Vernon County, WI, and James Albino, Executive Director, CMV

By Dwayne Campbell, CMV Hispanic Veterans Liaison

Partnering with the CMV extends the reach and impact of many programs aimed to help minority Veterans make informed decision regarding their VA benefits. The issues facing the minority Veteran community today are many and complex. The VA recognizes that it cannot tackle these issues alone and why it’s important to establishing partnerships with a wide variety of stakeholders.

While CMV is VA’s lead advocate for minority Veterans, we understand we cannot do it alone. CMV is continuously looking for collaborations that help achieve our mission at all levels to include a cross section of Veterans Service Organizations, community based, internal, faith based, and state and local partners. The mission of a Veteran County Service Officer is to providing outstanding services, education and support to all eligible Veterans, dependents and survivors regarding VA programs and benefits.

Announcing: Bystander Intervention Training for Veterans

Bystander Intervention Training for Veterans | Keep VA Strong, Take Bystander Training | What to do if YOU witness harassment or sexual assault

By Gerald Sonnenberg, EES Marketing and Communication

As VA Secretary Denis McDonough said, “Every VA patient, their families and caregivers, as well as sexual assault survivors, staff, visitors and advocates should feel safe in all VA facilities.” At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) we are committed to maintaining a safe, respectful and welcoming environment in every VA facility.

As part of this commitment, VA is pleased to announce the release of Bystander Intervention Training for Veterans. This training provides tools and techniques to respond if Veterans witness harassment or sexual assault. The training will increase confidence in recognizing situations where harassment is taking place and will equip Veterans with knowledge and skills to prevent those situations from escalating. It will also help them recognize when to seek out assistance. This free online training is an opportunity for Veterans to learn ways that they can contribute to a healthy and safe environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

We all have a role to play to keep our community in VA safe and free of harassment and taking Bystander Intervention Training for Veterans can help in this effort. The training requires no registration, can be accessed from a computer, smartphone, or tablet and only takes 30-35 minutes to complete.

Thank you for your service and for your commitment to a harassment-free VA.

Veterans Shaping VA Research

From the Veterans Community Advisory Board (VCAB) Newsletter — A Publication of the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP)

CHERP established the VCAB in Philadelphia in 2017. An independent board composed of area Veterans, VCAB members work directly with CHERP researchers to design and develop projects that incorporate Veteran values and needs. VCAB members focus on health equity, using their voices to help ensure that funded research supports CHERP’s mission to improve equity in VA health care and Veterans’ health. Members also work to improve the Veteran experience as participants in research.

It is more important than ever to make sure Veteran voices are heard in health care research. CHERP’s VCAB in Philadelphia improves VA health care and the health of all Veterans by contributing to the development of research projects at the Crescenz VA Medical Center. This research is designed to benefit Veterans, especially those from vulnerable populations.

We know that Veterans have questions about research and have heard stories about active research studies. For instance, we want you to know that study participation is always voluntary and safe. Volunteering for a research study benefits all Veterans and enhances patient care. In addition, the VCAB wants you to know:

  • All data that is collected is kept secure.
  • Researchers listen to you and pay attention to your personal experiences and needs.
  • VA studies compensate participants for their time and activities.
  • Participation in a VA study does not affect your benefits in any way.