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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 14, 1994




As children across the country return to school this year, it is easy to see the vast diversity that defines America reflected in the sea of young faces filling our classrooms. Our ancestors came from all corners of the globe, bringing the myriad cultures, knowledge, and beliefs that shape our Nation today. For every one of us, the community that shares our ethnic heritage can provide an important source of strength and continuity in today's rapidly changing international marketplace. If our Nation is to succeed in that global arena, we must embrace the energy and creativity of all of our people, relying on the strength of community more than ever.

Young Hispanic Americans are future leaders, educators, and workers of our Nation. For their sake and for the generations of young people to come, we must strive to advance the great traditions of family and community that have enabled Hispanic Americans to make invaluable contributions to our country since its beginnings. These traditions, fortified by new opportunity, can uplift our people and help to build a brighter future for all of our children.

On February 22, 1994, I joined Hispanic Americans in taking an important step toward setting a new standard for educational excellence. Designed to better prepare our people to meet the challenges we face, Executive Order No. 12900, which I signed that day, seeks to improve educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans throughout the Nation. It establishes a commission of leaders from the Hispanic American community that will focus on Hispanic children and youth and recommend methods to improve their academic performance. Drawing on the high standards set by our Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the commission will look for ways to encourage government and the private sector to work as a team to inspire Hispanic students to achieve those goals. And an interagency working group will strive to ensure that the obstacles still confronting too many of our people -- barriers from language to unemployment to crime -- are more easily overcome.

To recognize the accomplishments of Hispanic citizens and to focus national attention on their extraordinary contributions 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, 1994, as National Hispanic Heritage Month. I call upon the people of the United States, government officials, educators, and volunteers, 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 nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.


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