you Director for your kind introduction.....
President John F. Kennedy once said ....Just because
you can't see clearly the end of the road is no
reason for not setting out on the essential journey......
On the contrary, great change dominates the world
and unless we move with change we will become its
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
It is indeed an honor to have been asked to join
you today.... I'm honored to join you as we continue
on our essential journey down a road much like that
described by President Kennedy.
It is my hope that our journey today will bring
us to a better understanding of the importance of
diversity and the many challenges organizations
face when trying to make diversity in the work force
I can't think of a better time to discuss the important,
but sometimes uncomfortable topic of diversity than
during National Hispanic Heritage Month. It is during
this time of the year that all Americans can join
in and celebrate the rich history and culture of
the Latino people. For Latinos, it is a time to
reflect on the past, assess the present and look
down this long and scary road we call our future.
As we focus on the past and the present, I think
we will clearly see the important role diversity
has played in the many advancements we have made.
Professionally, I think many of us would agree that
if it were not for the FBI's commitment to diversity
and its willingness to face the many challenges
and changes it brings to an organization.... many
of us would not be here today. I don't know if we
ever get used to change..... but change is a part
of our reality...... and, as Latinos, we must be
prepared for that change. The future will continue
to bring change to Latinos and we must greet it
with continued education, understanding and dedication
in order to realize success. We don't have to look
far to see the progress we have made over the last
Today, all one has to do is turn on the TV......
read any of the major publications.... or tune into
your favorite radio station to realize that Latinos
are a significant part of the tapestry of America.
Who would ever have thought that on any given night
we could turn on the TV during prime time and find
Latinos represented in virtually every program......
a guy named George Lopez would be the star of one
of the top sitcoms...... or that one of the year's
most watched awards program would be the Latin Grammy
Awards. Oh, how things have changed!
Outside the entertainment world we have individuals
like Major General Ricardo Sanchez who commands
the US Army's V Corps and ALL the coalition ground
forces in Iraq. He is the trusted face America sees
nightly giving updates on the war in Iraq. This
past year we saw a breakthrough in the corporate
world of sports as Arturo Moreno became the first
Latino owner of a major league sports franchise
when he purchased the California Angels. And, down
the street, at the White House, we find Alberto
Gonzalez, Senior Advisor to the President who holds
the very important position of White House Counsel.
These significant achievements signal to me that
Latinos have confronted change and made significant
progress. We as a people, have opportunities to
make things even better...... doors are opening
to us politically as well as professionally.....
now more than ever. For those of us in leadership
positions, our challenge will be to ensure that
our young people are educated and prepared to step
up to the plate and take advantage of these opportunities.
African/Americans, Latinos, Asians and other minorities
are increasing in numbers and in the next 20 years
the US and its work force will become even more
The Director has already shared some statistics
with you... I would like to share some interesting
information I think makes my point on the changing
racial make-up of our country and the challenges
Jose" has become one of the most popular name
for male babies born in California and Texas over
the last several years.
The only city in the world that has more Mexicans
in it than Los Angles, CA, is Mexico City.
Virtually every political office in the Miami/ Metro
Dade area is held by a Latino.
2/3 of Latinos in the US are 25 years of age or
1/3 of the Latinos in the US are under the age of
These notable changes have not happened overnight.
In 1980 there were 15 million Latinos in the US...
it is now predicted that by the year 2020 that number
will be a womping 55 million Latinos.
In short, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is our future.
These are exciting times for Latinos but we should
always be mindful that the road on which we travel
is filled with challenges. One of those challenges
for those of us in leadership positions will be
creating an environment that promotes diversity.
Diversity is more than numbers. It is building a
culture of respect and equality. It is creating
opportunities for all people...... to have their
skills and competencies recognized and rewarded.....
and it is appreciating differences and what they
contribute to the fabric of America. These are the
challenges I speak of.....
We must be prepared and ready to conquer the road
we travel..... because it is our future.
In Charles Handy's book THE AGE OF UNREASON, he
states "the future we predict today isn't inevitable.
We can influence it if we know what we want it to
be............ We can take charge of our destiny
in a time of change."
To be in control of one's destiny is to be behind
the wheel of life on a road to a certain destination.......
We, as Latinos, know the way but can't assume all
will go smoothly.
As we prepare for our journey, we must be ready
for unexpected challenges. Much like the driver
behind the wheel we, as Latinos, face an unpredictable,
challenging and ever-changing landscape ahead of
us. We need not fear what's ahead...... the wiser
course of action is to take control, open our minds
to new ideas, solutions and alternatives and use
change to help create a better future.
Many of you will agree that change can have a considerable
psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful,
it is threatening because it means that things could
get worse..... to the hopeful, it is encouraging
because things could get better.... but to the confident,
it is inspiring because the challenge exists to
make things better. Many private and public organizations
are already planning for the future and implementing
policies and improving strategies to help diversify
their work force to better mirror our ever-changing
Many progressive and innovative public agencies
are vigorously creating opportunities to put more
minorities into their respective career pipelines
and helping prepare them to move into future leadership
roles...... Many private and public agencies have
also set lofty goals of having their agencies racially
mirror the communities they serve..... but, I can
say from personal experience that recruiting and
retaining quality minorities in public service has
become very difficult and extremely competitive.
As Latinos are in demand professionally, this has
heightened competition..... but, as you heard from
the Director, the FBI is committed to being competitive
and is dedicated to seeking out the best and brightest
in the Latino community. It is this intense competition
for quality people that makes it so important for
those of us in leadership positions to respect and
treat with dignity those minorities who are currently
in our ranks, and have shown a true commitment to
Many of these individuals have passed up golden
opportunities to work in the private sector and
make more money...... but yet, have opted to serve
So, the question that begs to be answered is........
"Why is it important to have a diverse work
force that runs through all levels and ranks of
the organization?..... The obvious responses would
be...... the enrichment brought about by diverse
ideas, visions, background and life experiences.
In fact, some experts contend that under-representation
of minorities within an organization leads to distrust
and limits creative energy.
That's why it is so important that organizations
make the recruitment, retention and promotion of
minorities the centerpiece of their diversity strategy.
It is inevitable that as the population grows and
the demographics change, Latinos must be given the
opportunity to climb the career ladder as others
have in the past. The efforts of promoting minorities
within an organization is made a whole lot easier
and less controversial when meaningful attention
is given to the mentoring and grooming of qualified
I'm sorry to say that outside of government service
the tension and frustration over career opportunities
or, some would say, a lack thereof are harder to
identify and address.
During my tenure as a police chief I saw how these
raw emotions took the form of riots and civil unrest
that destroyed and divided many communities.....
Of course, those of us in government service are
not as extreme in our actions but we do share some
of the same concerns and frustrations.
Someone once said that with information comes understanding
and, with understanding we reduce the likelihood
of hostility. To help promote this understanding,
many organizations, including the FBI, offer diversity
training to its members..... The goal of our training
is to help promote the understanding that is critical
to the diversity process. Our training focuses on
the differences of people and their culture and
allows our members to work together in groups to
discuss problems as well as solutions. Research
indicates that one of the most successful approaches
to combating bias is to have people of different
races working together for shared goals. A psychologist
at Hope College says, if people are working together
for shared goals it breaks down the negative stereotypes
they have of each other.
Last but not least, we need to fight isolation.
We can't get so absorbed in our brownness, blackness
and whiteness..... We need to make an effort to
step out of our comfort zone, to mingle, to get
to know others of different cultures....... But,
this is a challenge as there is a natural tendency
for us to gravitate to those who look, talk and
act as we do.
I don't have the answer to the diversity question......
but I would ask that we not give up hope. We can't
let the status quo remain and do nothing.
Celebrations like this are a positive and important
step in building understanding, trust and bridges
between organizations and their members.
I want to commend the Office of Equal Employment
Opportunity for organizing this great event......
and helping promote a better sense of understanding,
cooperation and collaboration.
We, as an organization and as a people, need to
seize these types of opportunities to learn as much
as we can about, and from one another especially
as it relates to the need for and benefits of diversity.
Simply put, Ladies and Gentlemen, the one thing
we all have in common is that we're different....
which is the root of diversity.
In closing..... just this past Monday I had the
opportunity to welcome 39 delegates representing
17 Latin American to the start of the Training Division's
LALEEDS program. I was moved by the smile on the
faces of these high-ranking Latino law enforcement
executives when they learned that I was a Latino
and held the position of Assistant Director with
the FBI..... This experience only reinforced to
me how great this country is and has been to Latinos.
For someone whose grandparents came to this country
from Mexico for a better life...... I have lived
the American dream. As I look out into the audience,
I see a very diverse group of people. With the exception
of our Native American friends, I would venture
to say that most of our parents and grandparents
came from someplace else. There reason for coming
to this country, I'm sure was much like my grandparents
which was to provide a better life for their families
and the opportunities it offered.
I have no doubt that when my grandparents came to
this great country in search of a better life they
never imagined that one day their grandson would
be in the nation's capitol, a member of the FBI
and introduced by the Director of the FBI as keynote
speaker for this celebration we call National Hispanic
Heritage month. Over the years I've been asked who
I thought were great Americans. This question is
easy for me to answer.... Antonia Quijas, my grandmother.
Even though she spoke no English, she could hum
the national anthem and recite the pledge of allegiance.
It was her love for this country that proved to
me beyond a shadow of a doubt that we don't live
in America...... America lives in us.