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Committee Report September/October 2014

Remembering Pat Toro

The Minority Affairs Committee wishes to express our sincere condolences to the wife and family of our dear friend and fellow committee member Pat Toro. We are devastated and shocked by the sudden death of Pat, a stalwart on our committee. As a vice chair, Pat worked tirelessly for Puerto Rico and its veterans. We will miss you dearly, amigo.

Our committee had its VVA Health Benefit Information Booth for the sixth time at the NAACP National Convention, which was held this year at the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas in July. We thank Joe Wynn and the NABVETS/Vets Group for helping us set up our booth. Our thanks also to Joanna Henshaw, our AVVA liaison, for obtaining health brochures.

National President John Rowan announced at the Leadership & Education Conference that the Native American Veterans Memorial legislation has passed Congress. We thank Stephen Bowers, our committee vice chair for American Indians, for his hard work on this legislation.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held its annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C., in September. Our committee had its booth there, again, to meet active duty personnel, veterans, and their families to discuss medical issues and VA benefits.

The Native American Veterans Association of Southern California hosted its Second Annual Native American Veterans Summit in early September in Los Angeles. Our committee had its booth there.

The National Gold Star Mothers celebrated its Founding Charter in Washington, D.C., at the end of September, and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington. We honor these moms who have lost their sons and daughters in service to our country.

Now is the Time for Congress to Grant Statehood for Puerto Rico

Jorge Pedroza with Dr. Ricardo Rossello and VVA National President John Rowan

VVA Puerto Rico State Council President Jorge Pedroza (left), with Dr. Ricardo Rossello and VVA National President John Rowan (right)

The citizens of Puerto Rico have voted for statehood in the plebiscite mandated by Congress. In is now time for Congress to grant statehood for Puerto Rico. On October 12, the VVA National Board of Directors voted unanimously to pass a motion to seek a legislative sponsor to support the plebiscite, which was voted for and passed by the citizens of Puerto Rico. a

Jorge Pedroza, president of the VVA Puerto Rico State Council, introduced Dr. Ricardo Rossello, who spoke about the veterans of Puerto Rico and the vote for statehood, which passed on November 6, 2012. Dr. Rossello, a Biomedical Engineer and Neurobiologist who holds degrees from MIT and the University of Michigan, is a research professor at Duke University.

In August 2003, the delegates to VVA’s 11th National Convention adopted Resolution MA-10, Self-determination for Puerto Rico, resolving to support legislation whereby the United States Congress would define the political status options available to United States citizens of Puerto Rico and authorize a plebiscite to provide an opportunity for Puerto Ricans to make an informed decision regarding the island‘s future.

Diversity Award
The Vietnam Veterans of America Minority Affairs Committee Diversity Award recognizes outstanding achievement by an individual, business or organization in the promotion of diversity within the veteran’s community.

All nominees must have made a significant contribution to the advancement of diversity and to the mission statement of the VVA. Considered contributions may include, but not limited to initiative and programs that advance harmony and respect, improve social justice, human rights and cultural awareness.

The award represents specific efforts and achievements that develop a culture and environment in which diversity is valued.

Download The Award Criteria Here
Download The Nominations Procedures Here



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