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Juan Torres Lopez, 1st Class Electrician, 2 ½ years of service. Photo by SEPTA
Juan Torres Lopez, 1st Class Electrician, 2 ½ years of service. Photo by SEPTA

SEPTA reflects on National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15. 

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At its core, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) unites communities and connects people of all backgrounds to opportunities, people, places, and possibilities. It also helps build thriving communities, create jobs, ease traffic congestion, and promote a cleaner environment.

The Census Office estimates that the U.S. will have 138 million Spanish speakers by 2050, making it the biggest Spanish speaking nation in the world, with Spanish expected to be the mother tongue of almost one-third of its citizens. That is why SEPTA must remain focused on promoting diversity and inclusion, recognizing the essential role Hispanics play throughout our organization and the communities we serve.

During these months of unrest and uncertainty, our commitment to diversity and inclusion shines through as we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. We continue to enhance our external communications promoting SEPTA stories in the Spanish-speaking media, sharing our press releases, social media posts, COVID-19 Travel Survey, and station audio messaging in Spanish. At the same time that we look to expand our reach by adding more communications in Spanish.

To build on these efforts, SEPTA recently engaged an independent, external group of diverse leaders to advise the Board and the GM Team on race and equity issues. This group is currently conducting a comprehensive review of SEPTA’s recruiting, hiring, termination, discipline, equal employment opportunity, and promotion policies and practices. The Board has also commissioned an agency-wide employee climate survey. 

The results will be used by management to shape future activities, and inform our strategic plan decisions, to enhance employee engagement. These Board and executive-level priorities are being supported and informed by several employee-led initiatives that will provide opportunities for a broad range of input on meaningful workplace conversations and decisions, including:

  • A new SEPTA Council on Diversity, Equity, and Belonging (DEB)
  • Monthly Employee Town Hall Meetings
  • Launch of workplace Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to allow employees with commonalities to celebrate differences while promoting inclusion throughout our organization.

SEPTA's reopening Guide, photo by SEPTA

SEPTA celebrates our Hispanic colleagues for their contributions to our organization and our national heritage. The region benefits from our Hispanic community’s many cultural, economic, professional, and personal contributions. We hope you, along with us, will continue the celebration long after the month is over.

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