Hispanic Heritage Month read aloud at Yokota Published Sept. 25, 2023 By Airman 1st Class Samantha White 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Danielle Gomez, Yokota Latin American Association (LAA) secretary, points to a student during a Hispanic Heritage Month read aloud at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 20, 2023. The Yokota LAA is a private organization dedicated to representation, community, and empowerment for Latin culture at Yokota. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha White) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res The Yokota Latin American Association held a Hispanic Heritage Month read aloud at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School, Sept. 18-21, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, to celebrate Hispanic literary contributions with Yokota’s young learners. Throughout the week, a lineup of more than 20 Yokota LAA members and other community volunteers visited Mendel classrooms to read books by Hispanic authors and share their cultural background with students ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. “Hispanic Heritage Month is more than good food and music,” said Danielle Gomez, Yokota LAA secretary. “It’s about understanding the sacrifices our ancestors have made for a better future.” Master Sgt. Max Gomez, Pacific Air Forces Air Postal Squadron operation manager, reads to students at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 20, 2023. Members of the Yokota Latin American Association and volunteers from the Team Yokota community read books by Hispanic authors and shared their cultural background with students to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha White) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res The school library also had a robust display of books by Hispanic authors and illustrators on its shelves. “As a member of the military community, it's pivotal to understand that the strength and unity of our community depend on the time and effort we invest in nurturing it,” said Master Sgt. Max Gomez, Pacific Air Forces Air Postal Squadron operation manager. “Recognizing every heritage month is vital for fostering understanding and respect across all communities.” The Yokota LAA, a private organization dedicated to representation, community, and empowerment for Latin culture at Yokota, worked with the staff at Mendel Elementary School to host the event and also encourage discussions about the significant contribution of Latinos throughout the U.S. and its military. “By embracing and celebrating our diverse cultures and histories, we are not only enriching our community, but also reinforcing the values of inclusivity and respect that are foundational to military service,” said Gomez.