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Hispanic Heritage Month: Bridging Communities Together for a More Resilient Future

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions and cultural heritage of Hispanic and Latino Americans. We could not deliver the Red Cross mission without our many Hispanic staff, volunteers and donors. Among our dedicated Red Crossers is Diana Manzo-Prado of Central California.

Diana’s Journey with the Red Cross

In 2021, Diana decided to embark on a significant life change, transitioning from a career in retail to becoming a business operations coordinator for the Red Cross, where she found her footing within the organization.

Diana’s inspiration to become deeply involved in disaster services and preparedness evolved during her deployment to Florida in response to Hurricane Ian in 2022. Working night shifts at a shelter, she overcame initial challenges and discovered her passion for hands-on disaster response. This experience ignited her strong desire to be “boots on the ground,” actively helping people and making a difference in their lives.

Shortly after she returned home, California experienced historic rain and flooding due to a series of powerful atmospheric rivers this winter. Diana once again responded to provide disaster relief, but this response effort struck close to home. Diana’s hometown of Planada was severely impacted by devastating flooding across her community, and she spent weeks dedicating herself to connecting her neighbors, family members and even former teachers to resources including shelter, clean water and recovery services. This experience reinforced her commitment to ensuring that everyone affected by disasters can access relief in an equitable, compassionate and timely manner.

Inspired by her time in the field, Diana embarked on a newly created role as the Central California Region’s diverse community engagement manager. In this role, she serves as a liaison, connecting the Red Cross’s mission to our communities, particularly within Hispanic and Latino populations. Her responsibilities include providing resources and vital information, building community trust and collaborating with organizations to ensure community preparedness and resiliency in emergencies.

Making a Difference

Diana measures the impact of her work by building partnerships with organizations and strengthening the engagement of diverse Hispanic and Latino communities. Whether she’s forming new relationships or strengthening existing ones, her goal is to ensure that the community trusts and feels comfortable seeking resources during times of need. Her daily activities involve various responsibilities, all aimed at creating a bridge between the Red Cross and these communities, ensuring they have access to essential services and support.

Influence of Hispanic Heritage

Diana’s Mexican heritage holds immense significance as it honors her ancestors’ dedication, hard work and sacrifices. It reminds her of the strong work ethic passed down through generations and motivates her to carry forward these values and traditions.

Diana’s Hispanic background profoundly influences her work with the Red Cross. Her strong sense of community, family and selflessness align with the Red Cross’s mission of helping people in times of need. Whether engaging with the community or collaborating with colleagues, Diana’s innate willingness to assist and support others reflects the values instilled in her from her family and community.

Hispanic Heritage Month is of paramount importance to her as it recognizes and celebrates the invaluable contributions of Hispanic and Latino communities to the United States’ progress. It provides a platform to honor Hispanic leaders, highlight representation and commemorate the cultural richness and diversity that enrich our nation.

Legacy of Compassion and Preparedness

Diana’s legacy is characterized by kindness and an unwavering commitment to making a positive difference. She hopes to be remembered as someone who ensured that everyone, regardless of their background or community, was prepared for challenges they might face, particularly during times of need. Diana aspires to embody the humanitarian spirit and contribute to a more compassionate and prepared community, leaving a lasting impact on the lives she touches.

Diana’s journey with the Red Cross exemplifies the power of community, compassion and commitment. Her story serves as an inspiration to us all, highlighting the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month and the remarkable contributions of individuals like Diana to our shared humanitarian mission.

This blog was originally posted by the American Red Cross Central California Region.