PAWs - Promoting Awareness and Wellness

Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs. That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.

September 2011 – Remembering 9/11 and Hispanic Heritage

September is a unique month for Ashford University’s PAWs initiative because we have two important subjects to recognize. The first part of the month marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack and for the second half of the month and into October, it’s National Hispanic Heritage Month.

A Decade Since 9/11: A Nation Heals

In tribute to the individuals who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and to those killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993, a National September 11 Memorial has been constructed. The Memorial consists of two reflecting pools where the Twin Towers stood; each pool is “nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America” (About the Memorial, Inscribed on the bronze panels around the Memorial pools are the names of the individuals who died in the attacks. On the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, a ceremony for the victims’ families will be held, during which the Memorial will be officially dedicated. The Memorial will be open to the public beginning September 12, 2011.

Construction on the 9/11 Memorial Museum is also underway. The museum, scheduled to open in September 2012, will include a collection of artifacts, stories, photos, and videos, as well as a digital collection of work from artists around the country who have expressed their reactions to the events of 9/11. These shared experiences, collected through the 9/11 StoryCorp Initiative, will create a story through many voices. The goal is to record at least one remembrance for each victim of 9/11. Listen to excerpts from the 9/11 StoryCorp Initiative.

A Message from the Museum Director
Alice M. Greenwald, Memorial Museum Director, offers an important message on the purpose of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. She says, “It has been said that memorials are the way people make promises to the future about the past. By demonstrating the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and communities, it is our hope that the National September 11 Memorial Museum can embody the promise of a world in which it should be impossible for people to go to work in the morning only to get caught in the vortex of terrorism. The Museum will be about each of us, about what it means to be a human being, and what it means to live in a complex, global community at the start of the 21st century. It will, we hope, be a place for understanding ourselves and the world in which we live, a place for promising the kind of world we want to bequeath of our children and grandchildren” (Message from the Museum Director,

Visit the 9/11 Preview Site and watch the construction progress of the museum or share your personal story through the 9/11 StoryCorp Initiative. Through the healing power of shared stories and reconstruction, America remembers and recovers from the tragedy of 9/11.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15 to October 15, the United States celebrates National Hispanic Heritage month. American citizens whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, or Central and South America are honored as we recognize the contributions they have made to this country and pay tribute to their unique histories and cultures. This year’s theme is, “Heritage, Diversity, Integrity and Honor: The Renewed Hope of America.”

What began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson was expanded in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan to cover a 30-day period. National Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

September 15 was chosen as the day National Hispanic Heritage Month would begin because it is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico celebrates its independence day on September 16 and Chile celebrates its independence day on September 18. Finally, Columbus Day, or Dia de la Raza, is celebrated on October 12 (About National Hispanic Heritage Month, Library of Congress website).

The Library of Congress has developed so you can learn more about National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Take a Virtual Heritage Tour of Hispanic Heritage and Culture through the Smithsonian Institution.

Notable Individuals of Hispanic Decent

Sonia Sotomayor, United States Supreme Court Justice
On August 8, 2009, Sonia Sotomayor made history when she was sworn in as the first Hispanic Justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Born in 1954 as the eldest of two children to parents who had moved from Puerto Rico to New York City, Justice Sotomayor was raised in a family that functioned on a very modest income and emphasized the importance of a higher education. Eventually, Justice Sotomayor graduated from Princeton University and Yale Law School, after which she began a career in law that would ultimately land her on our nation’s highest court. Learn more about Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Jaime Escalante, Educator
The child of two teachers, Jaime Escalante became one of the most famous educators in America during the 1980s and 1990s. Born on December 21, 1930 in La Paz, Bolivia, Escalante left his homeland in the 1960s to seek a better life in the United States. Although he began his career as a teacher in Bolivia, Escalante had to work a number of odd jobs, teach himself English, and complete additional college coursework before he was able to resume his teaching career at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, a school known more for violence and drugs than for academics. Escalante taught math to students, the majority of whom were Hispanic and from poor families. In 1982, his students passed the advanced placement test in Calculus, though not without controversy. Escalante’s successes and challenges at Garfield High School were later turned into a Hollywood movie, Stand and Deliver, which earned actor Edward James Olmos, another notable Hispanic, an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Escalante. Learn more about Jaime Escalante.

Frida Kahlo, Artist
In 1907, Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico; she is considered one of her country’s greatest artists. When Kahlo was 18 years old she was severely injured in a bus accident and began painting shortly thereafter. While she eventually recovered from the injuries, her body was never the same and she was in extreme pain for the rest of her life. Much of her work consists of self-portraits, which are deeply personal and reflect her anguish over her miscarriage and physical condition, and also express her love of animals. Kahlo’s life was the subject of the 2002 film, Frida, starring Salma Hayek, another famous Hispanic. Learn more about Frida Kahlo.


9/11 Memorial (2011). Retrieved August 2, 2011 from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum website,

About National Hispanic Heritage Month. (n.d.) Retrieved July 28, 2011 from The Library of Congress website,

Hispanic Heritage Cultural Tour (n.d.) Retrieved July 28, 2011 from Smithsonian Institution website,

Notable Biography: Jamie Escalante (2010). Retrieved July 30, 2011 from website,

Notable Biography: Frida Kahlo (2007). Retrieved August 1, 2011 from website,

Notable Biography: Sonia Sotomayor (2011). Retrieved July 30, 2011 from website,

September 2011