US Postal Service appoints Manhattan’s first Latina postmaster

The first Latina to become postmaster for the US Postal Service in Manhattan was sworn in on Friday — 25 years after starting her career as a letter carrier, officials said.

Wanda Diaz is the first Puerto Rican woman to hold the role and also the third woman to be named postmaster, according to the agency.

“As a carrier I said — one day I’m going to be a postmaster, but it’s real far away, right? But working hard, people recognize me, and yes, I am,” said Diaz during a ceremony Friday.

Diaz started at the postal service as a letter carrier in 1996 in the Bronx. Now as a postmaster, she is the executive responsible for overseeing mail to nearly 9 million customers, USPS said.

Diaz’s sister-in-law, Jeanette Diaz-Hernandez, said she was proud of her achievements.

“She is an example of what many single women or women or people that come from difficult neighborhoods, what they can do when you have courage and you press on,” Diaz-Hernandez said.

Her historic appointment came a day after Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15, which will run through October 15. The month is intended to recognize and celebrate members of communities and their ancestors who hail from Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America as well as Spain.

Hispanic Heritage Month has roots dating back to 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill designating the week of September 15 as “National Hispanic Heritage Week,” according to the Office of the Historian and the Office of Art & Archives for the US House of Representatives.

Nearly 20 years later, President Ronald Reagan extended it to a month after Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois submitted a bill for expansion.

It starts in mid-September in acknowledgment of the anniversaries of national independence for a number of Latin American countries that fall either on or after September 15.

More than 62 million people identify as Hispanic or Latino in the US, about 18% of the nation’s population, according to the latest census data.

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