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The night before his murder, JFK became the first president to meet with Latino leaders

The historic meeting was overshadowed by the horrors of November 22, 1963.

john f. kennedy, jackie kennedy, lulac
via Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy greet attendees of a dinner held by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas. Master of Ceremonies, John J. Herrera, stands at far right; Mariachi musicians play at left.

November 22, 2023, will mark the 60th anniversary of one of the most horrific moments in American history, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The anniversary has been greeted by a host of new documentaries and renewed interest in the conspiracies surrounding the assassination.

One historic moment from Kennedy’s short but consequential presidency occurred on the last night of his life, Thursday, November 21, 1963. That night, Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and his wife, Lady Bird, visited a formal dinner in Houston, Texas, held by LULAC — the League of United Latin American Citizens. The event featured a welcoming party of Mexican-American World War II veterans, including Medal of Honor recipient Macario García.


The event is believed to be the first time a sitting U.S. president publicly recognized the Latino vote.

John F. Kennedy, Jaqueline Kenny, LULAC

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (partially hidden at left) greet visitors upon their arrival at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas.

via Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

The visit was a thank-you to Latino voters who played a significant role in Kennedy taking Texas in the 1960 election as part of his razor-thin victory over Richard Nixon. Mexican-American military veterans, angry that they still faced prejudice and second-class citizen status after serving their country in the war, bound together in the state to create the Viva Kennedy movement to elect the first Catholic president.

"[Veterans] assumed that things would change, that they would be like they were in the foxhole, or the military unit," Professor Ignacio Garcia, author of “Viva Kennedy: Mexican Americans In Search of Camelot,” told NPR. "And when they came back and discovered things were not changed, they became very adamant about changing things."

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Lady Bird Johnson applaud during a dinner held by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas. Past National President of LULAC, George Garza, stands at far left; dinner attendees, Debbie Briones and Lisa Herrera, stand at left in foreground.

via Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Kennedy’s trip to the LUAC gala was a way to publicly rededicate himself to Latino voters. However, the president’s primary goal on his Texas trip was to soothe party tensions caused by the fight between gubernatorial challenger Don Yarborough and Governor John Connally.

Kennedy arrived at the Grand Ballroom at Houston's Rice Hote to the sound of the song “Kennedy, Kennedy” played by El Trio Internacional. When he took the stage, he said some words about his policies in Latin America and then introduced Jacqueline, who made a short speech in Spanish.

@vincepalamara1

Jackie Kennedy addresses LULAC gala in Houston, Nov. 21, 1963; the night before #jfk #jackiekennedy #jacquelinekennedy #vincepalamara #palamara

After the couple’s speeches, the room erupted with chants of "Viva Kennedy! And viva Jackie!"

Dr. William Elizondo, who was present at the historic event, recalls taking the opportunity to tell Kennedy about the problems with poverty and health faced by many Latinos in San Antonio. He remembers Kennedy saying, “I'm definitely going to look into it.”

“He was so vivacious about what he was going to do,” Elizondo told My San Antonio. “We felt grateful that things would be made better and change in a positive manner.”

Sadly, the next day, at 12:30 pm, Kennedy would be struck down by an assassin in Dallas, with Jacqueline by his side.

But Kennedy's death didn’t squash the growing Latino political movement in the U.S. It would carry on, with many of its leaders, such as Edward Roybal, making their way to prominent roles in Washington, D.C. This new wave of Latino leaders would lobby to expand the Voting Rights Act to include Latinos, from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and establish the Latino vote as one of the nation’s most influential blocs.

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

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