Sonia Y. Melendez Moreno joined ATF in 2016 as an Industry Operations Investigator (IOI) in the Charlotte Field Division. As an IOI, she works closely with industry members to make sure they are compliant with federal firearms and explosives regulations and laws. Additionally, she partners with special agents to help retrieve firearms purchased illegally.
Further proving herself to be a valuable addition to ATF, Melendez Moreno helps support positive opportunities for diversity and inclusivity in the bureau. As part of a team, she has aided in the review of Spanish translated content for ATF en Español and serves as a member of the Hispanic Employee Resource Group.
Family Inspiration and Traditions
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Melendez Moreno watched as her father served in law enforcement. Seeing this work inspired her to pursue a career in law enforcement as well. After previously working for the Internal Revenue Service, she eventually found her way to ATF.
Being raised in Puerto Rico introduced her to a mixture of Spanish, Taíno (Indigenous American) and African cultures and exposed her to a variety of experiences and perspectives. Her family celebrated their family origins – embracing their ethnic and racial diversity. Once a year, they joined in with other Puerto Ricans for a week of festivities that celebrate the island’s history and culture, known as Semana de la Puertorriqueñidad. Activities included dressing up as their ancestors, dancing to folklore music and enjoying different traditional foods. These festivities are as fun and enjoyable as they are educational. In this multicultural and multilingual environment, Melendez Moreno learned the importance of diversity, inclusivity and accepting others.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
Melendez Moreno believes in the 2022 National Heritage Month theme “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation” because it highlights that communities gain strength through awareness and acceptance. By acknowledging and embracing diversity, communities can work together to solve tough issues and make positive impacts. The first step in this process is making sure people feel invited and welcomed by providing opportunities to contribute. In the spirit of National Hispanic Heritage Month, she encourages others to respect differences, rather than forcing everyone to fit into a specific mold. Melendez Moreno believes that accepting others and having diverse voices in law enforcement shows that every person has the potential to contribute something positive. These positive contributions and diverse perspectives help make the community and country stronger.