Dina Garcia October 3, 2022 at 9:52 AM

Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month

Autumn is by far my favorite time of year. It’s sweater weather. Apple crisp EVERYTHING. Walking outdoors in cool breezes. The countdown to my birthday on November 2 -- Dia de Los Muertos! And most importantly, celebrating Mexican Independence Day on September 16 and Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15-October 15.

I am a proud Latina, and I love to celebrate my rich and beautiful culture. Believe me, we celebrate, and we celebrate BIG! Hispanics from all parts of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean gather together and eat amazing food, dance to lively music – and maybe have a shot or two of tequila!

We also pay homage to Hispanic Americans who have made a positive impact on our society and that our children aspire to be like when they grow up. We recognize people like Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Canelo Alvarez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Vicente Fernandez, Jenni Rivera, Eva Longoria, Edward James Olmos, and Salma Hayek.  

I was born and raised in the Salinas Valley here in California, affectionately called the “Salad Bowl of the World” for the numerous crops grown in its rich soil. I have always referred to it as a farming town. And like any farming town, many farm workers move from place to place throughout the year.

Every year around this time, field workers and their families in Salinas pick up and move to Yuma, Arizona, to harvest winter crops such as lettuce, spinach, and cabbage. Growing up, I remember being sad to see so many of my friends having to leave for several months. As an adult, I now understand and can relate to the sacrifices these parents made to support their families.

I also relocated my family for a job and moved my family to Beaverton, Oregon, in 2013. For the first time in my life, I understood what it meant to be a minority. After a couple of years, the gloomy weather and lack of diversity had me working on my next steps. I knew in my heart that California was home and I needed to find my way back. I missed family, friends and some good Spanish rice and beans!

In 2017, I was fortunate to secure a position in Card Services here at SAFE Credit Union and move my family back to California.

In addition to the joy of having my family back “home,” I appreciate the supportive culture here at SAFE. We have been named a Best Place to Work in the Sacramento region for five years in a row for a reason! SAFE is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all it does. What that means for me is a culture that provides flexibility to take care of my family. Employee resource groups that give voice to and empower employees. Hiring practices that grow diversity. SAFE encourages its employees to give back to our communities through volunteering – we even get paid time off to do so!

For these past several years, I have been on the ride of my life and look forward to growing my career at SAFE.

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Dina Garcia

Dispute Resolution Manager at SAFE Credit Union