Latino Heritage Month takes place from September 15 to October 15 to recognize and celebrate not only the history of our diverse Latino communities, but who they are today. Latinos are the largest ethnic group in California and make up 18 percent of the US population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For this month’s “In the Spotlight,” I am recognizing inspirational members of the Latino population who are working to lift up others in the Latino community.
Citizen of the Month: Lilia Garcia, Esq.
Lilia Garcia has spent much of her life promoting equality and justice on both sides of the border, mentoring young Latina attorneys and training lawyers in Mexico and United States. She officially retired July 2020 after 39 years in public service, including serving 32 years as a Deputy Attorney General with the California State Attorney General’s Office in San Diego and seven years as a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney. Lilia continues her community service through Latinas in the Law and La Raza Lawyers, as well as mentoring law students and young attorneys of color.
A life-long resident of South Bay, Lilia grew up in Nestor and now lives in Chula Vista. She graduated from Marian Catholic High School and went on to earn her undergraduate degree from the University of San Diego and law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. Lilia is an inspiration to so many in our district, and we are so grateful for all the time and experience she has dedicated to promoting our binational legal community.
Organization of the Month: San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the largest business association representing the San Diego-Tijuana Hispanic Business community. It works to create and promote a favorable business climate for emerging businesses, advance economic development, provide fair and equitable access to the marketplace for Latino companies, and support education and culture initiatives for the greater San Diego Hispanic community.
While the pandemic has slowed operations for some, that is not the case for the Chamber. It has recently created a binational Cafecito & Networking virtual meeting to bring together businesses on both sides of the border, as well as Conexiones de Negocios Latinos that promotes binational businesses and creates networking opportunities. To better assist our community and businesses as they face challenges due to the pandemic and otherwise, the Chamber created a Small Business Development Center unit, as well as joined with the Asian Business Association and Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce to form the Strategic Alliance SBDC that provides no-cost advising and consulting services to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Recently the Chamber received approval from the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to expand their operations to represent and support the Imperial Valley, as well. This is big news for our district!
A big shout out to the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for all their work to advance and strengthen our district’s Hispanic business economy. Keep up the great work!