Jane C. Garcia named Hispanic Heritage Month Game Changers honoree

Chairman of the Board for Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development celebrated for her long-standing advocacy for Hispanic and Latino communities in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan

October 11th, 2023

DETROIT -- Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development (LA SED), the oldest Hispanic advocacy agency in Southeastern Michigan, is led by its board. That board is led by Jane C. Garcia.

Garcia is a Detroit native and by her own label, "a social worker at heart." She has been an advocate, volunteer and community activist in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan for more than 45 years.

“I’ve always been honored to be a Detroiter,” Garcia said. “I’ve always admired the Hispanic community and migrant workers in Michigan, and it’s been an honor to work with our community and find out what their needs are.”

Garcia is being recognized by the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and Comerica Bank as a Game Changers honoree during Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Our organization has been fortunate to work alongside Jane Garcia and LA SED for countless years, connecting the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers with thousands of residents living in Southwest Detroit,” said Kevin Brown, director of community impact for Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “In recognition of her decades-long dedication to advocating for the Hispanic and Latino communities in Detroit, we are honored to name Jane Garcia as a 2024 Game Changers recipient.”

Garcia became a social worker after noticing how much of a difference a language barrier can make when it comes to comprehension.

“Sometimes, it’s just the language that confuses people,” Garcia said. “My mother was a great example; she spoke English well, but no matter how well she spoke, she was more comfortable with Spanish, and she didn’t always comprehend the English language. That’s why I became a social worker, so that I could interpret and make sure our community had the right access and understood what was happening to them.”

Working for the federal government for four censuses, Garcia recognized how important it was to get an accurate census count, not only for the country but for her community.

“You deal with the accessibility of what workers need to have and exactly what people’s needs were, whether it was houses, employment or education,” Garcia said.

Garcia said she is honored to be recognized as a Game Changers honoree and accepts the recognition on behalf of all those in her community.

“I’m just one person. I’m a volunteer and activist,” Garcia said. “I always accept any honors we get on behalf of my community, because there are a lot of people behind the scenes that you don’t know about, and they are not always recognized. Everybody comes with help from somebody. I am so honored because I accept it on behalf of the people who have come before me and the people who will come in the future.”

Making sure younger generations recognize and continue the work LA SED and its current members are doing is at the forefront of Garcia’s work.

“We have been fighting the same battles since 1965. We are still dealing with the same problems as back then,” Garcia said. “So, it is important the young people understand that everything is passed on to them and they must continue to advocate for their future and their children. To do so, we must teach them historically how we got to where we are.”

To learn more about LA SED, click here.