Every September 15 – October 15 the United States recognizes and celebrates the influence and contributions of those descending from Latin America and other Spanish speaking countries. Dane County Credit Union has a long standing and year-round commitment to the support and advancement of our own local Latino community.
Our Latino Outreach Committee meets regularly to find opportunities that allow our organization to participate in or support financially many special community events. We recognize the importance of hiring Spanish speaking staff and developing unique financial products and education that help our Latino members feel safe, comfortable, supported and valued.
This year’s theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is: Be proud of your past and embrace the future. We asked some of our Latino staff to share their thoughts and experiences.
How are things different (more challenging or easier) for your generation than it was for your parents?
Edith: One thing that I think about frequently as part of my role here at the credit union is the financial education and wealth gap; throughout our community and cross generational. I believe that in some ways it might feel easier to become informed about why a credit score is important, why prioritizing savings is good, and understanding interest rates or earned dividends; due to the great amount of online resources. However, with so many information sources it can also be challenging to know what is accurate and what are great generalizations or just plain false statements. Having a credit union to rely on to confirm information or be guided through resources and financial advice gives me and my family great peace of mind.
Norma: I feel like the Latino/Hispanic community has definitely grown tremendously with my generation, making things a whole lot easier and convenient for many in our older generation now.
Why is it important for DCCU to have Spanish speaking staff?
Norma: I feel like it’s extremely important to have Spanish speaking staff to serve our members more accurately with their request and also to have Spanish speaking members feel confident that their request is being understood.
Brenda: I think this is important because we can better connect with the members if we speak the same language. It is more comfortable for them and we can create a good relationship with personalized financial solution which is our DCCU mission.
Why do you feel DCCU is a good financial institution for Latinos?
Edith: One thing that I am very proud of my employer for is their constant increase in resources for our Spanish speaking community and members. We try to have as many of our documents translated to Spanish to help members make informed decisions. We have translated blog posts that help inform the community about important financial resources and education. We also have Spanish speaking staff that can advocate for our members when they feel there is something we can improve on to better serve our Latino community.
Why is it important to embrace inclusion and accept each other regardless of differing cultures and backgrounds?
Brenda: Because we have the opportunity to share ideas that facilitate problem solving for everybody at DCCU. Despite our differences we can learn from these ideas and put them together for our common cause. That is the reason everybody has to be included, in my opinion.
Hispanic and Latino Americans amount to an estimated 17.8% of the total U.S. population, making up the largest ethnic minority. Their influences are tightly knitted in the fabric of American life in music, food, art, cinema, politics, literature, and so much more. Non-Hispanics can learn more about Latino cultures and values with the help of personal recommendations. Here are a few from our staff:
Brenda: I’m from Venezuela and these are my favorite traditional foods from there:
Empanadas are made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing. The stuffing can consist of a variety of meats, vegetables, cheese, etc. They can also be baked or fried and can be eaten as a snack or a meal.
An arepa is typically made from precooked corn flour. In Venezuela, arepa is eaten any time of the day, throughout the whole country, For a Venezuelan breakfast they are commonly stuffed with a variety of ingredients, and the combinations are seemingly infinite, from beans, cheese, eggs and avocado to shredded beef, etc.
Cachapas is a traditional dish made from maize flour, are so delicious and very easy to make. Traditionally they are topped with cheese or meat.
- Movie: Stand and Deliver
- Book/Author: Borderlands/ La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua
- Food: Chiles Rellenos
- Business: El Panzon (Midvale Blvd)
Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!