Photo by: Dexter Phuong
Hello! Hola! I’m Benito Garcia Garcia – a first generation Latinx college graduate. I’m a native Spanish speaker and a son of immigrants. Growing up, my parents instilled into me the importance of education because in their country, education is a privilege and not a right. Throughout my short life, I’ve always been ambitious, willing to take challenges, and always accepting the opportunities given to me.
I grew up in Franklin, North Carolina – a small town located in the Appalachian Mountains. I attended Macon Early College and partner institution, Southwestern Community College, where I received my high school diploma and Associate in Arts degree simultaneously.
I recently graduated from Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication (with a concentration in journalism and a minor in Spanish). I previously made the Dean’s list numerous times, finishing with a 3.5 GPA and with “cum laude” honors.
At Western Carolina, I was an editor of campus news and a reporter for the Western Carolina Journalist – an online news publication of the communication department. I was also a staff writer for the Western Carolinian – Western Carolina’s print newspaper. During my time as a student reporter, I covered an array of topics including the impeachment of President Trump, the impeachment of the student body president, local protests, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and much more. I’ve gained a lot of insight and understanding into the journalism world. I also have learned the importance of having integrity and being truthful in my reporting – regardless of possible backlash.
I’ve always been a student that cares about their campus. In high school, I was on the student council and the yearbook staff. College was no different, I was heavily involved on campus as a student leader. I served on the Student Government Association as a senator and as the co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Committee. I also served on the executive board of the Latinx Appreciation Student Organization (LASO). Also having served on the student committee of LASO’s Southeastern Latinx Student Leadership Conference (SL-SLC). I advocated for gender-inclusive restrooms on campus, more accessibility and affordability of menstrual hygiene products, the representation of minority students and much more.
As of July 2020, I’ve been working for Vecinos Farmworker Health Program as a COVID Community Health Worker to ensure members of the Latinx community in the western counties of North Carolina are receiving adequate education and resources during the pandemic. I am tasked with in person outreach into the community and organizing events to educate and hand out PPE (personal protective equipment). Vecinos is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the wellness of the farmworker population in Western North Carolina.
Since Vecinos, I also joined another non-profit organization called Hola Carolina based out of Hendersonville, North Carolina. Hola Carolina is the only Spanish media outlet in the western region of the state which is why I was thrilled to join as a bilingual multimedia journalist and photographer.
Walking gets too boring when you learn how to fly …
Dime quien camina, cuando se puede volar …Shakira