In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are highlighting stories from DA employees and what inspired them to pursue a career in public service. Meet Legislative Assistant Briana Zavala, who joined the DA’s Office as a Student Worker in 2016 and became a Legislative Assistant in 2018.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your position and how you got where you are?
I grew up in Southeast San Diego, graduated from Lincoln High School, and received a full-ride scholarship to UCSD. For most of my life, I believed in the idea of meritocracy. I believed that if you worked hard, you would be successful. However, after going to college and studying Sociology, Ethnic and Gender studies, I quickly realized that opportunity plays a major role in that equation. I am where I am today because not only did I work hard, but I was given the opportunity to be a Student Worker at the DA’s Office over five and a half years ago. I am grateful to JJ Anderson and Grace Liu for mentoring me to be the young woman I am today.
Now, as Legislative Assistant, I have the opportunity to work with office executives to create laws that will not only benefit our office but the entire state. I am proud of where I am, but I have every intention of continuing to grow within the County by taking on leadership roles. While I love the work that I do, my favorite job is being a mom to two beautiful, sweet and kind little girls.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? Why is it important?
Hispanic Heritage month is important to me because I am proud to be Mexican American. It is a time to celebrate diversity and acknowledge the history, culture, and achievements of the Hispanic community. I hope that during this month of celebrations we will use it as an opportunity to educate and have conversations about the lack of opportunity, resources, and marginalization that Hispanic people face to this day. Representation does not equal decolonization. As public servants, we must not only celebrate but hold ourselves accountable for more than can be done in our positions. I ask my colleagues to celebrate this month by reading about mental health barriers in the Hispanic community. The article can be found here.
¡Si se puede! Together we can, and together we will.