Latinx Growth in Metro Atlanta

By Jimena Somilleda

As of 2020, metro Atlanta is one of the fastest-growing regions for Latinx growth. Over 49% of all foreign-born residents in metro Atlanta identify as Hispanic and/or Latinx. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2010, metro Atlanta’s Latinx population grew from 268,851 to 547,400. The dramatic increase in growth within the Latinx community has proven to have a powerful economic, cultural, and social influence on the city of Atlanta.

The Census of 2020 goes beyond to demonstrate that the Hispanic/Latinx community continues to grow in the greater metro Atlanta area. After analyzing the data gathered from the 2010 and 2020 Census, Atlanta saw a 31% increase in the Hispanic population in just   10 years. The tremendous amount of growth within the Latinx community is due to the ever-growing business scene in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The metro Atlanta region has quickly become a hub for business that attracts a lot of promising job opportunities. The rise of job opportunities in the area has influenced the growing presence of Latinx people in the region. It is expected that if the trend of Latinx growth continues, in 2040 metro Atlanta will be home to over 820,000 Hispanics  and Latinx people, making metro Atlanta one of the fastest-growing regions for the Hispanic/Latinx population.

The heavy and increasing presence of Hispanics in metro Atlanta has brought about a boom in Latinx-owned businesses that contribute to the local economy. As more and more Hispanic and Latinx migrants settle in the metro Atlanta area, they establish their own businesses that spread their culture to a majority Anglo culture. Latinx culture has snuck its way into mainstream gastronomy trends, entertainment, and recreation in the greater Atlanta area. This creates an appreciation and certain level of admiration for the growing Hispanic population in the area. The cooperation of Hispanic and Latinx businesses in metro Atlanta is contributing to a growing presence and empowerment of Latinx and Hispanic residents. This newly found empowerment inspires movements for Latinx and Hispanic residents to run for elected office positions and advocate for needs of the growing Latinx and Hispanic populations in the area.

The growing Latinx and Hispanic population in metro Atlanta makes this region a focal point for a marginalized group. It’s an opportunity for Hispanics and Latinx people to thrive, establish  businesses, and advocate for their communities. The quick growth of the Latinx population in metro Atlanta demonstrates the impact of the Latinx and Hispanic community in the United States.

Works Cited: atlantas-hispanic-latino-communities/ ation-trends


NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at

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Spanglish Between Generations

By Jimena Somilleda

As more and more first-generation Latinx Americans continue to grow up in the United States, Spanglish continues to develop. Spanglish is a recent linguistic phenomenon that blends grammar, syntax, and slang of both English and Spanish. In more recent times, Spanglish has been perceived as a fake, Americanized version of Spanish and has posed the question: is Spanglish a valid language? Spanglish speakers who were raised in the United States make the argument that Spanglish is a newly reformed version of Spanish. On the other hand, Spanish speakers who were raised outside of the United States tend to reject the validity of Spanglish and make the claim that Spanglish is an indication of lack of knowledge in the Spanish language. Many linguists trace Spanglish back to the habit of code-switching which is the tendency to seamlessly switch between English in Spanish. While some may look at this as uneducated, many perceive this linguistic development as a stride towards a progressive and ever-changing Latinx culture. 

Speaking Spanglish became popularized with Chicanos and has bled into other Hispanic and Latinx communities present in the United States. This new dialect came about from the blending of English and Spanish to communicate amongst a totally new and unique generation of Latinxs. The incorporation of both English and Spanish vocabulary in the same sentence and even mixing of everyday words such as “parquear”, “troca”, and “lonche” have caused controversy among generations of Latinx-Americans. 

In mainstream America, many younger generations of Latinxs are speaking more and more Spanglish. This is in part due to the fact that many are raised speaking Spanish at home and English at school. However, this is perceived by many as a sign of a lack of education and class. Older generations of Latinxs in the U.S. resent this development to their language, claiming it is the American colonization of their native tongue. Among older generations, Spanglish is seen as the white-washing and simplification of their language, which serves to explain their disdain towards this linguistic development. This is made evident with the controversy surrounding Spanglish terms such as “Latinx” because it is seen as an unnecessary change to the language. 

To counter this argument, younger generations of Latinxs are speaking Spanglish more fluently in order to accommodate for the influence that the majority Anglo culture in the United States has on their traditional Latinx and Hispanic heritage. Among younger Latinx-Americans, Spanglish is a unique form of linguistic self-expression that blends pivotal parts of two distinct cultures. Over the years, Spanglish has become more politicized, but it seems that younger Spanglish speakers defend this new Spanish dialect and support its development. Spanglish is becoming popular among the younger generation because it is diverging away from gendered nouns and pronouns and even introduces new terms that describe the first-generation Latinx-American experience. These characteristics of Spanglish make it more inclusive to the younger generation of Latinos while still keeping in touch with their cultural roots through language. 

Despite the ongoing controversy surrounding Spanglish and its validity as a language, many can agree on the fact that Spanglish is a new development to what can be considered an ancient language. More than that though, Spanglish is an attempt to hold on to tradition and carry it into a generation of diasporic Latinxs. The blending of two distinct languages and the habit of code-switching is an attempt to hold on to a language from a culture shared at home, while generations continue to prosper in a distinct American culture.

Works Cited

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at

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GALEO Searches for Deputy Director


For almost 20 years, GALEO has been committed to greater civic engagement and leadership development across Georgia’s Latinx community. Georgia and its elections are once again primed to be the focus of the national stage in 2022 and 2024, and GALEO’s nonpartisan efforts to educate and engage the Latinx community and increase access to voting are more critically important to the support of our civil infrastructure and community engagement in our democracy than ever before. As the team and the organization grow to meet the call to action, GALEO extends an invitation for nominations and applications for the position of Deputy Director.

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the Deputy Director will be a strategic thought-partner and exceptional manager working collaboratively with staff, board, and stakeholders to build and sustain both the organization and the voter rights movement’s infrastructure in service to impacted communities in Georgia. The successful candidate will be a proven manager with demonstrated ability to be both hands-on and agile in support of organizational goals. S/he/they will oversee a team, office management, administration, finance, and budgeting, and will inform and align strategic growth and programming goals to operational excellence in service to GALEO’s mission.

A successful candidate will have a passion for GALEO’s mission and significant experience in each of the following operational areas: administration, facilities and office management, human resources, and finance. S/he/they will be a creative and strategic thinker, strong at improving and institutionalizing processes, a quick learner, and a team player committed to strengthening organizational culture.



• Directly supervises a team of 3-5 employees; actively partners with them to maximize their respective operations.
• Assists CEO in strategically investing resources in both short-term and long-term goals.
• Will lead the programmatic operations and programmatic development of the Organization.
• Track important KPIs and analyze trends.
• Forecast return on investment (ROI) for current and future programs.
• Recruits and actively develops the capability of staff to meet current and future staffing needs.
• Sets performance goals and provides on-going feedback, coaching, and development to enhance the staff’s capability and to drive a culture of coaching and continuous improvement; reviews performance in a consistent, fair, and objective manner to facilitate open communication and to encourage continuous development and performance improvement.
• Provides the tools, resources, and training needed for staff to effectively perform their respective roles.
• Cultivates and stewards an organizational culture of respect, trust, and transparency.
• Ability to serve as a strong and authentic spokesperson for the Organization’s mission in partnership with the CEO.


• Oversee cash flow management, staying apprised of restricted vs. unrestricted funds.
• Serve as liaison to Accountant in order to ensure financial processes are followed and documents are submitted in a timely manner.
• Work with Accountant and CEO to develop roles and responsibilities for annual budgeting process.
• Inform key stakeholders of financial status and investment plans.
• Ensures proper organizational controls to protect against fraud and embezzlement.
• Ensure all financial operations comply with federal and state laws.
• Coordinate audit activities.


• In conjunction with the CEO, manage the hiring, on-boarding and off boarding of employees.
• Oversee administrative functions as well as facilities to ensure efficient and consistent operations.
• Recommend new approaches, policies and procedures to effect continual improvements in efficiency of the Organization.
• Manage the Organization’s employee time management system and process.
• Manage Organization’s on-and off-site vendors, including troubleshoot any vendor requests, needs, or concerns.
• Work closely with the leadership team to support the organization’s culture, communication, and strategic plan.
• Further develop the Organization’s human resources and administration, enhancing professional development, compensation and benefits, performance evaluation, training, culture-building, and recruiting.
• Ensure all department and organization policies and procedures and activities are compliant with government laws, regulations, and guidelines to promote equity, growth, and a positive culture.
• Performs all other duties as assigned.


While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

• Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university or equivalent professional experience; CPA or MBA, preferred.
• 6+ years of overall professional experience; ideally 6+ years of broad financial and operations management experience in a nonprofit environment.
• Commitment to training programs that maximize individual and organization goals across the organization including best practices in human resources activities.
• A successful track record in setting priorities; keen analytic, organization and problem-solving skills which support and enable sound decision making.
• Exceptional management and leadership skills; ability to encourage team building and collaboration; ability to connect with all staff and stakeholders at various levels of the Organization.
• Excellent communication and relationship building skills with an ability to prioritize, negotiate, and work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
• A multitasker with the ability to wear many hats in a fast-paced environment.
• Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and dedication to the Organization’s mission.
• Leadership experience in government, business, or nonprofit preferred.
• Understanding of and sensitivity to political, social, and economic issues of affecting Latinx community.
• Must be fully bilingual (English/Spanish) for both conversation and written.


More information about GALEO may be found at:

GALEO offers a competitive benefits package including paid time off, health benefits with the option to add dependents and/or enroll in a HAS or FSA plan, basic life and AD&D insurance, an EAP program, and commuter benefits program. Benefits can be viewed here. Target compensation is $80,000 with final salary offered commensurate with experience.

GALEO is partnering with Katherine Jacobs, Julian Jackson, and Jess Powers of NPAG on this search. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applicants may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.

GALEO is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity.

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

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Classism in Education

By Jimena Somilleda

Classism is defined as the prejudice against or in favor of people of a certain societal status. In recent years, classism has become more and more prevalent in our everyday lives, including education. This has created an unequal educational system that favors wealthy communities and gives students of a lower income a huge disadvantage. Classism in the education system can be measured using different factors, such as: availability of resources, students’ internet dependency, and students’ lives beyond high school graduation. These manifestations of classism highlight and perpetuate the disparities among different social classes. 

The distinctions between affluent students from well-off districts and students from lower-income districts are evident in many aspects of academia. For example, students from school districts located in more affluent districts tend to perform significantly better on standardized tests such as the SAT or the ACT. This is due to the fact that these students have access to resources such as private tutors, expensive practice programs, technology, etc. On the contrary, students from less affluent communities present lower test scores. This is a result of their lack of expensive resources such as tutors and learning programs. Consequently, these students aren’t performing very well academically, in the classroom, or on test scores. In addition, more affluent school districts receive a substantial amount of funding from grants and loans, which permits their students to access tools, programs, and resources available to them to help these students gain a lead in academic success. 

Classism has snuck its way into our education systems in ways that make it seem almost invisible. Another way in which classism is present in education is the recent trend of internet dependency. This was made especially evident after the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to in-person instruction and made the transition to virtual learning. School districts located in areas that are more well-off have access to technology that enables a different kind of learning experience. This better learning experience will catapult the students to success. On the contrary, many students who aren’t from an affluent school district will oftentimes struggle to get their hands on a computer to complete their routine homework assignments. School districts, administrators, and teachers are indulging ignorance when assigning routine online homework and study material. In doing so, some students are able to get ahead while many may fall behind. 

The classism in education doesn’t stop after obtaining a high school diploma. On the contrary, classism becomes magnified in higher education. Colleges and universities have become a manifestation of classism, especially with the growing dependency on technology and the societal pressures associated with college life. Essential tools and resources needed to make it through the challenging process of getting a degree are oftentimes very expensive or reserved for a select few, leaving many students at a huge disadvantage on their scholarly journey. Colleges and universities nationwide utilize online homework programs and requirements of purchasing a textbook. Besides this, they also use expensive housing, meal plans and strict attendance policies to name a few examples of devices that can be seen as inherently classist. These examples oftentimes pose a challenge to many students and places lower-income students at a disadvantage. Post-secondary institutions are progressing in their learning experiences and teaching methods, but in doing so, they are displacing and disregarding the circumstances of low-income students. 

Classism has maneuvered its way into our education systems and its influence has raised red flags among lower-income students and communities. To prevent the impacts of classism in education it is important to consider its impact on lower-income students. It is also imperative to consider how classism impairs their abilities to continue learning. Making progress towards equal opportunity for all students is seen as an elusive goal because equal opportunity does not always mean equal achievement.  It is important to hold academic institutions accountable and call out these institutions of oppression to make strides towards a more equitable future with equal opportunities for achievement. 

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at


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The Haitian Immigration Crisis

By Jimena Somilleda

In recent weeks, thousands of Haitian immigrants have crossed the Rio Grande between Ciudad Acuña and Del Rio in hopes of seeking asylum in the United States. Mass migration efforts spiked in lieu of the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse in July 2021 and after the strike of a catastrophic earthquake. However, when migrants from Haiti and other countries arrived at the Texas-Mexico border, they were met with U.S. Border Patrol authorities on horseback armed with whips. Currently, there are more than 10,000 Haitian immigrants detained at the U.S. – Mexico border awaiting deportation as efforts to crack down on the border intensify.

U.S. officials at the border are quickly trying to process the migrants and asylum seekers detained at the border. Meanwhile, in Mexico, authorities are enforcing strict immigration protocols in attempts to prevent more migrants from approaching the U.S. Border. As of now, there are thousands of migrants and asylum seekers, many of them Haitian, being detained in between the U.S. and Mexico. They currently face the decision of staying in Mexico or turning themselves in to U.S. officials and being deported back to their home nations.

After Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, the United States granted temporary protected status (TPS) to Haitian migrants, but the Trump administration let this policy expire. The Biden administration renewed this after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the recent earthquake that wreaked havoc on Haiti. Some migrants were able to obtain TPS on the claim of asylum, but some weren’t as fortunate. Many migrants from Haiti were detained and put  in planes to be deported back to Haiti immediately. Many Haitian migrants however, crossed the border, and at one point more than 10,000 migrants established a massive encampment under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

As many Haitian migrants continue to cross the Texas-Mexico border, U.S. Border Patrol Officials were waiting on horseback, using whips to round up Haitian migrants and shouting “Let’s go! Get out now! Back to Mexico!”. Many inhumane and violent crimes have been committed against migrants and asylum seekers by Border Patrol officers, despite Biden’s promise to implement more humane immigration policies and practices. Pictures of U.S. officials on horses, rounding up migrants, have gone viral and have caused an uproar of backlash from the general public.

What is occurring in the southern border of the United States has brought attention to the inhumane and unjust immigration practices implemented by American officials. Many have claimed these practices to be fueled by racism and hatred. Regardless, it is important to consider that many of these migrants are making this life-threatening trek in hopes of a better life in the United States. The events seen at the border are hateful and unnecessary. Something must be done to end this violence.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at

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A Closer Look into Hispanic Heritage Month

By Alba Villarreal

It is Hispanic Heritage Month (or “HHM”), a month that celebrates the culture, history, and pride within the Hispanic community. As our community celebrates throughout the months of September and October, it is important that we highlight the history of this holiday as well as the impact it has had on our communities. Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off every year on September 15th until October 15th, which to some may be odd. However, these dates have great significance for the Hispanic community. 

Internationally, September 15th is known as the day the Act of Independence of Central America was ratified by five Central American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. These five countries declared their independence in 1821 after being under Spanish colonial rule for hundreds of years. Many attribute the Mexican War of Independence, which began 11 years prior and celebrate their independence on September 16th, as the instigating force behind these liberation movements in Latin America. Other Latin American independence days in September include Brazil’s, which is on September 7th, and Belize’s, which is on September 21. President Lyndon B. Johnson designated September 15th as the first day of Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. It wasn’t until 1988 when Ronald Reagan signed a bill that extended Hispanic Heritage Week to a month and it has remained that way since. 

Since this holiday’s creation, people have used this time to educate their community about issues and advocate for more equal rights. Many believe that companies and politicians take advantage of Hispanic Heritage Month because they pander to the community in hopes of achieving financial gain. Taking the time to educate leaders and influential people about Hispanic Heritage Month and its significance can make the difference between honoring Hispanic and Latinx people and using them. 

Over the years, people have also called for more inclusion during the month. Many have voiced the opinion that the narrative surrounding HHM has always centered around lighter skin Hispanic and Latinx people, excluding Black, brown, and indigenous people. Prominent examples of this exclusion can be seen in media, where actors that have a lighter complexion such as Salma Hayek will be favored over actors like Yalitza Aparicio. For an inclusive, and culturally accurate celebration of the month, there needs to be more inclusivity. 

Celebrate this month by attending events in your community and by being inclusive and prideful in your culture! 

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at

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  September 22, 2021


Erik Medina

Communications Manager





ATLANTA, GA – Earlier this week, Haitian migrants arrived at Del Rio, Texas, seeking refuge in the United States. However, the migrants were greeted by an abuse of power from the Border Patrol that became inhumane and despicable.

Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO, stated that “Haitian migrants should be welcome and protected in the United States. They came seeking refuge. The cruel and reprehensible treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas is unacceptable and must be denounced. The efforts of the Border Patrol indicate a broken immigration system long-grounded in racism, bigotry, and cruelty. The Biden administration must thoroughly investigate the Border Patrol and hold them accountable for their inhumane deeds.”

GALEO will aid the efforts and amplify the voices of organizations assisting Haitian migrants and advocating for the refugees’ protection.

GALEO is a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, founded in 2003. GALEO strives for a better Georgia where the Latinx community is engaged civically. GALEO contributions increase civic participation of the Latinx community and develop prominent Latino leaders throughout Georgia. – 888.54GALEO


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The Dangers of Disinformation

By Alba Villarreal

COVID-19 disinformation is false information that is spread with the intent of being harmful. As the pandemic rages on, COVID-19 disinformation is becoming more common throughout the country.  Communities who are most vulnerable are intentionally targeted to receive COVID-19 disinformation. It is specifically aimed at Latinx and Hispanic communities in the form of conspiracies. Disinformation is also the result of fear mongering, leveraging language barriers that harm the Latinx and Hispanic communities.

Hispanic people are limited in Spanish-language sources and rely heavily on unofficial, sometimes false sources to receive COVID-19-related information. When the information is not readily available to them in Spanish, they outsource to the internet to provide them with any information about COVID-19. Social media platforms like Facebook and messaging applications like Whatsapp help spread conspiracies at dangerous rates and can cause more harm than good.  In fact, a study conducted by VotoLatino shows that Facebook is the leading platform for the spread of disinformation amongst the Latinx community.[1] The community also heavily relies on Spanish radio and television.

In Miami, a Spanish radio show host was advertising a medicine named Ivermectin to treat COVID-19. [2]Despite being a drug used for livestock, Ivermectin gained a reputation of being able  to treat human illnesses involving parasites and then as a cure for COVID-19.[3] The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned against using the drug as people are reporting severe illness after taking it. This instance is one of many where Latinx and Hispanic communities are fed false information that can lead to serious harm.

The harm that’s done extends past taking dangerous deworming medicine. It is also in the vaccination rates of the Latinx and Hispanic communities. While Latinx people represent 17% of the total vaccinated population[4], surveys show that amongst unvaccinated Latinx individuals, 51% are not planning on getting the vaccine. Unsurprisingly, that percentage rises to 67% in Spanish-speaking households. (Votolatino, 2021) The hesitancy of Hispanic households from taking the vaccine shows how effective the disinformation is and the urgency to promote factual information about COVID-19.

Disinformation is distinct from misinformation as disinformation is intended to be harmful. In a nation where a significant percentage of the population speaks Spanish, it is important that both disinformation and misinformation are limited. COVID-19 has already taken a toll on our communities and science shows that vaccines are incredibly effective in reducing further harm. If vaccine disinformation spreads, our community will continue to suffer. Government agencies and credible news sources should put in more effort to reach out to Hispanic and Latinx communities to ensure that factual information is spread.

[1] “NEW Study: Facebook Is Primary Driver of Covid-19 Misinformation in the LATINX Community, Fueling Vaccine Hesitancy.” Voto Latino, 2021,

[2] Sesin, Carmen. “Spanish-Language Covid Disinformation Is Aimed AT Latinos as DELTA SURGES.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Sept. 2021,

[3] Collins, Ben, and Brandy Zadrozny. “Ivermectin Demand Drives Some to pro-Trump Telemedicine Website.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 27 Aug. 2021,

[4] Nambi Ndugga  “Latest Data On COVID-19 Vaccinations by Race/Ethnicity.” KFF, 18 Aug. 2021,


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Imposter Syndrome

By Alba Villarreal

Imposter syndrome is one of the most misunderstood, yet universally experienced phenomena in the Latinx community. It is defined as intense feelings of self-doubt and not belonging, both which can severely affect mental health. Like the name implies, people who experience this in their everyday lives feel like imposters. Navigating as an “imposter,” they are constantly afraid that one day they will be exposed as being a fraud. According to a study by the Behavioral Science Research Institute, nearly 70% of professionals have experienced imposter syndrome. [1]

While it is not an official diagnosis, imposter syndrome is very real in the psyches of Latinx individuals who struggle to find their place in majority white academic and professional settings. As the Latinx community grows and enters the workforce and higher education, many find themselves lost and unsure of their abilities. Women, especially, are more common to struggle with 54% reporting it, making Latinx women and other women of color the most susceptible to imposter syndrome.[2]

One of the most common spaces that imposter syndrome is experienced is in academic settings, where large numbers of Latinx students struggle constantly. Without proper support, these feelings of self-doubt can grow and create such stress on a student that it leads to poor grades and risks their academic future. Many predominantly white colleges and universities are not equipped with addressing students through this hardship and thus lose many students every year. This can explain the lower college graduation rates in Latinx communities.

Even post-graduation, Latinx individuals go on to struggle with imposter syndrome in professional settings. Navigating a new career in a predominantly white space can be difficult for Latinx folks and for many, it strains productivity and mental health.

Without proper resources and the disproportionate access to education for Latinx communities, people will continue to struggle with imposter syndrome. Mental health resources such as therapy can improve conditions that create such feelings of doubt. However, diversifying our professional and academic spaces will significantly reduce the prevalence of imposter syndrome.

[1] -, Shirley Gomez, et al. “Coping with Imposter Syndrome, and Surviving to Tell the Story.” BeLatina, 25 Aug. 2020,

[2] Muller-Heyndyk, Rachel. “Female and Younger Leaders More Susceptible to Imposter Syndrome.” HR Magazine, 2019,

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at

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A group of Hispanic/Latinx Decatur and Avondale Estates residents/professionals/friends came together to propose a colorful, cultural, and historical series of events to be held between the two cities during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15, 2021).

Hispanic Heritage Month was created to promote the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic- Americans, from one of over 30 countries and territories that make up Latin America. Communities all over the US mark the achievements of Hispanic and Latino Americans with festivals and educational activities. The team saw an opportunity to bring these rich and diverse cultures to both Avondale Estates and Decatur, in a way that hadn’t been done before – and the city governments for both agreed! The result is Placita Latina: a series of weekly “mini-events” that highlight Hispanic/Latinx performance, food, and culture from September 15, through October 15, 2021.

These “mini-events” will include a mix of Latinx-inspired music, dance, art, education, and flavors:

  • La Placita Latin American “Coffee Tasting” and Outdoor Performance + DJ (co-branded with “Welcoming Avondale”): September 16, 2021. 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Banjo Coffee, in Avondale Estates, featuring Mexican dance in the Huasteco style by Ballet Danceando. Family Friendly. There will also be an “After Party,” featuring DJ Fernando F from 7:00 to 10:00 PM at the “Beer Growler” in the same
  • Salsa On The Square and La Choloteca – DJ La Superior “After Party:” September 18, 2021 Salsa Band Performance by El Kartel & Socially-distanced dance Instruction: 6:00 to 8:00 PM, La

Choloteca “After-Dance- Party” 8:00 PM to 10:30 PM with DJ La Superior performing, sponsored by the Decatur Business Association.  Both events on the Decatur Square.

  • Placita Latina Mercadito Outdoor “Pop-up Market” and Dance Performances. October 3, 2021, between 1:00 and 5:00 PM, at the Lost Druid Brewery and Washington Street, in Avondale Estates. Featuring Latinx artisans, vendors and street food. Family Friendly. Featuring Solo Mariachi, and Dance performances by Ballet Peru and Ballet Colombia.
  • “What Makes Us Who We Are” a Latinx Artists Showcase This is a closing event (in partnership with the Decatur Arts Alliance): October 8, 2021 from 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Decatur Visitors Center

The first two Placita Latina events also take place during Welcoming Week, September 10-19, hosted in collaboration with the Welcoming committees of both Decatur and Avondale Estates. Welcoming Week is an initiative of Welcoming America which represents a network of hosts around the world who strive to make their communities a more welcoming place for all.

The event team is also working with local businesses (and business associations), offering them tools to create their own “Placita Latina” specials and mini events, during the month-long celebration.

There are already 25 participating businesses (and counting). A complete list can be found at

This is the first collaboration of this scale between Decatur and Avondale Estates — hopefully the first of many.

The Placita Latina team consists of two Avondale Estates residents: project founders; Adela Yelton and Mayte “Maria” Peck – and five “Decaturites:” Maria Alvarez, Kris Webb, Miguel Martinez, and Hector and Christy Amador. The team is a diverse mix, including Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Peruvian Americans, Nicaraguans, and their partners.

When some people think about “Latin America” they are often unaware of the diversity of the people, history, food, music, culture and even languages of the countries that are included in this group.

Maria Alvarez, committee member and owner of “MyVirtual CFO-Atlanta,” has experienced this lack of knowledge, firsthand:

“I have lost count of how many times I’ve been asked if I am from Mexico, even after I tell them I’m from Nicaragua. I know a lot of wonderful people from Mexico, but our cultures are very different – Nicaragua is three countries away. Once I explain this, they usually ‘get it.’ For me, finding ways to educate people about the cultural richness and ethnic diversity of the Latin American people is so important – which is why I love being part of Placita Latina. Getting to know our neighbors can only create strength in our community. Plus, I never turn down a good party.“

What Placita Latina is bringing to Decatur and Avondale Estates will help promote positive narratives about Latinx people and culture in a way that is not only highlights contributions to our cities, county, state, and country, but can also be characterized, in Maria’s words, as a “Good Party.”

Learn more about Placita Latina at:

  • Website: com
  • FB Page: Placita Latina Georgia
  • Instagram Page: placitalatinaga
  • Twitter Page@PlacitaLatinaGA


About Our Committee Members:

  • Adela Yelton, (program Chair and Event Co-creator)

Adela is a former Avondale Estates City Commissioner and host of the growing podcast, Latina South. which features inspiring stories of Latinas making things happen in their families, businesses and communities. Adela was recently named as one of the 50 most influential Latinos in Georgia in 2021 by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

  • Maria Alvarez (program CFO and Business Relations coordinator)

Maria is a recent resident of Decatur, but is originally from Nicaragua, and has also lived in Italy and Alaska. She is the CEO of “My Virtual CFO,” handling financial services for a variety of large and small companies. She has been very involved in the LBGTQ community, serving as Treasurer for the Anchorage Pride festival in Anchorage Alaska for 3 years and Treasure for Radical Arts for Women for 3 years.

  • Mayte “Maria” Peck (originally from NYC, raised in Peru) Event Co-creator

Mayte (“Maria”) is President of SheLends Consulting and is the Principal Managing Partner at Mark of The Potter. As an entrepreneur and business advisor, Maria has made it her life’s mission to educate and prepare women and minorities for access to capital. She also served as Board Chair for the nonprofit Latino Community Fund of Georgia. Mayte was also recently named as one of the 50 most influential Latinos in Georgia in 2021 by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

  • Miguel Martinez: (originally from Guadalajara, Mexico) Creative Video Production, Vendor Relations

Miguel is an Emmy-Award winning, independent contractor for Univision, Atlanta and is active in several Georgia-based Latinx community organizations

  • Hector Amador: (originally from Mexico City Mexico) Photography, Storytelling, and Art Exhibit co- chair

Hector is a Decatur resident, and the owner of Amador Photo, and is the official photographer for the City of Decatur. He is on the board of the Decatur Arts Alliance.

  • Christy Amador: 576.9617 Placita Latina Vice Chair and Marketing & Communications Chair

Christy is Director of Communications for ADP. She is a longtime resident of Decatur and has served as a committee co-chair for Decatur’s “Better Together” program.

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