News

PRESS RELEASE: GALEO STANDS WITH HAITIAN MIGRANTS

  September 22, 2021

GALEO

Erik Medina

Communications Manager

emedina@galeo.org

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GALEO STANDS WITH HAITIAN MIGRANTS

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.

www.galeo.org – 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, votolatino.org/media/press-releases/vaccine-hesitancy/.

[2] Sesin, Carmen. “Spanish-Language Covid Disinformation Is Aimed AT Latinos as DELTA SURGES.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Sept. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/spanish-language-covid-disinformation-aimed-latinos-delta-surges-rcna1809.

[3] Collins, Ben, and Brandy Zadrozny. “Ivermectin Demand Drives Some to pro-Trump Telemedicine Website.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 27 Aug. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/ivermectin-demand-drives-trump-telemedicine-website-rcna1791.

[4] Nambi Ndugga  “Latest Data On COVID-19 Vaccinations by Race/Ethnicity.” KFF, 18 Aug. 2021, www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/latest-data-on-covid-19-vaccinations-race-ethnicity/.

 

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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, belatina.com/latinos-impostor-syndrome/.

[2] Muller-Heyndyk, Rachel. “Female and Younger Leaders More Susceptible to Imposter Syndrome.” HR Magazine, 2019, www.hrmagazine.co.uk/content/news/female-and-younger-leaders-more-susceptible-to-imposter-syndrome.

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 jerry@galeo.org

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PRESS RELEASE: PLACITA LATINA: CELEBRATING HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH IN DECATUR AND AVONDALE ESTATES

PRESS RELEASE

DECATUR and AVONDALE ESTATES, GA, 09/03/21: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PLACITA LATINA: CELEBRATING HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH IN DECATUR AND AVONDALE ESTATES

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 placitalatinaga.com

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

Contact:

laplacitalatinaga@gmail.com

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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A Possible Path to Citizenship

By Alba Villarreal

On August 24th, 2021, the House of Representatives passed a 3.5 trillion dollar budget resolution that could greatly affect the lives of millions of Americans. House Democrats set aside billions of dollars to improve the quality of life for working-class families by proposing Medicare expansion, paid family leave, and child care. Immigration reform, however, is also a possibility with the passing of this budget plan. 

With over 10 million undocumented immigrants today, it is immigration reform that is one of the most controversial yet necessary tasks that lawmakers have to deal with. Democratic lawmakers hope to provide solutions for undocumented individuals by proposing some time of immigration reform that creates a clear and more efficient path to citizenship. Providing legal status to the undocumented individuals would require lawmakers to adjust current immigration law, which has been pretty stagnant. Since the implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, immigration law has not provided solutions to those who arrived in adulthood. DACA is on the line due to the recent Supreme Court ruling.

Immigration reform is not only popular amongst activist circles, but also extremely popular amongst voters. The ACLU published a new poll that shows favorable support for immigration reform such as “The Dream Act” and another alternative. 

According to the poll, there is strong support from the public of both of these proposals. For the Dream Act of 2021, which allows undocumented people who came to the country as children and have grown up here to have a pathway to citizenship and protection from deportation, the total percentage in support is 72%, much greater than total percentage of those who oppose (19%). The second question proposes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, immigrants who work in essential industries, and temporary protected status holders facing violence or natural disasters in their home countries. This second question also sees strong support with 63% in favor, while the total percentage in opposition is 36%. 

With increased support and the passing of the budget resolution, many are optimistic for positive reform. Many that any reforms passed are in the best interest of the undocumented community and help them live a more prosperous life in the United States.

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 jerry@galeo.org

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Press Release: JERRY GONZALEZ HONORED AS AN INFLUENTIAL LATINO IN GEORGIA

 

 

September 1, 2021

GALEO

Erik Medina

Communications Manager

emedina@galeo.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GEORGIA’S 50 MOST INFLUENTIAL LATINOS RECOGNIZED AND HONORED TODAY

JERRY GONZALEZ INCLUDED IN THE HONORS AS AN INFLUENTIAL LATINO IN GEORGIA

 ATLANTA, GA – On Wednesday, September 1st, 2021, the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce celebrated “The 50 Most influential Latinos” in Georgia who have created an impact on our state of Georgia in 2021.​​ Jerry Gonzalez, the CEO of GALEO and GALEO Impact Fund, was honored for his work and advocacy of the Latinx-Hispanic community and electorate during this year.

Other recipients of the award include Brenda Lopez (Former Board Member of GALEO, Board Member of GALEO Impact Fund), Christopher Perlera (Former Board Member of GALEO Impact Fund),  Deborah Gonzalez (Former Board Member of GALEO), Glianny Fagundo ( Board Member of GALEO Impact Fund), Sofia Marie Bork (GIL Graduate), Maria Vinces Peck (GIL Graduate), Hector Gutierrez (Board Member of GALEO Impact Fund and GIL Graduate), Génesis Castro (GIL Graduate, former intern and canvasser), Jason R. Anvitarte (Former Board Member of GALEO), David Araya (GIL Graduate and Founder of Hope), Angela Hurtado (GIL Graduate and Founder of Hope), Jason Esteves ( Board Member of GALEO and GALEO Impact Fund), Adela Yelton (Board Member of GALEO), John King (keynote speaker at GALEO events and programs), Juan Mejia (Realtor for GALEO and GALEO Impact Fund), Zulma Lopez (keynote speaker at GALEO events and programs), Shirley Ann Smith (Board Member of GALEO Impact Fund) and Yehimi Cambrón (keynote speaker at GALEO events and programs).

“I am very honored to receive this recognition by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It is inspiring to see how many other Latinx-Hispanics were honored and the work we are all doing to make sure that the voices of our communities are heard. The fact that so many of the recipients are part of the GALEO and the GALEO Impact Fund family fills me with pride and motivates our organization to keep up the good work,” expressed Jerry González, CEO of GALEO and GALEO Impact Fund after receiving said recognition.

The awards ceremony can be viewed here.

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.

www.galeo.org – 888.54GALEO

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GALEO CEO Jerry Gonzalez’s Testimony on Redistricting

August 30th, 2021

My name is Jerry Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (aka GALEO), the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund and the GALEO Impact Fund.  Our organizations are focused on promoting civic engagement and leadership development of the Latinx community in Georgia.  Our promise to our community is to build a better Georgia where our communities are respected and honored for our significant contributions to our state.

GALEO was started in 2003 by then State Senator Sam Zamarripa, State Representative Pedro Marin along with myself as its founding Executive Director.  Our idea was to create a catalyst of engagement of the Latino/Hispanic community in our state to ensure our voices were heard, respected and courted for policy matters that impact our communities directly.

GALEO focused our work to ensure our community is engaged and involved in policy decisions and are active participants in our democracy.  We assist eligible citizens to register to vote, often overcoming language access barriers.  We encourage Latinx voters to turn out to vote in all elections.  Our organization has assisted newly naturalized citizens to register to vote at naturalization ceremonies where we have successfully assisted over 40,000 new Americans with the voter registration process.  We have assisted Legal Permanent Residents with their citizenship applications in order for them to become U.S. citizens and participate further in our communities, including exercising their right to vote.  We have assisted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) apply for their work permits in the years past.  We have encouraged participation of all Latinos in two Census enumerations in both 2010 and 2020.  We have advocated this Legislature in favor of pro-immigrant policy solutions and also advocated against anti-immigrant initiatives.  We even testified during the last redistricting cycle in 2011 against the legislative maps because of intentional dilution of Latino community’s ability to elect candidates of choice, especially in Gainesville where the city was carved up into several districts to avoid minority majority population thresholds.  We have advocated for a federal solution to our broken immigration system and we are supportive of current efforts to ensure some immigration reform relief through the current Congressional Budget reconciliation process.

Under our leadership development efforts, we have graduated over 687 people from our annual and statewide GALEO Institute for Leadership, with our current co-hort of over 25 participants scheduled to graduate in November 2021.  We have partnered with Georgia State University to provide our leadership skills development to Latinx scholars for several years now.  We have conducted several annual Latino Leaders Summit where Latinx community members continue to come together to learn about our policy priorities and how to engage with policy makers, enhance their professional and community organizing skills.  Furthermore, we have also conducted Latino Leadership Series in both English and Spanish in Savannah, Columbus and we are going to Dalton for our next one.  Due to the ongoing pandemic, we do hold many activities via zoom and also stream them on facebook live for greater access to our communities.

Since 2003, the Latino electorate and the Latinx community have clearly grown into the fabric of Georgia and are an integral part of our present and a significant factor for our state’s future.  To begin with, the Latino electorate has grown from just 10,000 Latino voters in 2003 when we were founded, to well over 385,000 voters in our most recent 2020 elections, representing over 4% of Georgia’s electorate.  In the report we recently published, we documented that the Latino electorate grew by over 141,000 voters since the 2016 election alone, demonstrating a 58% growth rate.  The report is significant because we partner with NALEO Educational Fund to conduct a surname match of the electorate, which otherwise would miss over 35% of the total Latinx electorate.  More information is available in the report.  All of you should have received a letter from me on the release of the report and a link to the report was provided for your reference, as well as details about your current Latino voter constituency.  The majority of the Georgia Latino electorate is under the age of 40 and has registered to vote as early as 2020. Also, most of the electorate is female, and Latinas outpaced their male counterparts in voter participation.

The top Metro Atlanta counties also account for a large share of the Latino electorate, and the top ten counties account for 62.3% of the entire Georgia Latino electorate and account for 64.7% of the Latino voter turnout in the 2020 election.

In the top five congressional districts, the Latino vote had a prominent force compared to previous years. Most of the Latino voter density resides in the Metro Atlanta Congressional districts. Latino voters in Congressional Districts #6 and #11 had the highest Latino voter participation rates in the state with 62.4% and 57.9%, respectively. The Georgia Legislative Districts also indicated growth in the total number of Latino registered voters, with the top five districts almost doubling the amount of voter registration and voters of 2016.

On a national level, the Latino vote increased by 6 million voters since the 2016 election cycle, approaching a record number of 18.7 million voters in 2020. Reportedly, one in 10 voters was Latino in 2020. Additionally, younger Latinos ages 18 to 40, with about 2.4 million voters, were first-time and newly registered voters. The Latina vote was vital in many battleground states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Georgia.

The US Census Bureau released new population data showcasing the multiracial growth of the United States. In Georgia, there was a growth of 10.57% in the total population compared to the last Census published. Furthermore, the Hispanic community in Georgia grew by 31.6% and accounted for 26.3% of Georgia’s growth.

The Census data release demonstrates the continued growth and strength of the Latinx community in Georgia.  The Census is about power and money.  As the Georgia Legislature begins to draw lines for district maps, communities’ interests should be taken into account.  Legislative and local districts should be drawn to ensure that communities responsible for the growth get their fair share of both power and resources.  As the Georgia Legislature will soon convene for a redistricting special session, we hope you will respect the multi-racial change in our state and ensure appropriate maps are drawn to provide a more representative democracy that reflect Georgia’s growing diversity.

Our communities would also want for greater transparency of the redistricting process.  To date, the legislature has conducted several hearings across the state with significant input from community members demanding the same thing, greater transparency.  We need greater clarity on the process.  We would like to know the timeline of maps being drawn, the timeline of when maps are proposed to when and how community members can assess and possibly submit alternative maps directly to the Georgia Legislature.  Georgians need to have access to the maps and have an understanding of how and when the proposed maps will be presented.  Georgians should also have the ability to substantively comment and raise questions and concerns from legislators in the process.

Will everyday Georgians have access to the reapportionment legislative office or will it be for politicians only?  If so, what would the process be?

What will be the process and timeline for local redistricting efforts?  Will this be done during the special legislative session or during the regular scheduled legislative session in 2022?

These are some questions that deserve answers for Georgians to understand, which would enable Georgians to further engage in our redistricting processes.

Given this legislative’s body passage of the most recent voter suppression law, SB202, there are concerns that the redistricting efforts will also be a form of voter suppression against people of color in our state.  Redistricting maps should meet the core underlying principles and legal protections of the Voting Rights Act.  Our communities are rightly concerned about tactics to undermine communities of color’s ability to elect candidates of choice through packing, cracking and voter dilution.

We do also know from many years of data and analysis that race is a proxy for partisanship, especially in the Deep South.  Because of this, there are strong concerns regarding the declining white population and the increasing communities of color population will lead to intentional discrimination against voters of color through the redistricting process.  Coalition districts of Black, AAPI and Latinx communities should be considered in order to elect candidates of choice for our communities of color.  The values and interests across our communities of color indicate a strong alignment on many issues like education, access to healthcare, pandemic relief, immigration and voting rights issues.

Many Georgians have already expressed their interests for more transparency.

Y tambien muchos de nuestra comunidad les avisaron que era necesario de tener aceso para personas que no hablen ingles.  Y ustedes ignoraron esos demandes de la comunidad.

There has been no effort to make any of this process more accessible to those who do not speak English, even as our Georgia community continues to diversify.

So far, legislators have not provided any feedback or responses of the concerns and questions raised by constituencies across the state with the initial set of redistricting hearings.  There has been no information shared about the process nor timeline.

We all know both the electorate and the Census enumeration indicate a decline of white voters and an increase in voters of color.  Communities of color share similar values and interests and should have a right to elect candidates of their choosing.  This legislative process should respect and honor both the growth of the electorate and population with fair districts drawn to the benefits of the communities that are driving the growth for our state.

Thank you.

 

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Colorism in Our Communities 

By Alba Villarreal

Colorism plagues the existence of Latinx and Hispanic individuals in the United States. As communities fight external conflicts such as voter suppression and poverty, conflicts such as colorism are often pushed aside. Despite this, colorism is still a heavily prevalent cultural and political issue. 

Colorism is the preference for lighter-skinned individuals at the expense of people with darker complexions. Due to the large diversity of Latin America, the problem of colorism is part of every facet of society, especially representation in the media and politics. 

As there is a surge in Latinx and Hispanic-centered media, representation is perhaps at its highest point. In 2021 alone, there are several blockbuster movies such as In the Heights, West Side Story, and Eternals that feature Latinx or Hispanic leads. This increased representation in the media has sparked conversations about clear displays of colorism. While they showcase diversity, colorism thrives as most of the leads represent lighter-skinned individuals. In the Heights is the most prevalent example of colorism and clear bias. While In the Heights had one of the most diverse casts, many were angry at the lack of black Latinx actors in the leading cast. 

In the political realm, most Latinx and Hispanic elected officials tend to be lighter-skinned or white-passing. This perpetuates a trend of white people and white-passing people keeping the power in our government. Colorism makes it harder for darker-skinned individuals from accessing these positions of power and representing people who look like them. 

Colorism directly harms Black people and darker-skinned people as they limit opportunities and disenfranchises them more than non-Black and lighter-skinned people. Ultimately, representation is not impactful when Black and other non-white individuals are continuously sidelined and marginalized due to their skin color. The Latinx and Hispanic communities have to face internalized colorism and call for more representation that extends past white-passing individuals.

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 jerry@galeo.org

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Luis Grijalva: A Dreamer in Tokyo

By Alba Villarreal

As the excitement of the 2020 Olympic Games settles, athletes are returning home after proudly representing their country. While the return is not as significant for most athletes, for Luis Grijalva, it almost didn’t happen.

Luis Grijalva is an Olympic athlete who set off to Tokyo to represent Guatemala as a long-distance runner and is also a DACA recipient. When qualifying for the games, he faced the challenge of not being able to return to the United States if he chose to leave for Tokyo because of DACA restrictions.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that allows thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children to remain in the United States to work and study. [1]As it currently stands, DACA does not allow for reentry unless it is for special circumstances. Those seeking travel permissions must apply for a reentry permit and be approved. The process is long and costly, which hinders the mobility of DACA recipients.

Grijalva arrived in the United States when he was just one year old and has remained here ever since. After discovering a passion for running, he became a star athlete at a collegiate level after receiving athletic scholarships.[2] His athleticism and perseverance made him an Olympic hopeful for the 2020 Tokyo games. He then qualified for the Guatemalan Olympic Team. The travel restrictions in DACA haunted him, as his Olympic dream was in jeopardy.

In an Instagram post, Grijalva stated,

“DACA takes away my freedom of ever leaving the country and be able to come back in… It would be an honor and a privilege to represent my home country but also be able to be a voice and represent over 600,000 Dreamers like me.”

After petitioning the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, he received approval for reentry and embarked on his Olympic journey. Grijalva finished 12th in the Men’s 5000m Olympic finals and was able to return to his family in the United States.

Grijalva’s story represents thousands of immigrants who seek freedom and equal rights in the United States but are hindered because of their status. DACA allows for more opportunities and freedom, but as its future remains uncertain, it is important that our community continues to call for more permanent solutions for undocumented immigrants.

Works Cited

[1] “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca).” USCIS, 19 July 2021, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-of-deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals-daca.

[2] Salcedo, Andrea. “DACA Recipient Gets Approval to Compete in the Olympics: ‘I’m Going To Tokyo’.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 July 2021, www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/07/28/daca-recipient-tokyo-olympics/.

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 jerry@galeo.org

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PRESS RELEASE: CENSUS REVEALS GROWTH OF THE LATINO COMMUNITY IN GEORGIA

  August 12th, 2021

GALEO

Erik Medina

Communications Manager

678.691.1086

emedina@galeo.org

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CENSUS REVEALS GROWTH OF THE LATINO COMMUNITY IN GEORGIA

 ATLANTA, GA – The US Census Bureau released new population data showcasing the multiracial growth of the United States. In Georgia, there was a growth of 10.57% in the total population compared to the last Census published. Furthermore, the Hispanic community in Georgia grew by 31.6% and accounted for 26.3% of Georgia’s growth.

Additionally, the Census Bureau provided the legacy format redistricting file with important information about counties, cities, towns, and neighborhoods and their population and demographics. Legislators receive this information to use this critical information to redraw district maps based on the data.

Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO, released the following statement:

“Today’s Census data release demonstrates the continued growth and strength of the Latinx community in Georgia.  The Census is about power and money.  As policymakers begin to draw lines for district maps, communities’ interests should be taken into account and districts drawn to ensure that communities responsible for the growth get their fair share of both power and resources.  As the Georgia Legislature will soon convene, we hope they will respect the multi-racial change in our state and ensure appropriate maps are drawn to provide a more representative democracy.

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 are involved in increasing civic participation of the Latinx community and developing prominent Latino leaders throughout Georgia.

www.galeo.org – 888.54GALEO

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