News

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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Slurs in Soccer and Rampant Homophobia

Anyone familiar with international soccer is aware of the intensity and heart that goes with supporting your team. Passionate fans create chants to show support to their team and intimidate the opposing team. But what happens when that chant is downright offensive?

The Mexican National Team and its supporters are guilty of this, as the infamous “P—” chant rages on from friendly international games to high stakes cup games. What others call tradition, many are exposing it as homophobic and has cost the Mexican National Team to go through disciplinary action. As the fans continue to chant it, many worry about the team’s future at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“P—” is a homophobic slur that is used against men in the LGBTQ+ community, specifically against gay men. The real meaning of the word translates to a male sex worker[1] but its context today is more hateful than its meaning. This slur is a perfect example of how machismo in Mexican, as well as in Latin American, communities triumphs and creates harmful stereotypes against non-masculine men. Now, this slur is chanted across world stages, for all to hear.

The chant is believed to have started back in the early 2000s in club soccer.[2] Supporters traditionally yell it at the opposing team’s goalkeeper to intimidate them when kicking the ball. This eventually spread to the international stage, but it was not until the 2014 World Cup where it was front and center, stirring up intense controversy on the world stage.

Due to this prevalence in the 2014 World Cup, FIFA opened an investigation against the Mexican team citing its anti-discriminatory policy. The case was later dropped as they claimed it was not offensive in the context it was chanted in.[3] Many were unhappy with the decision and demanded disciplinary action that would address the homophobia present at these games.

Since then, FIFA has implemented a three-step protocol that would occur at any game where the slur is heard. The steps can be seen as follows:[4]

  • Step 1: Match stoppage and warning to fans.
  • Step 2: Match suspension and players moved to the locker room.
  • Step 3: Abandonment of the match.

However, the protocol is proving inefficient as many are now calling for the complete banning of the Mexico team and its supporters from important cups such as the World Cup. As of June 2021, Mexico supporters are banned from two upcoming World Cup Qualifiers due to their chanting in previous games. The Mexican Federation has also been fined for the chanting.

Soccer is an amazing sport filled with excitement and heart, and it has no room for rampant homophobia. The chanting of this slur showcases a problem that extends past soccer and into the rampant homophobia that exists in Latinx culture today. Conversations in the home and in the community are important to remove the stigma and achieve equality for all.

Works Cited

[1] Jaramillo, Juliana. “What Mexican Fans Really Mean When They CHANT Puto at the World Cup.” Slate Magazine, Slate, 24 June 2014, slate.com/human-interest/2014/06/puto-world-cup-what-does-mexicos-anti-gay-world-cup-soccer-chant-really-mean.html.

[2] “’Homophobic and Not Very Clever’: WHY Puto Chants HAUNT Mexican Football.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 18 June 2018, www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jun/18/puto-chants-mexico-football-world-cup.

[3] Hayes, Mike. “FIFA Clears Mexican Fans in Investigation of Anti-Gay Chants at World Cup.” BuzzFeed News, BuzzFeed News, 23 June 2014, www.buzzfeednews.com/article/mikehayes/fifa-clears-mexican-fans-in-investigation-of-anti-gay-chants.

[4] Borg, Simon. “Homophobic Fan Chant at MEXICO’S Gold Cup Matches: Here Are the Steps Taken If It Happens during a Game.” Sporting News Canada, Getty Images, 15 July 2021, www.sportingnews.com/ca/soccer/news/homophobic-fan-chant-mexico-gold-cup-matches-steps/w1kkmnihdex016ll8t5g9fm5g.

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 | GALEO URGES CONGRESS TO PASS URGENT IMMIGRATION REFORM

August 11th, 2021

GALEO

Erik Medina

Communications Manager

678.691.1086

emedina@galeo.org

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GALEO URGES CONGRESS TO PASS IMMIGRATION REFORM SOLUTIONS THROUGH BUDGET RECONCILIATION

 ATLANTA, GA – GALEO released a statement from CEO Jerry Gonzalez pressing Congressional leaders to continue to address some immigration reform solutions through the budget reconciliation process as the U.S. Senate moved forward the budget resolution early this morning.

“In recent years, we have come to realize and honor the significant contributions of Latino immigrants in the economic growth in the United States and Georgia. Many immigrants within our communities have worked the front lines during the global pandemic and are considered essential workers. At this critical milestone of moving budget reconciliation resolution forward that includes much-needed immigration reform relief for essential workers, we applaud the U.S. Senate for this important first step and urge quick passage,” said Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO & the GALEO Impact Fund.

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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Mental Health in the Latinx Community

By Alba Villarreal

Mental health is one of the most prevalent issues today with over 10 million people that report living with some kind of mental health disorder. Disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders are the most common issues in the United States.[1] Communities of color, specifically, have long struggled with mental health issues and often reject helpful resources due to harmful stigmatization of the topic.

Research shows that this stigmatization comes from a mixture of religious and cultural attitudes regarding mental health.[2] In most cases, it is deemed as incredibly taboo to not only seek help, but also talk about it. Immigrants and children of immigrants struggle with separating from the ingrained stigmatization. In addition to that, U.S. born Latinx/Hispanic people are more likely to have mental health issues than foreign born.[3] Latinx/Hispanic individuals often struggle with increased stress when dealing with poverty, immigration, and education.

While cultural attitudes may hinder Latinx/Hispanic people from asking for help, there are immense inequalities that keep the community from accessing help. According to the American Psychiatric Association, barriers to accessing quality mental health resources include lack of health insurance, language barriers, and difficulties recognizing signs of mental illness. While current statistics show that rates of mental illness are lower in non-white Latinx people than white people, those same obstacles create severe underreporting.

Now, discussions on mental health have once again resurfaced as people are struggling with the aftereffects of the pandemic. Black and Latinx communities were by far the most impacted by the pandemic. With higher rates of hospitalization and death, the pandemic heightened the very obstacles that prevent access to medical resources, such as mental health, at a time where it is needed the most. It is more important than ever to close these disparities as the world tries to recover from the toll the pandemic took on our communities.

 

Works Cited

[1] “3 Most Common Mental Health Disorders in America.” Access Community Health Network, www.achn.net/about-access/whats-new/health-resources/3-most-common-mental-health-disorders-in-america/.

[2] “Latinx/Hispanic Communities and Mental Health.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/issues/latinxhispanic-communities-and-mental-health.

[3] American Psychiatric Association. (2017). Mental Health Disparities: Hispanics and Latinos. https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Cultural-Competency/Mental-Health-Disparities/Mental-Health-Facts-for-Hispanic-Latino.pdf

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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DACA: Texas v. United States

By Alba Villarreal

DACA Background

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was implemented on June 15th, 2012 during the Obama administration to give temporary status to undocumented individuals who were brought into the country as children. DACA provided eligible, undocumented people the opportunity to have legal status and work legally in the country. This created more opportunities and equity within the undocumented community. Despite this, the status of DACA has always been threatened by those who believe the program is unlawful.

The election and subsequent inauguration of President Trump in 2016 challenged the future of DACA, as the administration threatened to remove the program. In June 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s cancellation of the program, keeping it in place.[1] At the time, this court ruling was a triumph for the DACA community and all undocumented people seeking legal status.

Texas v. United States: What happened

A year later, DACA was put forth for the US Supreme Court to decide its legality once again. This time, with different results. In Texas v. United States (2021) the court held that DACA was indeed illegal.[2] The opinion given by Judge Andrew S. Hanen stated that the program is unlawful and thus all future DACA applications will not be accepted. The judge has declared that this ruling will stand until certain issues with the program are fixed. If not fixed, DACA could be cancelled completely.

What does this mean?

The ruling has paused all future DACA applications, meaning the Department of Homeland Security will not accept any new applications. Individuals currently with DACA will be allowed to keep and renew their status. All pending applications are frozen and will not be processed for the time being.

What do we do?

The community must stand together and take action supporting DACA recipients as well as undocumented individuals. Reach out to your federal representatives and tell them to create a permanent solution and path to citizenship to not only DACA recipients, but everyone of temporary and undocumented status.

[1] “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: A Timeline.” The World from PRX, www.pri.org/stories/2020-05-28/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-timeline.

[2] State v. United States, Civil Action 1:18-CV-00068 (S.D. Tex. Jul. 16, 2021)

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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Education Inequalities

By Alba Villarreal

Brown v. Board of Education established the principle that separate, segregated schools could not be equal. Nearly 70 years later, our schools are still separate, and also extremely unequal. Unequal access to quality education stands as one of the biggest inequalities children face. While it is a problem that affects millions, it is non-white children that suffer the most direct harm due to these inequalities.

Black and Hispanic children, especially from low-income backgrounds, are not receiving the quality education that their white counterparts are. It is estimated that by the fourth grade, Black and Hispanic low-income children are two years behind their average grade level but by the 12th grade, they are up to four years behind.[1]Lack of funding and resources to schools with high minority populations contribute greatly to this issue, as current statistics show that “school districts that predominantly serve students of color received $23 billion less in funding than mostly white school districts” (New York Times, 2019).[2]

Public schools in low income areas suffer from underfunding and students who cannot afford private schooling suffer from lack of resources. These schools are thus not equipped with the books, technology, or experienced teachers that can benefit their students. In Georgia, more than half of all students who attend public schools are students of color, while more than 75% of students enrolled in private schools are white. [3]

Disproportionate access to quality education results in higher dropout rates, lower college admission rates, and lower overall income for Black and Hispanic populations. To ensure the future progress of minority communities, it is vital that children have the same access to quality education. Investing in children’s future means investing in their schooling and ensuring that appropriate funds are set aside for the communities that need it most.

______________

[1] US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. NAEP 1999 Trends in Academic Progress (p. 107) Washington, DC: US Department of Education

[2] Mervosh, Sarah. “How Much Wealthier Are White School Districts Than Nonwhite Ones? $23 Billion, Report Says.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Feb. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/02/27/education/school-districts-funding-white-minorities.html.

[3] “Quick-Facts-on-Georgia-Education  .” Georgia Department of Education , www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/Quick-Facts-on-Georgia-Education.aspx.

 

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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Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Continues Hearing Testimony on Civil Asset Forfeiture and its Impact on Communities of Color

The Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announces its third and fourth panels of speakers to provide testimony on the impact of civil asset forfeiture on communities of color in the state. The Committee is hosting a series of public meetings to gather testimony regarding the extent to which civil asset forfeiture in Georgia may have a discriminatory impact on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

The meetings will take place via web conference.

Panel III: Monday August 2, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern

·         Audio only dial: 800-360-9505; Access code: 199 979 8534

Panel IV: Wednesday August 4, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern

  • Register online (audio/visual): https://bit.ly/3iOL4Vk
  •  Audio only dial: 800-360-9505; Access code: 199 014 4101

Closed captions will be provided. Individuals requiring other accommodations should contact the regional program unit at (202) 618-4158 five business days prior to the meeting to make their request.

Members of the public will be invited to speak during an open comment period near the end of each meeting. The Committee will hear testimony from additional speakers to be scheduled through the fall of 2021 as necessary. The Committee will also accept written testimony submitted to mwojnaroski@usccr.gov throughout the duration of this project. Records from previous meetings on this topic, including recordings and meeting transcripts are available at: https://bit.ly/3kwW3DM.

“Civil forfeiture allows police to seize, then keep or sell the property alleged to be involved in a crime. This practice allows many police departments to use forfeiture to benefit their bottom lines, which increases seizures motivated by profit rather than fighting crime,” said Committee Chair Chantel Mullen. “The owners of said property may not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for them to permanently lose their cash, cars, businesses, or even their homes. This is a civil rights issue of enormous concern that deserves deeper research and discussion on its impact on Georgians from already marginalized communities.”

The Georgia Advisory Committee will issue findings and recommendations in a report to the Commission after all testimony has been received.

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The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, established by the Civil Rights Act of 1957, is the only independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights and reporting annually on federal civil rights enforcement. Our 51 state Advisory Committees offer a broad perspective on civil rights concerns at state and local levels. For information about the Commission, please visit www.usccr.gov and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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The Chavez Legacy

The Chavez Legacy

By Alba Villlarreal 

Julie Chavez Rodriguez is a civil rights activist who advocates for the inclusion of all marginalized folks. Her track record includes serving during the Obama Administration as the Director of Youth Employment and then as the Deputy Press Secretary for the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. She was recently appointed as the Director of White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs by Joe Biden in 2021.[1]

Before becoming one of the highest ranked Latinx officials at the White House, Rodriguez was known for her activist work supporting labor rights for farmworkers in California. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California- Berkeley, she worked as program director for the Cesar Chavez Foundation. On top of her many accomplishments and glass-shattering roles, she stands as the living legacy of her grandfather, Cesar Chavez.

Cesar Chavez is renowned as one of the leading activists for farmworkers’ rights. His fight brought positive change to thousands of farm workers in California and across the United States. A Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Chavez’s legacy is perfectly exemplified by the work of his children and grandchildren.

Chavez’s fight always centered the voices of the unheard and until his passing, he devoted his life to that struggle. His granddaughter now stands as a key player in the current fight for civil rights by directly working with the Biden administration and being regarded as one of the most influential Latinx women in the country.

The fight for civil rights and proper representation is ongoing and it is evident through the legacy of fighters such as Chavez that there have been true strides towards equality. Julie Chavez Rodriguez is one of many legacies that will pave the way for future Latinx leaders yet to come.

[1] “Cesar Chavez’s Legacy Is at Work in the White House.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2014, www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-white-house-cesar-chavez-20140401-story.html.

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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