Our Essential Heroes

From September 15 to October 15, in observation of Hispanic Heritage Month, Atlanta History Center is honoring and highlighting the Latinx community for their continuous contributions to American society. According to the Latino Community Fund (LCF), more than 1 in 10 people who live, work, and study in Georgia are of Latin American descent.  

To recognize the contributions of essential workers of Latin American descent in Georgia, LCF Georgia, along with Emmy-award-winning photographer and videographer Miguel Martinez and photographer Hector Amador, created a campaign to uplift the stories of those essential heroes who go unnoticed in our daily lives. The #GALatinxHeroes project incorporates representation from diverse economic sectors, identities, and communities.  

Despite often being overlooked, these individuals toil every day to better our state and provide for their families across a wide range of fundamental industries.

At the forefront of the pandemic, essential workers sacrificed their personal health and time with loved ones to save, serve, protect, teach, maintain food supply, and much more. Each person featured here has been personally affected by COVID-19 yet continues to give and contribute to Georgia and their local communities.  


Martin Aquino

“I am proud to be Latino, and the work that I do makes me proud because we contribute to the economy of this country, and my family is taken care of because I generate money to sustain them.”


Felicita Alfaro

“I feel proud to be an essential worker, but at the same time I feel sad. Migrant farm work is not appreciated and valued. We could be sick and still be expected to keep working and picking up the harvesting so that people can eat. We were very affected during the pandemic.”


Dr. Paulina Rebolledo

“What does it mean to be Latinx during these pandemic times? It allows me to serve as an expert for the community by providing information on what we have seen in the hospital systems and in all the areas of the pandemic.”


Marcelo Silva

“For me, being Latino during the pandemic has been a bit more difficult because there has been little information for Hispanics. When it started, first responders were given resources to be protected, but other essential workers had to be more careful because they didn’t take us into consideration at that time.”

Food & Beverage.

Macario Ponce

“As a member of the LGBTQ community, the pandemic has affected my close friends and me; it has affected the people I work with every day. My whole family was affected with COVID-19; I was affected, my father was in the ICU for two weeks, but thankfully he came back.”


Miriam Martinez

“Teaching is a profession that cannot stop. When I was affected by the virus, I had to isolate myself for 14 days. My symptoms were terrible, though I did not have to go to the hospital. I didn’t stop working, and I was able to teach via zoom.”

Civic/Public Service.

Jacinto Hall

“Many Latinos have not been educated on COVID-19, so I see myself as a bridge for the community to relay correct information because there are a lot of myths out there. The pandemic has brought us closer as a family. We are checking on each other’s health.”