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Honoring our Heritage,
Celebrating Our Future

We are honored to share with you four stories of Hispanic individuals in South Carolina who honor our heritage by their perseverance toward a bright shared future for all people.

Week 1 - Sept 22

Emily Martinez-Villalobos

“I’m actually here. This is crazy. Me? In congress? I don't think so!”


As the eldest daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico and an alumnus of the Student DREAMers Alliance, Emily’s biggest dream came true this past summer as she completed an internship at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington D.C. 


Emily’s heart is grounded in her Mexican heritage and she’s adamant about being an inclusive and empowering individual who wants to make a difference, starting with the people in her community. 


We couldn’t be more proud of the work she is doing!

Week 2 - Sept 29

Pastor Manuel Mendoza

When talking about accomplishments and bettering oneself, Pastor Manuel Mendoza is an example of this and an inspiration to many.


When he isn’t working full-time for UPS, he’s helping people around him, “I do a lot at Morningside Baptist Church. Whether the Spanish-speaking families need translation and interpreting help or just getting their kids to school, I’m able to be a resource.”

Being Hispanic is very much intertwined with his identity as he says, “el que persevera alcanza (he who perseveres achieves). I come from a place of poverty and hopelessness; I’ve worked hard to get where I am, many times against the odds. I’ve had people who helped me and continue to do so along the way."

For Pastor Mendoza, being Hispanic means he has a beautiful community that is resilient and perseveres. By pouring into community members around him, Manuel hopes to see a vibrant, inclusive, and loving community.

Week 3 - Oct 6

Sergeant Diana Muñoz

“I don’t want a language barrier to exist when trying to communicate with law enforcement. I want them to trust us.”


Sergeant Diana Muñoz’s heart to serve led her to venture into law enforcement. She’s served with the GPD for the last nine years and has recently become the force’s first Latina sergeant.


“My dad was an officer in Colombia," she said, "and ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a police officer.” Muñoz's joy is helping people in her community and building up the next generation by showing them anything is possible.


“Being Hispanic is something to be proud of," she said, and we are certainly proud of the work Sergeant Muñoz is doing!

Week 4 - Oct 13

Ghisela Eljach

“My heart is to help people who were like me at 19 years old who are starting with nothing. I know how that feels, and I want to help.”

In 2015, Ghisela Eljach knew she wanted to get back to her roots by working with the growing Hispanic community in Greenville. “I didn’t feel like I had a publication to inform, entertain and connect me to other Latinos in the Upstate, so I decided I would make one.”

Ultimately, Eljach's passion lies in supporting people who walk in the shoes she used to fill.


“When you move to a new country and there’s a language barrier, simple things become so difficult. That’s why InSouth is so important to me: I’m finally giving people resources like what I needed when I first moved here.” 

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