Sneak Peak

Every Month we release a #sneakpeak on #swell. 

#latinaherstory April 

Kelly Camacho 


Buffalo, New York 

There's a difference when you RECKON something and when you know something. 

Like the difference between when you code and when you write. Coding is defined as a language used to program (= give instructions to) computers and reckoning is defined as to think or believe, basically giving instructions to neighbors. 

When a neighbor says, "I reckon," I'm full red, white, and blue ears, with stars on top. 

Teachers are responsible for teaching us to write and code. I reckon they are the most important role America has seen, second to parents and very close to soldiers.  

Buffalo Girl, Kelly Camacho, SUNY and public school grad, una proud Puerto Rican, knows teachers, she's the daughter of one. Under thirty, full of motivation and life, she currently lends her energy to NYSUT , New York State United Teachers. Per their website:

NYSUT is a federation of more than 1,200 local unions, each representing its own members. We are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA). We are also part of organized labor - the AFL-CIO - and of Education International, with more than 20 million members worldwide.

Kelly is an asset to NYSUT because her passion for helping neighbors understand the power of collective voice is connected to her deeper work of finding hers, shoes on and off, a little country, a little urbana. Her focus word is "union."

"Union" has meant a lot of things in America; at one point, it was a pseudonym for what we were fighting for. A word to remind our country during times of great dissent, we in the United States are people united by a national commitment to liberty, best spiced up by state identity. New York's spice would be something in between everything bagel, sofrito, and curry powder.

To a SUNY student "meet me in the UNION" means energizing food, fun, and friends.

This month, when we say UNION, we mean all of the above, but specifically the methodology we use as Americans: when we reckon... we might have some ideas, and we need some time to talk about them. 

Kelly's energy is what UNIONS need to keep those hearty conversations going, like meat and potatoes. 

Kelly's quote reads: "When many people have the same problem it becomes an issue. I would like to see our local and global communities move from a ‘me’ to a ‘we’ attitude. No matter what issue, if you fail to build solidarity and leaders, you have failed. The success of the movement hinges on our ability to build power in all communities. Our inclusion, protection, and solidarity with women, Black and Brown people, and LGBTQ+ is pivotal. The inclusion of groups for strategy and not solidarity is extractive."

Latinas are no stranger to "unions." Historically, we have contributed to their evolution, creation, and cupcake sales. Looking into the future, our roles will continue to evolve, but one thing will stay the same: the need to sign that card, sign it. And if you're spicy, you can join the ranks of folks like Kelly changing the world, it's like dinner, the more, the merrier," and like you girls know, there's work to do. 

Connect with Kelly on Linkedin and or a NYSUT near you!

Feature #50


MARCH 2024


"Projections" are defined as forecasts of a future situation, like when we try to guess which of our cousins will get the biggest rice and beans plate from Abuela or the extra Pegao. I like to inform my personal projections with lunch (at least) then data, good data, from solid sources, I deem reputable. I hope that #latinaherstory is one of those solid sources for you.

This spring, our "focus" words will be defined here in our community and then redefined in reality as you experience them with our #latinaherstory definitions as anchors. Along with definitions, offering a necessary layer of data from industry and academic reports to frame our individual experiences, we hope to intentionally contribute to our community discernment when choosing cosas like products, new sources, places, leaders, churches, cars, music, teams, and whatever else we want to #invest our time, streams, energy, and "likes" into. Shared vocabularies inspire future growth. As a Latina community, who we are and what is important to us influences our shopping. And our dollars say so, as we Latinos shop with purpose. According to McKinsey and Company, Latinos are conscious of our impact, choosing brands that value the environment and their employees, which makes us unique. Shopping trends and numbers have a huge economic impact over time, as the U.S. Census indicates over 1 in 4 Americans are likely to be Latino by 2060. In 2060, 3.4 million of the older adult population will be Latinos, according to our amigas, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

And time is face cream and money, baby (New York Accent). We have infinite options as we decide how to support older members of our community and ourselves. Firstly, depending on how we feel: con cafe con pan or cafe solo, lol. As we know, #latinas are culturally diverse but face common statistical realities. Commonalities bring us closer to the dinner table of life, and Latinaherstory is ringing the dinner bell.

While we need data, shared vocabularies, and humor to thrive through creative problem-solving in the carpool/school drop-off lane of life, our most valuable resources are our tias, abuelas, and mothers and their infinite wisdom that smells like fresh her perfect laundry and the hug you needed.

Centering on quotes of #latina wisdom, this month our quote belongs to Aileen Gonzalez- Marti of Buffalo, New York, Older Adult Program Manager at West Side Community Services, a bustling nonprofit full of diverse peoples and cultures, as a leader, Aileen states:

"Let's celebrate their lives as much as we celebrate ours."

She brings her passion for life through artistry, leadership, and working with our older adults. Back to you, this March, as you decide which STEAM programs, summer camps, daycares, senior programs, nonprofits, and or businesses you are trusting with your summer plans and or as you are starting, running, or supporting your own any of the above think of Aileen and her #latinaherstory wisdom.  During decision time, add in a couple shakes of data (approximately "no mucho"), add your prayers, and maybe call your Tia who has been waiting to hear from you or actually ask your older neighbor, "Dona qué piensas."

At Westside Community Services, Aileen is asking that question and informing programming with feedback directly from the source, our elders. As we plan for our community at large, first individually, we must project our household summer expenses to master the spring season. When you do, you will join the rest of us sneaking in our extra #makeup that we need legitimately. Also during budget time, check our scholarship tab for Latina-specific scholarships and more information about organizations like West Side Community Services, which we LOVE and give back to community continually. As we look forward to El Verano, projections are necessary. Summer is 111 days away from March 01st. Amen.


How did you find your calling?

By accident! Life has a way to center you in front of your future—you decide if you want to move north. I am glad I did!

What is the most exciting part of learning from others?When we allow ourselves the benefit of hearing the elders' stories and experiences, we inherit their wisdom and knowledge.

What values were taught in your home that you rely on today and how do they inform your leadership?

Respect, humbleness and empathy. By exercising these three, I provide a platform of trust for others to follow me and support me in to success. 

How do you unwind and/or disengage?

Those that know me know ART is my life. I can't live without it. To unwind, I submerge myself into color and textures that I mix with my personal experiences."what do you use data for"can we change this one for:

What is a person of substance for you?

Me! I am in this world to make a change and to be part of something greater than myself. I choose to be an active participant. I like to be part of the solution.

"What is your mother's favorite song?"

The answer is part of her "consumer profile" and part of her consumer data.
Consumer Data is big business, along with computer science and the tech field.
Latinas drive data by generating an information trail when we naturally and organically navigate to the digital sites, physical places, and businesses that are important to us. For my country folks think Think Hansel and Gretel. Each one of us and our data path, individually, is of interest to the benevolent forces that work to support our economy. As a community, mastering our data helps us better invest in ourselves. As individuals, increasing our families' individual data mastery and understanding of our consumer/spending profile helps us better invest in our families and the critical things they need to succeed. Knowing your stuff makes you a better spender, and we are BIG spenders.

As exhausting as being bilingual or bilinguish is, we must learn new words. In the C-suite corporate world, "Data resilience" is a word hot like a new TAKIS flavor. Data resilience is defined as an actor's ability to rebound from connectivity and data breaches. In our Latina everyday life, "Data resilience" can be likened to your family's ability to rebound when your favorite child or cat knocks off the Wi-Fi and screech from the Disney + ers / Youtubers raise. The COST to your family's social capital is the emotional despair of each individual member and child when your Wi-Fi fails you. Children need their Wi-Fi; Gloria Dios, don't lose their tablet. Lol, they are super not playing. You are the Chief Information Officer if you are the "la unica q sabes el Wi-Fi code" or the one who does the household shopping. Congratulations on a new title; we must build data terms into our language and work to keep our kids' and families' data as safe as their physical bodies. Miha, the internet is a new rodeo, but (and we have new boots with sparkles- yeehaw). Increased awareness of our data includes your passwords, usernames, your children's personal information, your personal information like birth dates, your parents' information (if you are caring for them), and so much more.
Everyone has a techy prima that we call, but today, we have substantial help from within urging US to enter the tech field and shape it to our desire.

 Organizations like "Latinas in Tech," with 23 chapter cities, a job board, a business directory, and memberships, "LIT" is a source of inspiration, joy, and constancy. TECHERIA is another organization that encourages and engages Latinos in the professional Tech space. There are local tech initiatives near you. Immediately, though, be aware of how you store and form passwords and usernames. Some websites generate passwords because using Abuelas' maiden name is no longer the vibe, and they are free Google "password generators." Stay connected with us and read this column, as trending data, business, and other topics will be the focus of our spring season. This month's word focuses are Data, Data resilience, Chief Information Officer, and Computer Science. 

Mi amor, if you are the techy weird cousin- you are winning, kid, and if you are the mother/ tia of one, be proud. We need them. Last thing. Computer science is the field of study of the development and testing of software and software systems. And it's what the young ones with yesterday's sweatpants and ramen noodle diet are studying. FEED THEM and send them your love. We will need them. To all my #latinaherstory Chief Information Officers, In between Takis, rice and beans, basketball/hockey practice, chorus/cheer, church, meetings, your home business, the laundry, amazon orders (a must), Walmart runs, and going missing at target for quiet time, You got this data stuff, I promise, and we are here to help at

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor 




First day of my internship at the United States Supreme Court and the tour guide stops in front of the portrait of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and says “When she got here, WE (the women) were allowed to wear pants”.  

I was wearing a skirt of course, but it was the way (the tour guide, a New Yorker and Columbia grad) looked at the portrait. The look of admiration stayed with me. I decided success was having other women believe in your leadership. And then immediately spotted the cafeteria.  

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor served our nation as a jurist, as leader, and as a living example of justice, you know how hard that is when you have a bad hair day and the same hairspray as everyone else? 

If you ever WORE a full suit but FELT like a Denim Jacket, you know service is the personal commitment to transform yourself, in the interest of others.  

As a Justice, service is a commitment made forever. All-American Hero, big like her Texas heart, her impact on the law is immeasurable.  

As Latinos we are often encouraged to feel distance between ourselves and the judicial branch and the courts, but that distance is in fact proximity. You know more than you think. 

 The first Latina, a Boricua, intern to staff the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office hailed from the innovative SUNY Brockport Washington Internship program, Jody, who works at John Jay.  

The second was me, part of the same program. The first Latina Supreme Court Justice was Justice Sotomayor, and the day I mean the actual day she opened her chambers (office), I was in attendance in a thrift store sourced suit, eating a bagel, thinking “WOW-this is big stuff?”  

As a member of the Supreme Court Intern Family my privilege is to lift Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and sing the praise of a country girl who fought for us, women. 

A home-school kid, turned Stanford graduate, Presidential Medal recipient, Female senator and the first woman to serve as majority leader for the Arizona Senate, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She was somethin. 

I feel and will always feel a part of the institution that Sandra embodied. My boss told me “We are a family at the Supreme Court” so when I was exploring DC, when I felt lost or hit the wrong button on the google directions button, I knew I could call them at any time. 

The Supreme Court itself it an institution that thousands of us have invested in. Its authority is self-evident in our shared belief that the common good can be determined by a select few, who are trusted. That trust is well placed and the American servants that are today’s jurists are navigating a new world of challenges with the same dedication as the old-world traveling court justices (before we had a building the Supreme Court would travel from place to place via carriage) with the visibility of modern stars/attorney like Kim K. Humbly we pray god claims their heart for righteousness.  at the end of her life, Sandy (her country name) wrote children’s books.  

Her Amazon book review of “Finding Sandy” reads in part: “Sandra’s parents let her learn for herself that these animals are best suited to the wild, though it is often hard to let them go.”  

As Latinas and as Americans, many of our lessons are learned at home like this one and Sandys., I think of the important role many of us play in educating the future Sandy’s of America.  

Tell them her story, tell them she did it so we could wear pants, the literal and physical ones. And buy these cute books amazon and honor her journey which laid the path for our one pant suit at a time. 

#RIH #Justice #Sandra #Day #O’Conner 

You changed the world with your big Texas smile you are #Latinaherstory January 2024  





Narrative Column Featuring Latina Leaders in NEW YORK 


Talia Rodriguez J.D. 








EDUCATION: M.S.- LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY, Westchester, Education/Counseling and Bilingual Education 

PAST ORGANIZATIONS: Hispanic Womens League, Los Tainos Senior Center, SUNY Buffalo State University, Bennett High School, Uncrowned Queens


#DECEMBER #LATINAHERSTORY, Author #talia #rodriguez 

I struggled to learn to read in both languages. I always felt old fashioned red, white, and blue smart but with spelling I wasn’t a winner. After 46 months of Latinaherstory as a published “columnist”, the Doctorate etc, I still remember STARING at the page: BLANK, SAD, MAD, and tiny. Mrs. Gilbert knew I was smart and her 6:30 AM prep period was dedicated to helping us both prove it to the world, all before school breakfast at 7:30 AM....

When I didn’t feel good enough, down to my bones, I thought about god. Abuela was Pentecostal, y’all know I wasn’t ever the first one to the passage when Pastor called it, but I got the message. I tell my son who is in first grade now. God makes us all perfect, it’s the journey that shows your gumption, and that’s if you got any. 

I call myself a “folk writer” because I write to talk to people, directly, like my neighbors. That’s why “A.I’ and “Chat GPT” didn’t sit right with me, at first. Till someone pointed out, the very real fact, I would be toast, with and without cafe, but for SPELLCHECK.  He said spellcheck was “artificial intelligence” and I started hearing different cus, I know, I know, a lot of words I cannot spell.

For the “kids” (with their little backpacks) It’s a new ball game, and its faster. They don’t know what it feels like to WONDER, they don’t know the world without instant answers, or the fear of them. I remember the sound of AOL Dial up. 

We all need guidance and a living example for me, was Alicia Granto, in a skirt suit, at the Hispanic Women’s League brunch and other places. Always upright, a vision of civility, and the perfect mix of business attire and warmness, I needed, to feel like my cardigan would someday be a blazer. Undeterred, I missed the deadline for the Hispanic Women League’s scholarship that year but within the days research I found AAUW and later the confidence to apply for a grant. Dedication to a persistent call to excellence powered by empathy is what Alicia Granto embodied for me as a student.  

She reflects on the values she learned as a child.

"The values that I acquired as a child were much more modeled by my parents than taught to me per say. No one sat with me and said "this is what you do and this is what you do not!" That inculcated in me the importance of showing our youth how to empower themselves as happy, productive human beings by role modeling that behavior rather than preaching to them."

I have worn numerous hats in my life career wise and professionally. I started in the educational field and after dabbling in other areas, here I am today still pursuing my passion and what I believe I am really good at which is helping others maximize their potential. I am convinced no other endeavor would make me feel as fulfilled as being an educator and a provider of overall wellness."

When asked to define a leader she states: 

“A leader to me is someone that others tend to follow spontaneously not necessarily because they brand themselves as leaders.” 

Alicia Granto is one single person whose investment in WNY is felt globally through the work of her family and through the thousands of hands belonging to students whose hearts she shaped. This December, remember, being brave enough to believe in someone is a gift specifically when it seems unlikely.  

Oh and think of me, and give a kid some space, a calculator, and spell check (and a snack if you’ve got one handy) and see what happens next. 

Genius – is my guess.  #gloriadios for the world is better because of teachers and nourishing souls like Alicia. 

Oh, and thank you Mrs. Gilbert, I guess you were right!



#Alicia #Granto #MRS #DECEMBER #2023 

Her advice for a woman walking into a room (boardroom) full of men: 

Walking into a room where you are the only woman of course, it's unnerving and natural to feel stressed. One needs to tell herself " I am as worthy to be here if not more than any of these guys". I always caution, don't feel the urge to say something just to open your mouth, it's OK to just listen until you take time to formulate your thoughts and really contribute."

Est. 2019


A latina centered storytelling community. 

Est. 2019