Barrios & Virguez April 2018

APR 2018



Last week, I spoke with a client who was in such a situation. She told me her heartbreaking story of abuse and unimaginable circumstances. Afterward, I shared with her my own story and how it led me to where I am. I wanted to help her understand that, while it may not feel like it now, she would overcome this. Clients are often shocked when I share my story with them. I think the idea people have when they come in is that we won’t “get it” because we’re attorneys. When I tell them that I’ve been a victim, too, we connect on a different level. It changes their perception, and I hope it changes from hopeless to hopeful. I want people to realize that you can be successful even in seemingly hopeless circumstances. Even in the darkest hours, there is still hope. If you want to change your situation, you have to believe that, and hearing stories of people like you who’ve gone through the same thing can help. It’s empowering. That’s how I feel when I see examples of other women overcoming stereotypes and persevering in the pursuit of their dreams. When I see the women in our office kicking butt every day, I feel empowered. There’s someone who looks like me reaching their goals! Angie, Jannyn, Veronica, Bettina, and Gilsy are all mothers, and when I see how they are pursuing their careers and being awesome moms, I’m inspired to believe I can, too. My parents always taught us that we could do it all, regardless of gender or where we’re from. I’ve grown up with that mindset, and I hope to instill it in others. I want to empower everyone on our team to believe that they can achieve their goals. We make sure to meet at least once each quarter to check in and hold each other accountable. We push each other to reach our dreams.

In March, we celebrated International Women’s Day, a dedication to the achievements of women all over the world and ideas that bring about greater equality. It made me think about the inspiring women I work with and the incredible people we serve. Many of the people who come to our office are women — wives, moms, and daughters — whose husbands, sons, brothers, and fathers have been taken from them. Women are often left to piece their life back together and figure out what to do next while looking after the family. These women are holding the seams of society together as the threads are pulled apart. We feel the effects throughout our community as families try to navigate their new reality. WHO RUNS THE WORLD?

We are here to empower all people who face injustice. We fight for those whose power has been stripped away, who’ve been discriminated against

or told they don’t matter. Can you imagine what the world would be like if those people ran the world? I think it would be a much better place. Don’t you?

–Keren Barrios

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WHAT IS MOMMY-SHAMING And Why Does It Need to Stop?

Social media is a great tool for keeping up with family members’ busy lives and sharing many aspects of your own life, including pictures and updates about your children. However, some parents opt to keep information about their children off social media because they have found themselves harassed by a new group on the internet: mommy-shamers. Mommy-shaming is when people such as relatives, strangers, or other moms openly criticize a mother for her parenting choices, which may cause her to feel ashamed or doubt herself. Mommy-shaming is very popular with celebrities — take Chrissy Teigen for example — but nonfamous mothers fall victim, as well. It’s a popular and unkind trend. Why do mommy-shamers feel entitled to bash other moms for their parenting choices? Some experts, like Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, point to scientific and historical evidence that people within a social group tend to gain structure by tearing down others around them. By being mean to outsiders — or moms who parent differently — the clique is strengthened, and a mommy-shamer’s status rises. It’s very characteristic of junior high students, but it’s also not uncommon in adulthood, and the results can be damaging to a mother’s self-esteem and confidence. Heather Quinlan, a psychotherapist in Connecticut, has seen many patients who have dealt with mean moms. She says, “Whether it’s a mom being snarky, exclusionary, judgmental, manipulative, or outright cruel, it can cause major distress for the women on the receiving end of the behavior, and it creates hugely unhealthy relationships.”


Our office assistant at Barrios & Virgüez, Jannyn, is the first point of contact for our clients, and she’s the perfect person for this role. Her compassion and eagerness to help others make her a valuable asset to our team. Jannyn works closely with attorneys Jorge and Keren to stay informed of legal policies. When she first interviewed at the firm, she knew instantly it was going to be a good fit. “I really liked how Jorge and Keren are as people. They try to help us out as individuals, not just as employees. They check in with us and ask about our dreams and goals, and they help us work toward those goals.” While working at our firm, Jannyn is also pursuing a degree in criminal justice, and the cases she sees at Barrios & Virgüez lend a real-world context to the terms she learns in school. “It helps with the schoolwork (I learn terminology and background information), and vice versa — what I learn in school helps me be better at my job.” As the first point of contact, Jannyn has a lot of empathy when clients share their personal experiences. When it comes to immigration stories, they hit close to home — she is petitioning for her mom and husband to become citizens. “I feel like it helps me better understand what a client is going through.” At the end of the day, Jannyn looks forward to returning home to her 3-year-old daughter. She also finds a creative outlet in coming up with makeup tutorials for her popular YouTube channel.

Parents post photos of their children online to share about their lives, not to expose them to the harsh opinions of other people. Sharing photos and stories of your child on social media shouldn’t mean you have to deal with ridicule. If you feel the need to share your opinion about someone else’s parenting style, ask them if they want your advice first. Hopefully, the mommy-shaming trend will soon fade, and women will support each other in raising healthy children.

We’re so glad to have someone as knowledgeable and compassionate as Jannyn at our firm, and we know you will be, too. 2


Every day in Gwinnett County, our community is affected when our family members are taken from us. As Keren said on the cover, we often see moms, wives, and daughters come to us for help after the men in their family have been arrested or deported. Jails often work with immigration officials, which means if you’re arrested, you could be at risk of going to a deportation center. While you can’t avoid every situation, there are steps you can take to minimize the risks you and your family are exposed to. FIND ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION Driving without a license when they don’t have legal status is one of the main ways people end up in immigration court, so one thing you can do to minimize this risk is to avoid driving whenever possible. Is biking or taking the bus a possibility? Check out bus routes at HAVE DOCUMENTATION READY Make sure that your IDs and passports are not expired and that members of your family know how to find that information in case of an emergency. SAVE MONEY It depends on the judge, but bonds for immigration holds are usually very expensive — some are set as high as $25,000. If you find yourself or a loved one in this situation, having money put away could be the difference between an extended stay in jail and freedom.

While it is a challenging time to be an immigrant, these preventive measures could make a difference for you and your family.

If you are concerned about your immigration status or that of a loved one, our firm is a safe place to turn. Many of our families have gone through the immigration process, so we have personal and legal knowledge of what the experience is like. We are here to help you. Contact the law offices of Barrios & Virgüez and find out what else you can do to keep your family and yourself safe. TRIVIA RI I




a. St. George b. St. Joseph c. St. Martin d. St. Agnes

a. Earth Day b. Intergalactic Alien Day c. Human Rights Day d. International Children’s Day



a. “To Give” b. “To Open” c. “To Start” d. “To Stop”

a. Peony b. Sweet Pea c. Foxtail d. Bee Balm

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678.934.4958 INSIDE THIS ISSUE

4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Suite K Lawrenceville, GA 30044

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How We Empower Others

The Newest Internet Trend: Mommy-Shaming Meet Our Invaluable Office Assistant, Jannyn


Keep Your Family Safe



The Origins of April Fools’ Day



Although April Fools’ Day has been celebrated for centuries by cultures around the world, the holiday’s origin is unclear. Historians point to a variety of possible beginnings, but the only solid conclusion is that the April Fools’ Day we know today is a blend of traditions.

and hoaxes. People placed paper fish on the backs of March celebrators to symbolize young, easily caught fish and referred to them as “poissons d’avril,” or “April fools.” HILARIA Other historians have linked April Fools’ Day to the ancient Roman festival Hilaria, which was celebrated at the end of March. The festival honored Cybele, a mother of gods, and celebrations included parades, masquerades, and jokes to honor the vernal equinox, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. ‘CANTERBURY TALES’ Another origin story comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1392 book, “The Canterbury Tales.” There are still questions about whether Chaucer really wrote the stories and whether they have any direct link to April Fools’ Day. In the book, Chaucer describes the date “32 March.” Some believe this was a joke, because March 32 doesn’t exist, but some medievalists insist it was a misprint. April Fools’ Day certainly has murky origins. Whether our traditions come from the Gregorian calendar switch, Hilaria, or even “The Canterbury Tales,” we can all enjoy our chance to let loose and play pranks on our friends and family at least one day each year.

THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR In 1582, France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Some people were slow to get the news, and others failed to recognize that the start of the year had moved from April 1 to Jan. 1. Those who celebrated during the last week of March became the butt of jokes 4

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