The youngest of three in the Galindo family and at the age of 15, Palermo Galindo left behind Mexico— with his mother’s blessing—in search of greater opportunities in the United States. He joined his father, who was already living and working as a land surveyor in San Antonio, but the transition was rough. Galindo spoke little English, and it took him nearly a year of ESL classes before he had the courage to raise his hand in class. There were also gangs at his school, and Galindo often worried he would either be recruited or harmed. “It was daunting to start from zero, working to create friendships and connections,” he says. “You have to establish trust with people.”
Galindo persevered. By 2000, he’d graduated from Purdue University, Fort Wayne with a degree in graphic design. He was the first one of his family to attain a baccalaureate degree. Galindo loved Fort Wayne for its close-knit, warm community and decided to build his life there. He became a designer for Apollo Design Technology for two years, and then opened his own freelance photography. Between 2001 and 2006, he was also a program coordinator at Purdue. He then began working for the city of Fort Wayne, becoming Community Liaison in 2009, a position he maintains today. There, Galindo helps emerging communities by providing information, assisting with access to city services, educating people about changes and cultural issues associated with diverse populations in Fort Wayne, and planning projects and initiatives that impact the emerging communities. Galindo is the first Citywide Community Liaison in the City of Fort Wayne‘s history with a Hispanic/Latino background.
At the same time, Galindo continued his personal photography. In 2016, his exhibit “My Yours Ours” at the D’Agostino Gallery in Indiana Tech were he explored disparities in race perceptions and race relations through current national events that touched the local Fort Wayne community. “Galindo strives to identify foresight in the symbiotic link of the self (MY) and the perceived societal view of an individual (YOURS), which leads to the communal perception (OURS),” a press release on the show stated, “Whereby the actions of all individuals affect everyone through movement awareness, thought, words, stance and solidarity.”
That personal and professional commitment to unity and diversity helped lead Galindo to become the president of the Greater Fort Wayne Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2013, where he served two terms through the end of 2016. “I understand the tremendous potential of immigrants in our community,” he says. “Their relentless determination makes them effective entrepreneurs and contributing citizens in the region.” In recognition of his dedication to the city of Fort Wayne, Senator David Long recently appointed Galindo to the Indiana Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs (ICHLA). At the time, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry noted Galindo’s appointment stemmed from the fact that he “works tirelessly on behalf of Hispanic and Latino residents in the Fort Wayne community… now he’ll be able to put his expertise to use statewide.”
With the ICHLA, Galindo serves with nineteen others, including two Senators, who help the non-partisan with its work towards economic, educational and social equality for all Indiana residents. The commission identifies, measures and reviews programs and legislation, and also researches challenges and opportunities that affect the state’s Hispanic/Latino community. They also help find solutions, assessing ideas and providing recommendations to the governor and the state’s General Assembly. “It’s a tremendous honor,” Galindo says.
In addition to his career helping promote small businesses in Fort Wayne, Galindo is highly engaged with civic life. He volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and served on various nonprofits boards, including as one of the first board member of the Hispanic Leadership Coalition of Northeast Indiana and created HLC’s logo. Having become a U.S. citizen in 1997, he votes in every election, and is proud to set that example for his children, family members, and community. Galindo ran for office as a County Council At Large candidate in 2016 and came in fourth place receiving almost forty thousand votes; it was his first time doing it. “I will run again for office with the experience gained in 2016 and winning is in the horizon!” Galindo expressed.
Personally, I want to pay back all the great opportunities this country has provided to me and my family.”
“Personally, I want to pay back all the great opportunities this country has provided to me and my family,” says Galindo who has raised three American-born kids in Fort Wayne. “I want to contribute as much as possible to let people know that being an immigrant is not a negative hindrance but it is a wonderful opportunity to see a person who is making a difference in their community, state, and country regardless of their background!”