Please explain what you do for living.
I am the currently the Youth Community Outreach Coordinator at Casa San Jose. I am also a Junior at Carlow University with a double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology.
How important in your identity is being Latino?
My identity as Latino is very important to me because I am different from everyone else and I want people to know why I act the way I act. Why I may pronounce things wrong, spell things wrong. I want people to understand where I am coming from. I want them head on to know that I may see things differently from them because of my background. I am not ashamed of who I am, I let everyone I know I am Mexican. Although some don’t believe I speak Spanish I do.
Is there something that you particularly value of your nationality or being Latino?
I am Mexican and family is very important to us. The whole unity in family is what keeps us together through thick and thin. We might not like everyone in our huge family but we always find time to be together. Also, having respect for one another is a big key. We respect everyone from the janitor to the president. Without respect you can’t build a relationship and learn from each other.
Have you been treated differently because of being Latino (in the workplace, in public settings…etc.)?
I have been treated differently because I am Latino. Everyone expects you to be illegal or thinks they can threaten you with ICE. In middle school students would joke about going back to my country, and make fun of me for speaking Spanish to my parents. And I want to say that it only gets worse as you get older. My mom and I had to go to the laundromat because our washer stopped working and while at the laundromat my mom and I were speaking Spanish. A rude lady with her son told me to move my stuff off of her table. I moved it closer to me since the laundromat was semi-full. I had my computer on the table because I was doing homework and I got up to check on my clothes. She then yelled, “I told you to move your stuff, if you don’t move your stuff I will throw it on the floor, I don’t care.” My mom told the lady in English, “You could say please.” And that’s when the racist insults started flying. She started saying, “Go back to your county, you come here to take over. I am going to call ICE, you ugly Mexicans live off of welfare. No one wants you here.” We looked at each other and started laughing so hard. That made her even madder and her husband came in to take control of her. She was kicked out of the laundromat by the worker because she was causing a scene and attempted to push my mother. The worker went on to say, “I am an immigrant myself,” and told her to leave. The lady was basically dragged outside by her husband and children at this point.