Michael Carmona

Program Manager for the Community Capital Fund

Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, MO.

What is your family heritage?
My father is an immigrant (from Mexico), and my mom is second-generation U.S citizen from the Westside. My sisters and i were fortunate to live in a multi-cultural household, experiencing our Latino heritage from different lenses.

What is your occupation?
I am the Program Manager for the Community Capital Fund, a local non-profit (community development corporation) that focuses on empowering people and organizations from Kansas City's underinvested neighborhoods. I am a proud community developer.

How have you supported or contributed to the local Hispanic/Latinx community?
Understanding the history and culture of my people has been key. As we work our way through US norms and systems, it is important to know the history of those who worked hard to put us in better positions (our family members, community leaders, and more). I've always believed that we need to challenge - and empower - one another in order for our community to be even greater. Prior to my role at CCF, I spent nearly a decade working with Latinos seeking to start and grow small businesses. My understanding of business administration, corporate structures, and social networks - combined with the drive and ambition from those seeking new opportunities - have been key to building a more equitable economy in Kansas City.

How do you connect with your Hispanic/Latinx culture?
I represent my community every day. I'm proud to say that I am confident in the person I am - one who is focused on challenging others to "do more".

What is your favorite childhood memory?
After my freshman year in high school, my mom told me she was sending me down to Mexico to stay with my extended family for the entire summer (three months). She told me then, "you need to learn about the history of your people, and maybe become a better person". It was the best time of my life, as I learned about my people from experience. My aunt, Graciela (Chela) Ramirez, who I stayed with, was one of the greatest inspirations in my life. A successful business owner (she had a shoe company that generated millions in revenue), she taught me how one could stay driven for individual success while being dedicated to building those around them. I ended up staying more than 10 summers with her and my family and friends in Leon, Guanajuato. In 2010, I was lucky to be down in Guanajuato (where Mexico claimed it's independence) during the country's bicentennial (bicentenario).

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Remembering our history. We cannot forget it. Or else we lose who we really are.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing the Hispanic/Latinx community?
We have to be supportive of one another, even if we don't all agree on the same things. It's more important to move our culture forward then to worry about past beef.

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