Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, Kansas.
What is your family heritage?
What is your occupation?
How have you supported or contributed to the local Hispanic/Latinx community?
Yes. I contribute annually to the Hispanic Development Fund Scholarship Program every year. I also financially support other Latino organizations, like El Centro, Guadalupe Centers, Mattie Rhodes and others.
How do you connect with your Hispanic/Latinx culture?
I continue to live in the same Latino neighborhood that I grew up in (Argentine). I attend bi-lingual mass and attend many of the cultural events in the community.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
This is a tough question since I feel blessed to have so many. From enjoying picnics in Emerson Park and Loose Park with family and friends, to attending the Mexican dances at Highland Park Skate rink or the National Guard Armory for weddings and quinceaneras, I have a long list to choose from. Out of the many, I would say traveling to Michoacán, México once a year to visit relatives stands out the most. It was an arduous trip to say the least, but it allowed us as a family to reconnect each year with our relatives and be exposed to food and traditions different than what we experienced in Kansas City. I had an opportunity to understand and appreciate my ancestors and place in context my struggles in the US.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
It is a time for us as a community to be seen. So many times we as a Latino community get lost in the important civic discussions and people forget about the significant population of Latinos who are living in KC and who have been here for over 100 years. It is a time for us to highlight our music, food and other traditions that make us so rich in heritage. It is also a time for the children in our community to learn more about themselves and be proud of their heritage.
In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing the Hispanic/Latinx community?
I believe that of all the issues challenging our community the issue of education stands out the most. Education is the key to improved employment, political participation and civic leadership. How do we assure access to quality K-12 and post-secondary educational opportunities? This issue is vital for our community to resolve. That means focusing on improving the public schools where Latinos attend and providing sufficient support so that those who seek a college education, can afford one. The issue is difficult because of the many facets to the solutions: parent involvement, segregation of schools, quality of teachers, adequacy of buildings and access to internet are some of the issues that must be addressed systemically. Because our community continues to have large rates of immigration, we find many students and families willing to commit to putting in the effort to seek a better educational experience.