Where were you born and raised?
US Citizen, Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri - The Westside Neighborhood.
What is your family heritage?
Mexican. My parents are from Parras de la Fuente, Coahuila, Mexico I'm fully bilingual and bi-cultural.
What is your occupation?
During the day I am an Assistant Teaching Professor of Education Administration and in my spare time, I am a musician on the side. I am very proud to be both a teacher and musician.
How have you supported or contributed to the local Hispanic/Latinx community?
Education has always been a family value and I have blessed to have been given the opportunity to seek a post secondary education in my life. This was only done through the support of my family, community, mentors, teachers, counselors, and professors throughout my lifetime. I believe that my initial profession as a teacher has provided me many opportunities to teach, lead, mentor, and educate within my community and beyond. I have had to learn from other communities to have navigated through my success. I would not be here if it not for a diverse ethnic childhood and professional experience. It has also been my pleasure to pay it forward in inspiring a few young musicians as a current veteran of the Latino Music Scene in Kansas City. I am a founding member of Trio Aztlan and we've been around since the summer of 1992.
How do you connect with your Hispanic/Latinx culture?
I connect with my Latinx culture in a variety of ways. I'm a Latinx teacher and professor, I'm a Latinx musician, US Veteran, a proud member of my Latina/o community as I've been influences by my family here in the US and in Mexico. Family is very important.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memories are the annual summer trips to Mexico to visit grandparents, family, and friends. Travel was very educational, exiting, and sometime unpredictable in our adventures.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
The Hispanic Heritage Month is special in the fact that we can share culture, values, customs, and beliefs with others in the understanding that our heritage is not just celebrated or limited to 30 days of the month a month but rather, we are Latinos 24/7, 365 days a year, and we represent many countries. I am who I am because of my history and heritage.
In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing the Hispanic/Latinx community?
I believe we have many issues ranging from immigration reform, educational opportunities and advancement, socio-economic conditions, and mental wellness issues, but I believe our most important issue is that of respect as contributing members of the mosaic country we call the US. We are and have been an integral part of many sectors in this nation for more than 500 years, to include medicine, science, politics, education, workforce, and most of all, our economic power as a hardworking and entrepreneurial community. Economic and educational opportunities can better our communities and families regardless of where we live in the US. Culture lifts communities and is constructive. Mexico's first indigenous President once said, "El respeto al derecho ajeno, es la paz..." The respect of the rights of others, is peace. I believe we have always sought peace and respect as integral fibers of the multicolored fabric of this nation. Without a quality and equitable education, we miss out on employment opportunities and choices which may lead to better health and mental wellness, career advancement, and an improved life for our children and their families. In my opinion better equitable educational opportunities for socio-economic advancement and community engagement is our most pressing issue.