Proud of My Roots / Orgulloso de Mis Raices
I am the proud son of Mexican immigrants. My father is the son of farmworkers, who for generations made a living through the fields of Michoacan. There is a saying among he and his brothers, "Lo que gana uno aqui, es un mes en Mexico. What one earns here, is a month in Mexico."
Seeking better job opportunities, he came to this country in 1983, just at the time this city become incorporated.
His brothers would soon join him.
Photo: My father (far right), posing here with his father, Antonio, (second from right), and his three siblings, Conseulo, Manuel, Francisco, and Ignacio (bottom).
By the Community, For the Community
I was born and raised in the Gardens District of East Palo Alto. I am a proud former student of the Ravenswood school system. I am from and for this community.
Coming from a low-income family, I understand the struggles that EPA’s underrepresented population face with unemployment and lack of affordable housing.
Photo: My strong Mother, Luisa Mendez, is nudging me to play with the other kids at Edison Brentwood Academy.
Echandole Ganas Desde El Principio // Giving it My All Since the Beginning
My first day as a Duke student, I had no friends or family on the East Coast. The only things that accompanied me to the Raleigh-Durham airport were the brochures I picked up near baggage claim, and my two suitcases.
When I arrived, I saw mothers kissing their children, as hired movers carried their boxes safely inside. Making my way to the laundry room, I learned that my student account had been frozen.
I learned from the bursar office that I started off $3,000 in debt. I called my Mother, and cried, “I don’t know if I can do this.” She comforted me and told me to remember my roots.
Photo: Posing with my Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity brother, Ronald Rojas, after my Duke graduation ceremony.