Looking up into the auditorium’s balcony, filled mostly with students, Carmen Velásquez said: “Young people here do not yet realize what their parents and adults do to survive a country that does not know the value of who we are as Mexicanos.”
In her talk, Carmen tells a story that begins with her own parents―with her mother named Soledad, born in Iowa, and renamed “Shirley” by her teacher―and describes her own experience with discrimination as one of the only Mexican children in her own school, and her lifelong fight to see better opportunities for students and families who would...
Joselin Cisneros has a very special relationship with the elote. After her father suffered a debilitating workplace accident, she and her mother spent years making ends meet selling corn and fruit on Chicago’s streets. Inspired by her mother’s resilience, Joselin stared the challenges of being undocumented in the US right in the face, becoming the first in her family to graduate from college.
Joselin’s story is one of awakening and action. “I’ve learned that our parents make this country run and our students have a thirst for knowledge,” she shares. Calling on everyone in the audience...
Sharing her own reflections on her first experiences in American schools, on her parents’ role in her life, her experience on an ivy league campus, and her own awakening, Beatriz describes her path to her chosen and self-defined career: “changemaker.”
In a tale that begins in 1968, a period of change for both the world and Beatriz’ family―Beatriz was born as the first US-citizen child to her mother and father, both Mexican immigrants. In her talk, Beatriz examines her place in the world, shaped by experiences and ideas at every age and through interactions with diverse groups of people.
Using dichos or sayings from her mother, Minerva Garcia-Sanchez walks through the development of her own identity as a Mexicana. In her talk, Minerva discusses facing a paradox as a Mexican living in the United States―experiencing, at the same time, pressure for being “too Mexican” and “not Mexican enough.”
Sharing advice given by her mother, her father’s prioritization of her formal education, and her relationship with her extended family, Minerva embraces her identity that, as her aunt puts it―”celebrates the Fourth of July with a taquiza.”
“So, what are you?”―a question Diana Palomar has faced all of her life.
“I worked with people who had little to no experience working with Mexicans,” she shares,” so I took it as an opportunity to showcase my community―let people know what a value we are to any work environment and on any team.”
Sharing her family’s story, her experiences with unlikely mentors and diverse colleagues and friends, Diana brings to life her explorations in identity, culture and professional ambition.
ABC 7 Chicago
Crediting her success...