All Good Things…

Now that I am back in New York City, I can now think back to this last few weeks with fond memories. I can also relax this week since I do not start at Barnard College until Monday. More importantly, I can look at the future and think about what is coming up for me.

I will, once again, reiterate that I will miss Syracuse University and everyone that I have come in contact there. I’m sure the students don’t think I will miss them all that much, but I will. The feeling of me ending this chapter of my life felt very familiar. While I made a similar change in life 11 years ago in leaving NYC, this familiarity came from a different place. I would have to go back to May of 1994 to feel a certain way, and at the risk of sounding even more like a nerd, I am talking about the last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

This was a show that I was very fond of. My dad and I really got into it when I was in High School and leading into college. Star Trek: TNG was on the air for 7 years and it was one of those shows that I couldn’t imagine ending. But, on that fateful night, May 23rd, the show came to an end. It left me wondering, what is next? However, the very theme of this show was centered around where this cast has been and the possibilities of where it could go in the future leaving the door opening to anything with one question looming: can humanity evolve?

Which brings me to my ultimate point for leaving Syracuse. The title of that episode was called “All Good Things…” The main villain Q simply states, as he is judging humanity that “All good things must come to an End.” Ultimately when it seems that all is lost, humanity proves their evolution is possible. This remains one of my favorite episodes of TNG which always leaves me nostalgic when I see it because I believe they never should have left television.

Now back to reality. The fact of the matter is that all good things do come to an end. I have known for awhile that it was time to move on because I feel that I went through an evolution of sorts when I was employed at Syracuse University. My life was changing and so were my priorities. The things I was doing 11 years ago are not the things that I do now. The whole nature of maturing and living life dictates for some of us that we need to move on to different things. Sure, my future may end up with me crossing paths with my alma mater again and its students and alumni but that is something that we will just have to wait and see.

The future is bright I am just glad that I made some awesome memories and friends along the way.

“Let’s see what’s out there.” – Capt. Jean-Luc Picard

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Farewell @SyracuseSCPS Speech

Here is the transcript from my speech earlier today. Video to follow later:

Everything happens for a reason. I believe that I have a connection with everyone in this room. In one way or another you, have all been a part of my success over the last 11 years. Whether you have been a friend, a mentor, a mentee, a supervisor, an employee, or just here for the food, I feel that I have shared a connection with every one of you. I have built relationships here that will last me for a long time.

Up until this morning I was not sure if I should prepare remarks or just wing it, but I finally came to the conclusion that I should write my thoughts down so I do not forget what I truly want to say. It has also not escaped me that for the first time in 11 years I can say pretty say much whatever I want and not have to explain my actions to Bridget later. (smile)
Most of you know that I moved up here after the events of 9/11. I came up here feeling a sense of purpose because when I left Syracuse in 1998, I ended up bouncing around job to job without really having that sense of purpose. The only thing I knew when I was first hired was that I missed working in the Schine Student Center. It was the best job I had when I was a student. Now I am going back home with a career and attainable goals that SU has developed.
Clearly, you all can go without the history lesson but I started working here when I was a freshman in 1992. I was the only freshman, in fact, working at the info desk at the time and I worked there for 4 years. I worked all the time to the point where all my friends (including Casey) used to tell me that one day I will end up running this place. Eek!
So here I am….all those years later leaving a place that I have come to love. I have come to admire and respect so many of you (excluding Dave Pennock) that this day is filled with mixed emotions. I look at the staff that I have been working with and I realize that I have a unique relationship with each one of them.
Ryan, who is not here because the state of Massachusetts has extradited him to return to Boston for jury duty, just joined this lovely band of misfits and we bonded the other day. He is getting the my furniture (including the bed) thus ensuring my legacy of never getting enough sleep and coming into work after 9am every day.
My relationship with Becky was always a great one. She used to watch Rocky for me and I appreciated that so much. I have enjoyed our conversations about life and will miss how sensible you can be. I guess I really do not have a joke for you but I am glad you made here on time. (smile)
Jen (sigh), I will miss the looks she gives me during the difficult times. When we are in staff meeting and I have to play my usual devil’s advocate role. I will miss the hair color changes and the simple question of “Why are you leaving here me with these people?”
I will miss Henoc and his singing. He has truly been a fantastic Graduate Assistant and I encourage all of you who don’t know him to get to know him. His charm and politeness will win anyone over…until he plays Adele for 14thtime in an hour. I will miss you buddy. 
Dave Pennock. What can I say about him? 
Moving on, Joe Goings! I have nicknamed him, Jolo. He and I have one of those relationships where we joke on just about everything…except the Chicago Bears. I enjoy his presence because not only does he laugh at all my jokes…he thinks every idea is worth doing! Gotta love that.
Dave Pennock should feel lucky I mentioned his name for the 3rd and last time. He is an A-type personality who believes everything is black and white. The only gray he sees are the Yankees’ road uniforms. I will miss joking on you and with you. I will miss that your face gets so red (particularly your neck) when you are embarrassed. But seriously, we have always known how to just talk about things like baseball and sports to break the mood of a stressful day. But the most important thing I want to say is…Can I have my Inception blu ray back? I mean MY LAST DAY IS TOMORROW.
I met Scott Casanova in 1997. He had long flowing hair like a wookie. He has been a true friend when I needed one. He is my personal Boba Fett. Scott has driven all the way to Hancock, NY to get me when I had a car accident. He has helped me change a tire and fished out my parking card when it fell in between the stick shift in my car. He is the best white friend a person like me can have. I knew with him in the car, I will never get pulled over. I will truly miss Scott although he told me that once Monday comes around everything becomes my fault…
I left  Meghan a little bit later on this list because I want her to get all her tears out the way first. I can sit here and joke about her all day but she has truly been my right hand. She has seen me at my best and my worst and vice versa but I truly believe in her and in her abilities. I will miss you so very much and I have one word of advice: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE STOP DROPPING YOUR PHONES IN SEWERS.
Casey is my brother from another mother. I met in 1992 in summer institute (which is now Summer Start). We took writing 105 together and sat next to each other. That is where a 20 year friendship was born. It was Casey that called me back in 2001 to tell me I should apply for the Facility Supervisor position. I don’t have to say goodbye to you because A) I have the keys to your house, 2) We have a Values Academy presentation to plan and C) True friends never say good bye. That is why you are getting the obesity chair in my office…
Finally Bridget, this woman is the reason why I am the professional I am today. She has always allowed me to spread my wings and has given me the room to learn from my mistakes. I have no jokes for her because the staff will make sure to do that enough already. We have been through rough times and been the shoulders we needed to cry on but if there is one thing that has defined my relationship with her and how real she has been with me. It is something she said to me in 1993 when I was just promoted to the info desk manager, she looked at me said… “You need to make sure that when you hire students to work at the desk, that they are a reflection of the students who walk through our doors” I have always stayed true to that and made sure I was just as honest with my students. I love you, appreciate you, and will miss you.
Before I finish, l want to say that I miss my students and my student employees more than I will ever be willing to admit. They will be with me in my heart and let’s just face it, most of them live in New York and will probably take my open door policy way too seriously. I will miss Student Activities and FASA.  I will miss Debbie and her fabulous suits and Eddie with his fabulous shoes or was it the other way around? I want so say Thank You to Sylvia for really being positive and giving me great advice and I want to thank Colleen for just being Colleen. I also to paraphrase Dr. D (whom I will also miss) by sayin… “I am taking my magazine…and going home…”
For those I do not mention. This isn’t a goodbye…this a cya later. 
Thank you.

10 Days

This is just crazy. I am excited to be starting a new chapter. I am sad to say the goodbyes that I know I have to say. I am scared to see what happens after all this done. I love the fact that everything is changing.

Mixed emotions is something that I am feeling at the moment. Everything that I have been fighting for is finally coming to fruition and I all I am thinking about is just closing the book on this place. I feel like I am living the last few episodes of a long running sitcom that has been on the air for 11 years. I get that familiar feeling when Cheers closed or when Theo graduated from college in the Cosby Show. You want to cry but that wouldn’t be right because (even though it is a show) you know that life goes on.

In 10 days I will be home and I’m not really sure that people really understand what that means. I have been like a prodigal son in may ways. I left NYC with the idea that I would never come back. Being in my mid 20’s trying to make it was difficult and I left because I couldn’t succeed in my hometown. I had this delusion that I would stay in Syracuse and live the American Dream. There was always that pull for me to return home even though the relationship with my mother became worse before it ever got better. For all my failures at love and life, I achieved greater successes at many of the same things

Now, I coming back home with things being so different. My life is not the same as when I left. I feel smarter and wiser because I learned from past mistakes. I’ve learned how to forgive and I’ve learned how to sacrifice. Most importantly, I have learned how to love. I’ve grown to love myself and appreciate the world around me. I do love Syracuse and I will truly miss everyone that I have had so much contact with.

Before I started taking the things off my walls in my office, I kept thinking about the many students who have seen my office for what I hope it was…a place to feel welcome. The Puerto Rican flag, being the first thing that many students see, represents my commitment to all students about being proud of what I am and never being afraid to show it. I had to take pictures of it for prosperity. If I am lucky, I will have a similar set up at Barnard College.

As joyous as I can be about leaving, sometimes moving means making hard decisions. In many ways I want to start a new life or “volume” when I get back home. I find myself getting rid of things here and there and selling other stuff. However, the most difficult decision is to leave my dog, Rocky, here with my ex-wife. He does belong to her too and I know this is the right decision for him. He is getting older and needs a person who will love him and care for him in ways that I may not be able to. Out of all the things I have had to do during this transition, I will tell you, this is the hardest. It almost breaks my heart to have to say goodbye to Rocky…

But, like everything else, I will deal with that moment when it happens. My students mean the world to me as well and I hope they know that. I am just glad that everyone has been understanding that this is not really a goodbye, not this small world of email and Facebook. I will treat this more as a “see ya later.”

2.1

2.1

Think about that number for a bit. We are often defined by numbers. We rely on them when it comes to assessment. We assess products, sports, stocks, and grade point averages. Society uses these numbers to gather a value on something. Many mathematicians will tell you that numbers do not lie, especially when it comes to things like science. But, can numbers really put a value on knowledge?
Ever taken an IQ test? I haven’t, but I know that they are designed to place a value on how smart someone is. So assuming that you are either naturally gifted or perhaps went to the right school, you can be deemed really smart or as dumb as a doornail. Over the years, there has been evidence to suggests that standardized testing is racially and culturally biased. After all, not all school districts are created the same. Urban school do not have the resources as private or suburban schools. So how do we really place a value on who is smart?
I don’t think it should come as a surprise that most high school do not prepare students for the rigors of college life. No one is really prepared for the freedom of moving away and living relatively alone on/off campus. For most students, learning is on a whim and sometimes success in the class room can happen through mistakes. Maturity plays a huge roll on how a person deals with distraction. Yet, some students are able to fight through things to get great grades. Unfortunately, others struggle with just life in general and may find it hard to survive the grind of college academics.
We should just assume the getting into college is a stretch within itself. A institution, like Syracuse University, has to see something within the students they accept, which would reasonably mean that schools do not just except stupid kids. So why do students do poorly versus others? I would like to take into consideration my own issues.
I graduated from Saint Raymond’s High School for Boys. I do not think that I was different from any other potential college kid. There was a thought about myself, however, that I wasn’t that smart. My guidance counselor did not think I would get into Syracuse University, I clearly showed him otherwise. However, when I did get in, I often wondered how I was going to do. I really didn’t try all that hard in high school, it was as if I really didn’t care. I was picked on, my parents were getting a divorce, and I felt generally ugly since I was one of the few boys who wasn’t dating for most of my 4 years there. Yet, the one thing I always remember hearing in grammar school as well as High School….Anthony never applies himself.
College kicked my ass. I had many distractions and i just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was a student leader that cared more about the cause than about myself and by the end of my first semester of sophomore year, I was at a crossroad. My grades were horrible and I almost found myself kicked out. If it wasn’t for barely passing my religion class…I would not be a alum of SU. This wake up call lead me to pick a major that I wanted and do so much better in my classes. I still graduated in 4.5 years but I had this feeling that getting into grad school would be a long shot.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a student of mine. He was not in a great mood. He felt his grades defined him and my heart went out to him. I told him that despite whatever he graduates with…he can still be whatever he wants to be. Last week, I had a similar discussion with a student on the opposite end of the spectrum who has a grade point average that I have never seen in undergrad and it made me think about my grade point average currently. The good thing about SU is that you can check your current grade point average on line. I look at my grad school grades and I smile at the 3.3 that I fought hard for. I figured that if I get an A in this current class, I will be at a 3.5
Something told me to look at my undergraduate GPA. I had to cover my mouth because I hadn’t realized how low it is… 2.1
I almost fight tears thinking about this. I could have done so much better. I just could not get over my own shit. I was so immature that I could not see what I was doing to myself. Sure, I could blame girls, my parents, my work-study job, or the lack of guidance. I really have no one to blame but myself. I hated most of my classes because they just did not interest me. I did well in cultural courses and alright in my English courses. Sigh…I had to ask myself, why is it so different now?
Now…I care more for myself and I love my classes. I am invested into my own education and I love to learn new things. I am far from stupid but that number is a mark that I count against myself. Yet, it isn’t a value I place on my intellect. I consider that 2.1 GPA (which was earned 20 years ago) to be a measurement of my maturity.

Students in Hoodies: This is what Democracy Looks Like.


This entry was denied by the Huffington Post. So I just copied and pasted my entry.

I feel the need to apologize. I have been writing so much about Trayvon Martin in my own blog but it has taken me more than a week to calm down and address this audience without anger or frustration. As an Afro Latino, this issue hits home on so many levels.

I am very proud to be a Syracuse Alum and staff member. On March 26, I was even prouder. A group of students finally galvanized to action by having a rally on the steps of Hendrick’s Chapel on a cold Monday night. This is not just a black or white issue; this is an issue of justice. We stood in solitude with our hoodies on for Trayvon Martin.

As a person of color, I know that there are things that I should except, like the possibility being pulled over for no reason or being followed in a store. But nothing prepared me for this: a seventeen-year-old unarmed boy killed by a self appointed neighborhood watch captain. Then, even more appalling, I hear that George Zimmerman claims “self-defense,” when the only items in Trayvon’s hoodie were  a pack of skittles and a bottle of ice tea.

Without mentioning the race or ethnicity of either person, anyone of us would just assume that the killer would be reprimanded, if not sent to jail.  It is only after realizing that Travyon is black and his killer is “white” Hispanic that questions are raised as to why Zimmerman has not spent a single minute in jail.  Let’s face it, had the shooter been a Black man he would have at least seen a few nights in jail despite Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. Yet, this had become a black and white issue for so many of us. Is it because more Latinos are considering themselves white as seen in the 2010 Census?

Perhaps it speaks to the general ignorance that people like Geraldo Rivera have, who think that a hoodie automatically represents something sinister. Is there a general perception that all black men are trying to perpetuate themselves as gangsters by wearing such apparel? Sure, it is annoying to see men wear sagging jeans with no belts.  I consistently tell students to pull up their pants, but does that justify thinking the worst of them? Yet, it is ok for a self-appointed investigative reporter to make a blanket statement about how Trayvon’s hoodie is the reason for his death. Should he know that it was raining the night Trayvon was killed, making it a perfectly reasonable chose of attire? Or perhaps it speaks to his fear of Black people in general?

It was indeed a show of solidarity when more than 100 Syracuse University students, staff, of all races, came together in a peaceful rally chanting “this is what democracy looks like.” This goes far beyond the hoodie, far beyond Geraldo, and far beyond the increasing number of reports of this teenager’s past. This is about justice. This is about an unarmed kid being killed for looking suspicious. It resonates with these students because anyone of them could have been Trayvon Martin. What gets under many students’ skin is the media’s attempt to show “a different side” of this kid by painting him as a criminal, in an attempt to justify his murder. Is that what a black or Latino Male student has to think about when walking across the quad or walking in the streets of Syracuse on cold rainy night? He has to worry about every mistake he’s ever made as a child?

So what is next? We can rally and protest this issue until George Zimmerman is behind bars, but then what? Don Sawyer, director of the LSAMP program, gave one of the best suggestions during that rally.  He suggested that the only way to promote change is to mentor a younger person.  True change comes when people are willing to commit to change and spread it to others. It is not about what we wear or how we are perceived, it is what happens when this done.

We must be the change we are looking for. That change can begin start with mentoring a young student in need. That change can begin when we continue to fight injustice and not allow ourselves the complacency to believe that race does not matter. For as long as George Zimmerman remains free we will always be remind that we as Black/Latino men and women will always be judged for what we wear and assassinated later for our exercising our right to wear whatever we want.

So what does democracy look like? Is it college students rallying as the media kills Travyon Martin over and over again, promoting the insecurities  young Black kids already face? What does justice look like? I am not sure; perhaps the hoodie of the justice system is covering the eyes of those who are apparently “standing their ground”.

Boston Bound

It is not often that I get excited for business trips but for this venture out of Syracuse, I am totally pumped for. I am going to the ACUI National Conference in Boston. For those who do not know, this is a conference for student union professionals to get together to share ideas and best practices. What makes this exciting is that I get to network with people who do like minded work.

This goes with my motto this year of Investing in Myself. It has been a long time since I haven’t been to a conference since 2008 when I took 3 Latino students to the second annual AAHHE Conference in Miami. I did some networking there but not a lot because my life was different then. Regardless, I’m still happy to be able to be in a different environment learning new things.

Networking is very important because it all comes down to who you know in the job market. When you can put a face to a business card or a resume then chances are that person will get at least a longer glance at your job application.

It reminds me of something that happened to me 2 years ago when I was looking to hire a Graduate Assistant. The hiring process is pretty complicated for these graduate students that need to apply to get into the Higher Education program and then try to get an assistantship through a series of interviews. Before the big day there was a reception that allows departments to mingle with potential GAs. I went to the reception to see what the pool looked like because this was the first time I was in charge of this hiring process for my office. As soon as I walked in and got settled, she found me. With a plate a food in my hand, this woman comes up to me and introduced herself with a good handshake and tells me that she is looking forward to our interview. We had a great conversation that left a great impression and I remembered her the next day which lead to me eventually hiring her.

My point is, we never know who we can effect with our presence. The plan is to go to Boston for the educational sessions and mingle those people who can help me be a better professional. The other plan is to get a good feel for other schools as the potential for me to leave SU is always there. I need to make my own contacts and connections. I was commenting to my girlfriend that I have been here for 10+ years and barely know anyone outside of this place, so that needs to change right away.

I am also totally aware that I will be in Boston during St. Patrick’s Day, a fact that has not truly hit me yet either. I have never been the one to celebrate it so that means I am up for some good times. That is also why I went ahead and bought the shirt pictured above. Furthermore, I have some family in Boston that I would love to see. This will be my chance to connect and see the city.

If you follow me in my other mediums then expect to see a lot of pictures from my Instagram app. If you know of any places I should go see…please let me know!

Don’t Confuse Your Life Task With Your Day Job

“We must learn to lift as we climb.” – Angela Davis

It’s not very often that I am caught off guard about something. I tend to regulate my emotions to the best of my ability and yet, despite that you can still see my heart on my sleeve. When I took the offer to write for the Huffington Post, I will admit, that I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into.  I knew that my potential audience would be bigger and my name would get out there more, but I didn’t know what to expect in terms of feedback.

It was my girlfriend who told me that I needed to be very mindful about potential comments that I may receive, after all, I do not get very many on this blog and I have become quite used to that. But, she was referring to people who would not agree with my view on life. What she was trying to do was prepare me for potential negativity with the things I write. 

There was a lot of thought put into what I was going to write about in the Huff Post. I wanted to make sure that I was going to be ok with the angle I decided to take, which of course is all based on my time working at Syracuse University. I really wanted to get into my observations and my feelings with working at SU as well as getting to know the students. I wanted to be able to reflect on my experiences as a former student and current staff while giving the reader a glimpse of what I see and do.

I have taken pride and often times I have been humbled by the show of support by fellow alumni and staff when I debuted a couple of weeks ago. There was nothing better to me than to be recognized for my ability to write. I also wanted to use my gift to highlight those who work in the trenches with me. So this is not only meant as a tool to talk about students but the wonderful staff as well. That is what I based the second blog post on. I started looking at things differently after that blog was published.
I have made it a point not to be overly critical of my own work. I go into this whole writing thing knowing that I can always improve because typos are the bane of my existence. I can take people arguing with me when I post something controversial. I know that not everyone wants to hear what I have to say when it comes to Racism and I am ok with that. But, in this particular case, I am writing about my students, the ones that I have a love/hate relationship with because in many ways (and i hate to admit it) they are the closest thing I will have to younger siblings. 

So imagine my surprise when the comments are negative. By no means am I that sensitive, but I was completely caught off guard by the type of responses. I find it funny that I can talk about something that I feel we need, which is more Latinos in Higher Education, and to insinuate that everything that I am saying is borderline racist is laughable. Of course, I made the choice of engaging one person when I just should have let it go as many of my other friends told me. But, what got me was the fact that there were people liking these responses. It made me question a few things.

Cornel West came to Syracuse University this week too. He spoke about the new youth movement and how America’s youth are poised for action. He said that at any moment we will be witness to a time period where people will begin to mobilize for justice, much like the Occupy Movement. He talked about leadership and being able to tell the truth and take the truth, but the one thing that I found to be most profound (and there were many) was when he gave advice to students who are looking to make in the word, Have the courage to be yourself. Don’t confuse your life task with your day job.” That in itself made me realize that I am doing exactly what I want to do no matter what anyone thinks.

However, it was all brought together by my students. I had 3 students this week ask me for personal advice; things that they cannot ask anyone else. I had one student break my heart when he told me that he felt defeated. He knows what he wants to do but has no idea how to get there. He is convinced that his poor grades will make him a laughing stock. This kid told me that no one knows his story and the hell he has been through in life and all he wants to do is just help other students. What do I tell him? Do I tell him that he is a fuck up? Do I say “pull up your bootstraps, hard work will get you what you want!”

Yes, he needs to put in the work…but how do I help him find his motivation? By doing my job, that just happens to be my life task.

Crossing The Threshold

I have been writing this blog for 3 years and I feel that have done my best to get my name out there. I have joined groups, blogger circles, and various other sites in order to promote myself. Yet, I feel that I’ve always been below the radar when it came to writing blog posts. I’m not in it for the money but as a blogger, I want to see some progression. One of those points, if not the key point, of progression as a blogger is The Huffington Post.

I have viewed The Huffington Post as a symbol of “making it” in the blogging community. I know people who have written for them and have always wanted to get my chance to do that. I feel like “The Huff” is a bigger stage and to a person like me who would love to have bigger audience, this is indeed a grander stage. Today, I was informed that I will indeed have my chance to write for them!

It is funny how fast things seem to happen. Yesterday I received an email from my good friend (and former student) Victoria that the Huffington Post is setting up a college blogger initiative and they are looking for students, faculty, and staff to write about anything that has to do with campus life. She thought I would be great and responded. Today, I was told that I they would love to have me and like that…I am in! I am now a blogger for the Huffington Post!

Excited cannot even begin to describe how I feel. I’m trying not to be too hype about it because I have a lot of work to do. I have to figure out what to write and my skills as a writer have to be on point. Do not be mistaken, I am not nervous because it is game on. The lights are on and I am ready to showcase my abilities.

I also feel that this is a culmination of my past efforts. I have to submit a bio. I wrote several times in the past on how difficult it is to do that, but I did get it done (and now I have a reason to update). So now, that is one less thing to worry about. Then I have to submit a picture and that makes me laugh too because everyone asked me why in the world would I need to do a photo shoot? Well, it seems that the things that I have prepared for, has benefited me. 

I will be writing my first blog for them this weekend and we will see what happens from there. I have also made sure that I have someone besides myself reading what I write for grammatical purposes. I have always felt I needed an editor because I just cannot seem to catch all my mistakes. In any case, I am extremely happy on how all this has turned out and I want to think all of you for your continual support.

I also want to send out a thank you to Victoria Chan for sending me that email. I wouldn’t have been in this situation had she not thought of me (I owe you Bubble Tea).

Why I do What I do.

I am taking this opportunity to write while I am in a relatively bad mood. There are many things going on in my life that are just annoying on a personal and professional level. It also does not help that the Knicks just lost to Miami Heat which just puts me closer to edge.  With this aggression, I want to write about why I do what I do because as this blog gets older, this becomes something that I can point back to time and time again.

My day job has not been really stated. I work at Syracuse University as a member of student affairs that handles events that occur primarily in the student center. I advise 5 student groups ( 2 Latino student organizations, 1Multicultural Frat, 1 Latino Frat, and co-advise NALFO). I donate my time to students and try to guide them in the right direction. I have written several letters of recommendations for awards, employment, graduate schools, and internships. I have become a supervisor, mentor, advocate, psychologist, friend, brother, and in some cases, another dad. I can also be the bad guy, the asshole, and the sarcastic dude that never smiles.

My love for students never dies because I know what it is like to be in their shoes. I know what is like to almost not graduate. I know how it feels to be bored with classes and to be distracted by outside forces like girls and family. I know what it is like to be the only person of color in a class filled with white students and the loneliness that is felt when you have to speak for your race (in my case it seemed I was speaking for Blacks and Latinos). I went through many things and never understood who to go or if there even was someone that I could talk to.

When I was hired 10+ years ago, I wanted to be that person. While I think that I have achieved that goal, I found it difficult to just stop there. I wanted to create something that made Latino students proud. With that came the Latino Listerv (that barely gets used now), I began to advise my first student organization, and then there was the creation of Fiesta Latina. With all that, I was not done. I wanted to do anti racism work because pride of a culture comes from understanding it’s struggle.

The Latinegr@s Project was born 2 years ago in a joint effort between me and Bianca. Everyday since then I have been grateful for joining forces with her. My view of educating students broadens to educating the masses (or whomever will listen). Each of these things become extremely hard while not being mutually exclusive. Not all my students are Latino. My adviser role reaches a diverse amount of students just like the blog posts I write.

Yet, I get annoyed when students do not see the full scope of their potential. While, I was there once, the amount of resources has increased; the amount of programs promoting diversity increased and there seems to be very little care shown. As if there is this sense of entitlement where they may be glad programs exist for the sake of existing but not really interested in going. Never is there a thought of what might happen if things like Latino Heritage Month would cease to exist.

I get annoyed when the images of Afro Latinos are never properly shown, which is why I press on with the Latinegr@s Project and its expansion last year. One can never show too many positive images of black and brown people. There is no such thing as being too educated, but what if there are people who just don’t want to listen anymore? When I see imagine above I realize that Afro Latinos are truly invisible. When I see things like the video below, I know that racism is an issue (even if you consider your to be a high class Cuban).

It makes me thing of my students who do not recognize that having bad grades because they rather bag “hoes” and smoke weed just makes them a statistic. I do what I do because I have to fight the good fight. I want to show students that their voice matters.

Mid-Februray Free Write

Let me just cut to the chase. I have been busy taking classes and reading. Work has always been the same and I am also taking the time to go to the gym. I will also mention that I have been making the best of efforts to change my diet. Much of this takes up large amounts of time and yet, I still manage to find time to do things like see my awesome girlfriend for a weekend. I am very proud of myself.

Which brings me to this free writing type of update. While I have not written in a while, I have been busy making sure that Afro-Latinos have a voice this month. On Twitter, there was a broad discussion about 2 weeks ago hosted by #latism. The subject was the racial mosaic that is Latinos. I am glad to have been apart of that because the timing seemed to be right for me to be interviewed by Voxxi. It is not all the time that I get to interviewed by an online magazine.

Then, Team @beingafrolatino was invited as guests on the Vanessa Oden Show which is a internet radio show based out of Oakland, California. Along with fellow co-founder, Bianca, we talked about Afro Latino identity and how other people view us. The show was so successful that we did a part 2 this past Monday where we talked more about the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. In these instances there are so many things to talk about that you cannot begin to squeeze into 2 one hour shows. I was told that the podcasts for those shows will be available soon and once that comes out I will share it.

I am also excited to be able to see yet another Salsa Artist come to Syracuse University. One of the groups that I advise called La LUCHA manage to get enough funding to bring up India! This is yet another thing that I have on my plate in my on going quest to promote Latinos. I want to point out here that while I champion the cause of Afro Latinos, I still consider myself to first and foremost a Latino. We all share the same culture although I cannot say the same about social standing within the community.

I also feel that there is just not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. The problem with not making anymore excuses is that free time becomes limited. The reading from this class alone takes up so much time that I can barely watch television. While that is not a bad thing, it just amazes me how I can just forget to watch shows that I am normally used to. I can say thank goodness for the DVR but I barely watch that either because I have so much to read.