Latinx Flint NEWS
Meet Aurora Sauceda: Somos Latinx
By Alondra Rosas Ornelas | Latinx Flint Media
Aurora Sauceda captured smiling outside of the Latinx Technology & Community Center.
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FLINT, Michigan – Somos Latinx serves to highlight and connect community members in Flint & Genesee County. Recognizing the experiences of families and individuals in our community reveals the complex experience of Latinx Life in the United States and in our local community. Somos Latinx drives civic engagement and awareness, such as the 2020 Census.
The following is a conversation between Latinx Flint Media and Aurora Sauceda:
Where are you from?
I grew up here in Flint, but originally I was born in Texas. And I was there probably for two days and then I went back to Mexico with my mom. So I am originally from San Sebastian, Texas, but at the age of six and a half I came here to Flint and I’ve been here ever since.
What was your experience growing up in Flint as a Latina?
As a little girl it was not a very good experience because first of all I came to a culture that I didn’t know. I lived in a very small village for the first six years of my life with my grandparents and it was different because we lived a very simple life no running water, no lights but everything was beautiful because it was simple. But then I came to the United States and it was a shock to me because no one spoke my language, I had never seen a running water toilet, I never flipped a switch to turn the lights on. First it was shock, next it was disappointment because as a child you get excited about new things, but new things in your own environment. So when you come to another country with a new environment, it is scary. It is disappointing so I think my childhood and teenage years were not very enjoyable. But as I grew older, I started seeing things in different ways. And as I’ve grown older and older I feel with much more value to me. When I was a little girl I remember I was very shy, introverted, I never wanted to speak. And now, they can’t shut me up. But I think it was because of how I felt about myself. I never really got any praise or anyone say, ‘Oh, that was a good job.’ I’ll never forget this, it is part of me, one day I was on a field trip and we were standing in line. The one thing I was always ashamed of was my skin color. I went to a school that was predominantly white. I think we had like three black kids in our school. I was always scrubbing myself because I wanted to become whiter. And so one day I was standing in line and there was this mom that was standing behind me and said, ‘Oh you have such a beautiful tan.’ And I said, ‘ It’s not a tan’ and ever since then I was like why am I ashamed of my skin color other people think I am beautiful. I am a teacher by trade and I used to teach classes at the jail to the women. I would say, ‘I just want you to know that every single one of you is just as important as the president of the United States. Keep that in mind and make the most of your lives.’ I truly believe that. I believe that for every single human being, even as bad as they might be, that God doesn’t make junk. And so if you are junk it is because you have made yourself junk. So I look back and I was ashamed of myself because I looked at myself as not being as good enough. And so now I value myself. I value what I have to give and I value others. And I think that is really important.
What is something you would tell your younger self?
To have faith in yourself.
Bridging language & cultural barriers para una comunidad saludable!
Did you attend university?
Yes, I attended a lot of colleges. I started out at Mott Community College and that was when I had my last daughter because from my teenage years up to adulthood I was having children. I had my first child at eighteen and at twenty-eight I had six children in ten years. And after ten years, I always really wanted to go to college, but it never happened, so I started going to college. I went to Mott Community College because I wanted to be a bilingual teacher way back then and then from there I went to Baker College because I got into computers. And from baker I went over to Saginaw valley state university and picked up bilingual ed again. And then I came back to take classes here at University of Michigan- Flint and I graduated there. I finally got my degree in secondary ed.
What was your motivation for getting your degree?
My motivation was that as my children were growing up I always instilled education on them. So I always used to say, ‘No matter what you do in life, get your education.’ because everything else is secondary. You can get married later, you can travel later, you can have babies later; just go to school and get your education. And after having instilled that in my kids, my girls are all college educated. My son is the only one that decided he wasn’t going to do it; he still has a pretty good life. But the one thing I would always say is, ‘Whatever you do, do something you love to do.’ So, after all that, I said, You know what, I have to be the example. I couldn’t tell them to go to school when I wasn’t doing it because throughout life I was taking classes here and there. And finally, in 2010 I said, I got to do this. What was so funny though was that when I was done and I got to walk with my cap and gown, I was expecting this wonderful feeling and I’m thinking, I want to go home.
What is your motive to help the community?
I always say this to the people that I help because when I have somebody that tries to pay me I tell them, ‘I can’t accept money because if I accept money then it’s no longer a favor.’ And I do it because, and I tell them, ‘ I helped you because when you have the opportunity to help somebody, I want you to help them because when you help that person it might be my son or my daughter.’ I do it with that in the back of my mind that I want to help like I would want somebody to help my children, with dignity, with respect and not be annoyed by it. That is my why.
Did you respond to the 2020 Census?
Yes, I did.
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