Latinx Flint NEWS
Meet Miquel Castillo: Somos Latinx
By Alondra Rosas | Latinx Flint Media
“I’d say there are a lot of happiest moments because life in itself has so many blessings. It is important to appreciate even the not-so-happy moments because they make us into who we are supposed to become and they show us so much more in life.” -Miquel Castillo
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 Miquel Castillo:
Where are you from?
I was born in Saginaw, Michigan, but the majority of my family is from México.
Where do you work?
I am an operator for Ace-Saginaw Paving. I am also a Wellness Coach that transforms people’s mindset through dieting and physical training.
What were some challenges you faced in school as a Latino?
I used to be called beaner and other demeaning names. I mean, my nickname was Speedy Gonzales in wrestling and you know, that is racist, but it was the norm. I didn’t take it as racism. There was this kid that lived down the road from me and one time, I was on my way to track after school and he’s talking to me saying I am a wetback and towel-head and all this kinda stuff. I lost it and grabbed him and lifted him up. And he was like, ‘Bro you can call me cracker, you can call me whatever you want.’
And I just told him, ‘Don’t play around like that.’
I tried to block out the bad because I knew it wasn’t going to prosper me, you know? One of life’s many battles is finding yourself throughout time, including schooling, and getting to understand yourself and sticking to what matters most to you will essentially be what grows you the most as an individual.
What was an obstacle you’ve overcome?
I’d have to say I was born with hearing loss in one side of my ear. It definitely had a lot of obstacles that I would have to overcome and understand that I would have to tweak and do different things to better myself so that I would not fall behind. There would be situations where I would simply have to adjust myself. It is still a challenge, especially as I grow older. I find it is something that is always going to be challenging, trying to speak up clearly and making sure people can hear me along with me being able to hear them.
What is something you would tell your younger self?
There is going to definitely be a lot of obstacles in life. You are not alone. All challenges are temporary. Do not be afraid. We are all born with courage and dedication. When we grew up and started walking, we all had a willingness to get up to try and try again. Understand when there is a will, there is a how. As long as we put our minds to it we can do it all.
Bridging language & cultural barriers para una comunidad saludable!
What are you most afraid of right now?
What am I most afraid of right now? This interview. My heart is pumping.
Honestly, the biggest fear I have is failure of not expressing myself and growing myself as a spiritual human being. We are always constantly learning about ourselves. I have that fear of dying without really expressing and putting forward that energy that is inside of me, dying without leaving a message behind.
In what ways do you influence your family?
Definitely in all aspects because I think setting your bar high for your family members will then help them further themselves when the time comes and whatever you learn or come across, you can then spread that message to them and fill them with resilience and give them a step forward ahead of the game from where you were. The ability to live and inspire is another blessing that life has and it is pretty cool to sit, imagine and visualize all the battles you have overcome, but making sure you can spread that knowledge in your unique way. To share that with your family members or anyone is really powerful.
How do you feel being Latino in the world we live in today?
There is a lot of discrimination in the world. It is sad and history tends to repeat itself when not adjusted in the right manner. As spiritual human beings, we can all come together as one and really deliver the message with great love, care and understanding that we are all different, but essentially we are all the same. Me being a spiritual human being and Mexican, I do not look at myself in a divided sense, I look at myself in the sense that I can relate to everyone, but also to share that and to have others understand because it is a message that needs to be heard.
What has been the happiest moment of your life?
I’d say there are a lot of happiest moments because life in itself has so many blessings. It is important to appreciate even the not-so-happy moments because they make us into who we are supposed to become and they show us so much more in life. So the way I look at it is no matter what, you can always make a moment the happiest, if you are optimistic towards it.
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