Latinx Flint NEWS
By Alondra Rosas Ornelas | Latinx Flint Media
“When you first meet me, my name sounds Latino, like an Aztec prince or something. I live by my name. I am proud to represent my culture and the other cultures that are in me. Being Latino is a big part of me. I am still learning Spanish, but I still got the Latino blood. ” – Tomás Tello
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.
The following is a conversation between Latinx Flint Media and Tomás Tello:
Where are you from?
We are from Flint, Michigan. My great grandfather was from Irapuato, Guanajuato. I originally grew up in the North-end community, it has been impoverished for some time. My parents didn’t want me to attend school there, so I went to a Catholic school and it was about fifteen minutes away. It was difficult. At first, everything was fine until fourth grade because we are all kids and you can’t really see color or think anything of that in those terms. Ever since our current president got into office, I’ve noticed who were my real friends and who weren’t. It’s been difficult. I’ve had to be the outcast and I’m willing to do it because I am proud of my mixed-race, mostly Mexican.
What importance does your Latino culture hold in your life?
When you first meet me, my name sounds Latino, like an Aztec prince or something. I live by my name. I am proud to represent my culture and the other cultures that are in me. Being Latino is a big part of me. I am still learning Spanish, but I still got the blood.
How was your experience being part of a Mariachi group?
When I joined the mariachi, I felt more cultural. I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve been improving my Spanish pronunciation and learning how to do “El Grito” and all that stuff. It has been good for expressing my culture.
What has been an obstacle you have gone through and overcome?
Getting through school. Eighth grade was a challenge. It got me a thick skin and taught me how to get through tough situations. School is better now because I am resilient. I did not have many friends. I noticed a lot of back-stabbing people. I guess I am picky with people. It was difficult not having someone I could trust. They made me feel like I am just this brown boy from the ghetto and I am uneducated and I am lesser than them. They gave me that vibe. And I did not have many people to relate to that was from where I came from. It is way better now.
Bridging language & cultural barriers para una comunidad saludable!
What has been the happiest moments of your life?
Shoot, that’s a good one. Dang, I don’t know. You are hitting me with the hard questions. I have had a lot of great days. I think my sixteenth birthday part because It made me realize I had more friends than I thought I had. And I went to a Rock Kim concert, he is a famous rapper, and I got to give him a dap. Those were the two greatest days of my life.
What are your goals for the future?
Definitely college. I am still looking into different possibilities. I wanted to be a lawyer at first and then an architect. I just want to do something that is going to help my community. My dream job is to be a music producer, something in that realm. Whatever I do, I just want to give back to the community and help those who are struggling.
What would be something you would tell your younger self?
Keep your head up. Friendships are good, but not all life-long friends are made at a young age, so just be patient. Get through it. Be strong.
What are you most proud of?
My love for my culture and being Latino and not being scared to speak up.
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