Spotlight on Latinx Achievement: Ramiro Vazquez Jr.
Tell us a little bit about yourself / background and your role at Minneapolis Youth Congress?
I’ve had the opportunity to wear many hats within the Youth Coordinating Board. One being an outreach worker within the Minneapolis community supporting young adults in whichever capacity is required. My most recent role is leading the Minneapolis Youth Congress alongside our students who attend Minneapolis Public Schools. We are currently working on a Podcast to highlight youth voices on topics relevant to them. Our students have passed a few local ordinances including the Tobacco 21 ordinance in 2018 and our most recent work being the Youth Master Plan.
What inspired you to work with youth and this area of work?
I was initially inspired to become a history teacher. While attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Urban Education Program, I was employed by the Anne Sullivan/Anishinabe Academy Beacons Program. Working with American Indian, Latinx and East African students in a youth development capacity inspired me to further pursue youth development. The idea of working alongside students opposed to leading a classroom with a rigid curriculum really spoke to me. One of the many benefits and the reasons I chose this field is the direct access I have to-build community with students and families in Minneapolis.
Having the opportunity to travel back from my father’s hometown in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and back to the states at a young age affected me profoundly. Seeing the disparities in my neighborhood while seeing the same heightened disparities in Mexico such as youth homelessness inspired me to create the change I wanted in the world. Fortunately, I had amazing educators to guide me in my passions and set me up for success which is what I model with my current students.
What is the best advice you want to give our Latinx youth?
The best advice I can give Latinx youth is to continue to push the line and build the future that you see fit. I think this generation of Latinx youth is amazing and as an adult I am here to support and guide them through the process of change.
Why do you think the work of LatinoLEAD is important for our community now?
LatinoLEAD is important for the community by the space they create for Latinx leaders to connect with each other. The meetings bring relevant information for all participants and amazing presenters from the community. The gathering of local Latinx leaders is important to continue to strengthen our community.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am most passionate about immigrant/Indigenous rights, youth development, and Latinx/Indigenous history.