I was born and raised in the border city of Chula Vista, where every other person and restaurant is Mexican, and every other word switches from Spanish to English. I came to Chapman University to pursue a degree in peace studies, and in my first semester I went from speaking Spanish every day to maybe once a week, usually short exchanges with Chapman custodial and facilities staff members.
One day, I was walking back to my residence hall from class, and as I said buenas tardes during such an exchange, I became very aware of my privilege. I realized that I was in college because even though my mom is a Mexican, born and raised in Tijuana, and my dad is a Cuban immigrant, they are racially white. That greatly increased their social capital. I decided I would use my white privilege and college education to empower my Latinx community so that our skin color wouldn’t have to separate us.