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Albert Martinez-Castro

“What is home?” That is a question I've been thinking about a lot lately. At first, I thought home was the place that was most comfortable. Recently since graduating, I believe that home is where my family is. A lot of the things that I know and do now, I’d like to thank my parents for. I identify as a second-generation Mexican Immigrant and first-generation to go to school. Being able to go to university was because of my parents. So I owe a lot of love and respect to them, especially my siblings.

I feel like the Twin Cities is my home. But the place that I've lived the longest is Rosemont, Minnesota. It is pretty much a little over 90% white people. That is a place that as a minority or a person of color, it tests your identity. There's a very low population of people of color, and there is very little diversity. You have to go through challenges in middle school and high school, like bringing your own ethnic food to school. They judge you, these cultural norms of ours, they judge you and bully you for it. For me, I was able to reassure myself like, yeah, I'm Mexican. I'm not going to compromise for what you're not comfortable with. Because this is who I am.

I went to St. Cloud State University, and my major was real estate. St. Cloud State is also a predominantly white institution. It’s like that feeling of never being your true self around a majority of white people. Because you're just a little brown speckle on a white canvas. You’ll always be noticed. Being a second-generation immigrant… It's hard. My parents didn’t have the time to learn the American education system, so I had to make time for it. Especially with college, my parents didn't know anything about it, so I had to figure everything out on my own. I had to figure out how to study and do time management.

Future Goals

My ultimate personal goal is to have unlimited happiness. I want to be that person that if you throw a ball at me, I’m always going to be happy. My career goal is to be in a real estate development that focuses on environmental issues and promotes more green spaces and wellness. A place that brings calmness, happiness, and peace. I feel like nature is the best thing that can solve any issue.

The pride of my culture was passed down to me. My dad was cheesy in that way. He’d say, “We're Mexican, not Mexican’t.” He would tell us, “Look, we’re doing just fine. Who says that Mexicans can't do it? Look, you went to college, we live in a house. We can do it. Be proud.”

Interview by Elizabeth Mendez (2021-2022 Storyteller)

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