On February 2, 2019, I got the opportunity to present at the inaugural TEDxUTEP conference. The theme of the event was “Access and Excellence” which is the dual mission set by our long-time University President, Dr. Diana Natalicio. I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences I received at UTEP, and I love El Paso, so I decided to speak on the growth mindset imparted on the people of the desert. Friends have been asking for a video of the presentation. I don’t know when that will go live, so in the meantime, I thought I’d share the transcript I wrote to prepare my talk. This isn’t 100% what came out on stage. I’m less eloquent in speaking and memory isn’t perfect. But the message I wanted to deliver is here.
One of the most glaring cultural problems I’ve found in the city is that few people seem to be proud of being from here. I must’ve felt the same sentiment as a youth, but the more time I’ve spent outside of the city, the more fondness and respect I develop for the upbringing the city afforded me.
Manifestos for their own sake are stupid. This isn’t that. Rather, I think it's important for people to level with who they are so they can track a course for who they want to be. Unfortunately, there’s an odd disconnect between what the city is and what every local campaign claims it to be.