Meet Julian Castro, the First Latino Keynote Speaker at the DNC

With all of the hype surrounding the Democratic National Convention tonight, MamasLatinas' writer Mariela Rosario is looking forward to Julian Castro's speech the most.

The most buzzed about speech of tonight's Democratic National Convention opener has GOT to be San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julian Castro's. As the first EVER Latino keynote speaker, Castro has a lot riding on this speech, and I have to say -- I don't think they could've picked a better man for the job.

Mayor Julian Castro is about as close to a Latino Obama as we can get, and I'm not exaggerating here. He is the Democratic party's rising star and they have made an incredibly wise decision in bestowing upon him the honor that so many other notable men and women have held before (President Barack Obama himself, as well as incredibly influential Texas Rep. Barbara Boxer come to mind). Most importantly, his story is one that many Latinos can identify with and believe in. You see, it all started with Castro's mom ...


No really, it did. The mayor's mother has influenced his life in a major way, and I don't just mean with discipline and a mother's touch. After a failed run at San Antonio city council back in the 1970s when Rosie Castro was just 23 years old, Castro's mom found her calling as a civil rights activist. Dragging both Julian and his twin brother Joaquin to political rallies, marches, and speeches was a natural thing for Rosie, a single mom, to do. She wanted to keep her boys close, but she also wanted to show them how much hard work it was to really create change.

During those years, there was a serious struggle going on with regards to civil rights for Mexican-Americans, and Julian's mom was in the center of it all in the contentious state of Texas. It was a struggle that earned her hate mail and the unwanted attention of the U.S. Dept. of Justice -- but she refused to be intimidated and what resulted was two sons deeply committed to public service and the greater good. Rosie isn't the only strong female role model the Castro twins have either. Their grandmother, an orphan, immigrated from Mexico to the U.S. in 1920 alone as a young girl and taught herself how to read and write. I mean, you can't get any more "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" or -- dare I say -- American than that!

Both Julian and his brother Joaquin attended top-rated colleges (Stanford and Harvard respectively) and clearly followed in their mother's and grandmother's footsteps. This is why I think Julian Castro's moment in the spotlight tonight might be a turning point for Latinos in American politics. Julian Castro is not only the first ever Latino keynote speaker at the Democratic National convention, but I believe he also has a really solid chance of becoming the first Latino President of the United States if he plays his cards right. 

Mayor Castro already has a clear path to follow, laid out by current President Barack Obama, who back in 2004 electrified the Democratic party and had everyone talking about the 2008 election before the voting for the 2004 election was even finished. Castro, 37, is the youngest Mayor of any major city in the U.S. San Antonio has been thriving under his leadership, but many feel that he is too young for a national spotlight, and they may be right. But I guess we'll just have to watch and find out tonight!

Are you watching Mayor Julian Castro's speech tonight at the DNC? 

Written by Mariela Rosario on


Image via JaimeRPuente/Flickr

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