Friday night’s highlight had to be the keynote delivered by Mayor Julian Castro, and he did deliver.
Introduced by his brother, Joaquin, Mayor Castro gave credit where credit was due for their success–to his mother and then his grandmother.
“The reason I’m standing here before you today is that my mother didn’t just dream. In ways big and small, she helped my brother and me chart a path that would bring those dreams to life. And that path was a great education.”
The example provided by an orphan-turned-immigrant grandmother who struggled working odd jobs, was one of resiliency to their mother who then passed it on to them so the brothers could have a better shot.
“My family’s story isn’t special. What’s special is the America that makes our story possible. This is a nation like no other, with unlimited potential, and a Texas where great journeys can be made in the space of just a generation.”
The Stanford and Harvard-educated Mayor hit on education most, highlighting a successful program in San Antonio that has thus far helped over 10,000 students–Cafe College. Cafe is a one-stop shot in downtown San Antonio where students can receive help from everything from college test prep to financial aid paperwork.
Comparing Texas to a coin one may find on the ground–shiny on one side and dirty and tarnished on the other, Castro stated that what we do in Texas really does matter.
“If we get this right, we’ll be a model for America. If we get it wrong, we’ll be a cautionary tale. A coin in which the decay creeps around and overtakes the shine.”
One of the best lines I heard from him was his comparison of students he met in the halls of prestigious universities to those kids that sat with him in class at his own Jefferson High School or kids from around the state.
“The difference was not one of talent, aptitude, or drive. The difference was that, too often, their lives were lived on the wrong side of the coin–the side where opportunity, expectations, and support were in too short supply.”
And these are definitely the kinds of stories that stir up emotions in all sorts of voters, especially Latino voters. Along with the Democratic Party planks supporting health care reform, education opportunities, and jobs, and more, Castro hit it out of the park on Friday night.
Let’s hope the video is released soon. We need to re-live this.