It’s our turn to unite, build and bridge for the next generation

By Alan Antonio

My name is Alan Antonio, currently I am a second year student at Santa Monica Community College and a lead organizer with Our Turn. Most importantly, I am the proud son of immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico. 

In 1996 my mom left everything she knew behind and migrated to California, the place where her grandparents once worked the fields as braceros. She knew that the road ahead of her was going to be anything but easy, but nevertheless, she pushed forward and kept going despite the obstacles she faced in the hope of giving her children the opportunities she did not have.

My mom would stress the importance of education, helping one another, and the significance of a community to my sister and me. This ideology started to become clear in 2005 after immigrating back into the US after living in Mexico for 2 years of my life. 

I grew up in an apartment building located in Los Angeles, California, on 8th street and Ardmore. While my community was low income, it was rich with culture and often gave a sense of unity. 

Looking back, I learned most of my values from that building. I grew up seeing problems my family faced, and because I was only 5 years old at the time, I thought they were problems only my family had. As I grew older, became more observant and started talking to my peers, I realized that many others were facing similar challenges, such as: language barriers, food insecurities, and more. I noticed that these problems connected, almost like a spider web, and over time I learned that the problems that I thought connected are called intersectionalities. Despite this all, we held our heads up high and pushed forward every day. 

Growing up, the people in my building made me feel at home. When we first moved in, some family and people already living there welcomed us with open arms. Despite everyone having diverse backgrounds, people in the building became family, and at times of uncertainty we united and helped each other. From this, I learned the importance of unity, building relationships, and bridging. 

These are values I hold to this day and try to incorporate in my work with Our Turn. From spearheading campaigns, canvassing at universities, coalition building with students, to giving presentations at ED Trust West. Those values will never go away. 

With the relaunch and transition from SFER to Our Turn, now it is OUR TURN to unite, build, and bridge for the next generation.