“Not solely to raise dollars”: Analco Gonzalez on Presidential fundraising
Earlier this month, NHI Distinguished Alumni Award winner Analco González, recently named to the San Antonio Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 honoring young civic and business leaders — hosted a fundraising event for San Antonio native, former HUD Secretary and San Antonio Mayor, and current Presidential candidate Julian Castro. The event — which included top NHI officials — was intended to provide support to the only declared Latino candidate in the upcoming 2020 elections.
Julián and his brother Joaquin — currently a U.S. Congressman representing Texas’s 20th District — have served guest speakers at a past Celebración. We interviewed Analco about the experience of hosting a friend of NHI as part of a landmark Presidential run, and how playing that role fits into NHI’s overall vision of cultivating Latino leadership.
You recently hosted a fundraiser for Presidential candidate Julián Castro; what moved you to participate in the political process in this way?
My family has always believed in community and civic engagement, whether by organizing the community for social justice, running for the school board to impact education policy, creating theatrical performances to bring messages of community, political and cultural values to the people in a palatable way, or block walking and fundraising for candidates that we believe in. My parents have known Rosie (ed: Julián’s famous Latina activist mother) since their days as activists in the ’60s and ’70s. So we have known the Castro family for many years, and have supported Julián politically since he first ran for mayor over a decade ago. Now, to have him, one of our city’s own, who was born and raised on the Westside, running for President is unprecedented. We are going to continue supporting him in every way we can.
There was a very interesting conversation at the last Celebración about Latinos and Latinas in politics — where do you see the Castro brothers fitting into the developing legacy of Latino leadership?
Both Julián and Joaquin Castro are contributing to the landscape and lens of social engagement politics and public policy in unique ways. Julián is only the 3rd Latino to run for the presidency, and representation matters.
It is incredibly significant for people to see a third-generation Latino operating at the highest levels of government. They are both part of a small group of Latinos, albeit a growing group. By sheer numbers they are critical to that legacy of Latino leadership. Julián in particular has made his history, culture and community a foundational piece of his campaign and global vision.
What do you think it says about NHI (and politics today) that NHI alumni are becoming leaders at the highest levels? (Two members of Congress elected last November, Xochitl Torres Small and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are NHI alumni, elected by dramatically different constituencies in large part by being able to genuinely yet distinctive speak to them.)
Several of us who hosted this fundraiser are NHI alumni. We each experienced at a very young age leadership, social responsibility, and community engagement. Whether it be serving as a Lt. Gov. at an LDZ, serving as a Secretary of State, or learning the art of conveying ideas and messages through a Great Debate, we carried those lessons over into our professional and personal lives. These experiences along with the current political and social climate are causing more and more NHIers to get involved. Beyond the critical foundations of NHI, social engagement and community entrepreneurship, NHIers every day across the world are contributing through their leadership. It’s never been a question of would NHIers do this–but rather when. It’s evident; the time is now.
How do NHI teachings dovetail with traditional political events like a fundraiser? Were there aspects of this fundraiser that were different than a typical fundraiser because of an NHI influence? Or is hosting an event like this something that requires embracing a traditional political mechanism in its totality to help more Latinos get elected?
I chuckled on this, because if there’s one thing that is ever constant in an NHIer, it’s that we don’t follow paths because they are “traditional” or “the way things have been done.” In terms of a campaign for the Presidency of the United States of America, this was by no means a traditional event.
The event was not solely to raise dollars. It was about engaging a network of community that has a desire and momentum to make social change for our community and lead the way for the next generation of this country. It was about putting the talent, vision, and support behind someone that very much represents us. We engaged NHIers and familia from across the state and even other parts of the country with the idea that this would begin a series of events and momentum building from key parts of the US. We had young people present: College students, young professionals, and even high schoolers, who would never be invited to a traditional event of this type. It was very much in the spirit of NHI, with the intent to create unmatched experiences that will forever be ingrained in the life of those young people.
It was also done in a way that embraced our culture and legacy of familia. Rosie, Erica, Christian, and Carina (ed: Julian’s wife and children) were all there with Julián. My two nephews, nine-year-old Alexandro and 11-year-old Anom, were there so that they see someone like them running for the land’s highest office. Their world view is already altered by having a moment like that — that’s the spirit of NHI and what has been done for thousands of lives for the past 40 years. We’re proud to be a part of that legacy and of how we created this gathering — we look forward to many more.
For more information on Analco and the work he and fellow NHIers are doing in San Antonio, visit OCI Group’s website, http://www.oci-group.com.