Adriana Sanchez and Cesar Lucio

Recorded September 25, 2023 Archived September 25, 2023 52:43 minutes
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Id: osv000124


One Small Step conversation partners Adriana Sanchez (35) and Cesar Lucio (57) find the similarities and differences in their immigration stories to the United States from Mexico, having immigrated at different ages and in different decades. They reflect on the discrimination they each experienced from Americans of different backgrounds, including other Mexican Americans.

Subject Log / Time Code

Cesar Lucio (CL) talks about being adopted and meeting his birth father when he immigrated from the Mexico to the United States as an adult, when his own son was 9 months old.
CL shares his evolving definitions of success and identity through the years.
Adriana Sanchez (AS) considers the "American Dream" and the generationally different systemic challenges blocking people from success. She reflects on the dependence of success on wealth accumulation.
AS shares her experience immigrating from Mexico to the U.S. at twelve, being discriminated against and seeing the bodies of her family members damaged by hard labor. She challenges the idea of the "good immigrant." She recalls that, despite earning good grades, she did not have the "papers" to attend college. She says she did not want proving people wrong to be her main motivation.
CL shares the struggles he and his children have had with their identity. His explains that his daughters were born in the U.S. and do not look Mexican, so they struggle to be recognized as such. He talks about the discrimination he faced from people in the U.S. for being Mexican and by Mexicans for "wanting to do better" than "working in the fields."
AS speaks about the criticism she received from older Latinos who had the perception that she had not struggled the same way they did. She says that, while she did struggle, she recognizes that she had opportunities others did not. She acknowledges her light-skinned privilege.
CL shares his struggle to support his young family. He remembers that, after recognizing his own advantages, he sought to help others overcome their own obstacles, co-founding a Chamber of Commerce to help Hispanics in business, then education.
CL shares his feeling that others who struggled more than him wanted him to adopt their mindsets, which he could not do.
AS reflects upon compassion, hurt, and what people project based on their own experiences. She wonders if the institutions where she works to help immigrants are actually needed or helpful because they were not built by immigrants.
CL shares that he feels hopeful about progress being made with protections and rights in the U.S. because he has witnessed so much progress being made with protections and rights since when he first came to the U.S. He acknowledges that things may not ever be perfect.
AS recognizes that these changes happen from the intentional work of people to make things better.
AS and CL reflect that positive changes come from people being willing to listen to each other.


  • Adriana Sanchez
  • Cesar Lucio