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If They Can Do It and Make It, So Can I

By Felipe Cuatecontzi

September 15, 2022

Felipe Cuatecontzi
For me, Latinx Heritage Month can be summed up in a very simple, yet inspirational phrase, “If they can do it and make it, so can I.” 

This realization surfaced during my sophomore year of college, the first time that I had an educator that identified as Latinx. At the age of 19, I remember how that moment felt. A sense of confidence was evoked, and I thought to myself, “If they can do it and make it, so can I.” 

I imagined the influence it may have had upon my life to have more educators that shared my identity. For example, if I had this same experience in 3rd grade, how much more influential could it have been upon my life? 

This became the reason why I wanted to teach elementary students in Indianapolis —to ensure multilingual families and language minorities had an instructor with whom they shared similar backgrounds and experiences. TFA afforded me this opportunity to serve as an advocate and supporter of the growing Latinx community in Martindale-Brightwood. I recall sharing what it was like growing up as a first-generation Mexican American in Indianapolis, while also reminiscing on the time spent in Tlaxcala, my parents’ home state in Mexico. This allowed students the opportunity to see the path I took to succeed as both a scholar and professional, a responsibility I embraced, and one that continues to drive my work today.

I knew the influences that I did not have and used those experiences to be that representation for so many other Latinx youth. Although Latinx Heritage Month serves as an opportunity to experience different cultures and learn about the histories of others, it is also about uplifting and supporting the future generations of Latinx leaders to rise in Indy and lead lives full of possibility. 

Many of us have those moments in our lives that served as a catalyst for some type of change. Just as my professor did for me during my sophomore year of college, I strive to be that representation for others to think, “If they can do it and make it, so can I.”