Julian CastroJulián Castro, who served as secretary of housing and urban development in the Obama administration and is currently considering a run for the White House, engaged in conversation with Maria Hinojosa, the anchor of National Public Radio’s Latino USA, at an event organized in October by NYU Law’s Brennan Center for Justice. The occasion marked the publication of Castro’s new autobiography, An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream.

In a wide-ranging exchange, Castro (whose twin brother, Joaquín, is a member of the US House of Representatives) discussed his time as mayor of San Antonio, the challenges facing Latinas and Latinos in the current US political climate, his mother’s political activism, recent voter-suppression tactics, the damage caused by the Trump administration’s family separation policy at the border, affirmative action in higher education, and the likelihood of Castro’s running for president in 2020.

Select remarks by Julián Castro at the event:

“This was supposed to be a time for the Latino community where we would continue to advance. As I tell in the book, my grandmother never got a formal education, and so she worked as a maid, a cook, and a babysitter. And then my mother was able to go further. And then Joaquín and I have been able to go further than her and go to law school and become professionals. And it feels like this is a time when a lot of the leadership in Washington, DC, is hellbent on pushing back against that, and on limiting people again and picking and choosing who gets opportunity.”

“I'm thinking a lot about Latinas who are influencing the national political conversation, whether it's Emma González from Parkland or Edna Chavez from Los Angeles, part of the [March for Our Lives], or whether it's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez here in Queens, or whether it's Ana Maria Archila standing in the elevator with Senator Flake. There's a lot of Latina power that is just surging.”

“I visited the Ursula processing center in McAllen, and also the federal courthouse in Brownsville where children and undocumented immigrants go through as they're separated from their families. And I consider what this president has done to be a human rights abuse. I consider it basically state-sponsored child abuse. They've inflicted life-long trauma on these children.”

Posted December 20, 2018