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Spotlight on Latinx Achievement featuring Jimmy Longoria

Tell us a little bit about yourself? How do you identify as a Latino/a/x and what does that mean to you?

The year I was born, the sign, “No Dogs, No Negroes, No Mexicans” was peppered across the United States. In self-defense, my grandfathers led my extended family in grooming me to be a champion against this economic racism. I learned to read and debate at an early age, in preparation for becoming an elected executive. My educational journey included investment by many experienced and motivated mentors committed to my goal. Immersed in the United Farmworkers struggle, mentored in governmental politics, and groomed to think beyond myself and the immediate circumstance, I was a promising young leader. My grandfathers tempered my soul by emphasizing honor before personal gain. My grandmothers demanded responsibility for those less fortunate than myself. My circle of mentors immersed me in the Chicano Movimiento to become the first Chicano Governor of the State of California. However, in the annual exercise of predicting what year in the future California would have a Chicano Governor, I found despondency in every year forced to reply that it would not happen in my lifetime. The reason for this was not society’s racism, but it was our own. We divide and conquer ourselves – we did then, and we must continue to do so.

I made the decision to pursue a different course in championing for my people - I chose to become a Chicano Artist. I define Chicano beyond the identity of “Mexican American” to include all peoples formed by the collision and fusion of Iberian culture (Spanish diaspora) and Indigenous American (El Pueblo).

I am a Chicano. It means that my identity is in the future.

What inspired you to the work that you do as an established visual artist and how did you get there?

I am “The Chicano Artist de Minnesota.” My mission is to define the aesthetic of all future Latinos through the expanse of my work. I practice art designed to be understood in twenty years in the future of its creation date.

What is your experience with LatinoLEAD? How did you first hear about us?

I was at the first ideations of LatinoLEAD, and witness to the struggle to clarify the mission. I became an ardent supporter of every re-imagination and reformation of the evolving purpose of the organization. I have been a constant advocate of more aggressive and insightful engagement in LatinoLEAD. As a Bush Fellow Alum (2010), I have employed LatinoLEAD to reach out to young leaders to mentor their pursuit of the Bush Foundation Fellowship (a $100,000 award for self-development) which I think is pivotal to any organizations growth.

Why do you think the work of LatinoLEAD is important for our community?

Minnesota has become the epicenter of corporate junior executive officer development. Minnesota’s corporate amalgam is drawing some of the best and brightest Latino future leaders here. Junior officers of major corporations influence extensions of those corporations on both shores and into the Southern Hemisphere. Key decisions of national culture are incubated here in Minnesota. I have high hopes that LatinoLEAD can be the gathering, nexus of these social leaders, and that the synergy will help Latinos nationally address all the challenges that we face.

Do you have any words, tips or thoughts to inspire the LatinoLEAD network?

Get an original Jimmy Longoria art piece in your office. This is not a self-serving dictum. I have worked hard to encourage patronage by the most discerning and promising executives in the Twin Cities. A Longoria in your office is a mark of commonality with the future Latino leaders.

Do you have any words, tips or thoughts to inspire future Latinx artists and creatives?

The door to my studio is always open. Understand that we artists number in the thousands, and there is, at this very moment, the emergence of Chicano Art collections in all of the museums across the country. If you are not associated with prominent artists, you will not gain an introduction to participate in the advancement of aesthetic emergence. My advice - whatever kind of creative you are; you sing, you dance, you sculpt, you paint - connect with me.

Anything else you'd like to share with the LatinoLEAD network?

We need to realize that we are in the 21st Century. We statistically will be the cultural core of the United States of America in two decades. We have a responsibility to be ahead in all dimensions, of everyone else. This is what will make Latinos the leaders of North America.

Lastly, plan and act in twenty year concepts.


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