Addressing the plight of the Hispanic community in Massachusetts, it is about time for a change in the society. The devastating disparities can be seen in the life of an immigrant child as compared to a child born in the U.S. Juan Gallego belongs to Colombia, where he was born and raised. Later, the family fled their homeland and sought asylum in Massachusetts 15 years ago.
Starting over at a new place comes with certain obstacles. They had to face a different challenge each day, from learning a new language to learning about the custom and culture of the place, while growing up because his parent’s divorce and moving to a new country meant financial restraints. As he grew up, he saw that he wasn’t the only one; many students were having the same experience growing up. They all had seen or witnessed crime, hunger, a broken home, language and cultural barriers, lack of school resources, and mental health disparities.
These disparities that he saw is what motivated him to work for public service. He is currently pursuing political science from Northeastern University. He might not have had the chance to make a difference in his home country but he is passionate and willing to make a change in his adopted community.
Although Hispanics represent the largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority in Massachusetts, there are only five state legislators who identify themselves as Hispanic. Gallego has been named a Truman Scholar. The scholarship is a national award for those pursuing careers as public service leaders. He plans to further work to advocate for disenfranchised communities.
He hopes to be able to become a congressional aide where he can work into policy making. Later, he might even go for a joint law and public degree to be able to provide legal support to the community. Being a Truman Scholar has provided him with a platform and endless resources, to continue to advocate for disenfranchised communities in Massachusetts and around the world.