Our seat at the table – The story of Nelson Diaz
Imagine sitting at a large dining table with a group of successful people. On one side of the table, you have an accomplished lawyer/judge who rose up the ranks to White House HUD General Counsel after growing up in the Harlem Projects by his single mother. Across from him is a White House Fellow who was able to serve under Vice President Walter Mondale for the Carter Administration. Next to him is a sitting board member of a Fortune 500 company.Lastly, you have an activist who while in law school joined forces with the other students of color to fight to have more minorities enrolled and supported in the law school. Now what would you say if this wasn’t a group of people but only one man named, Nelson Diaz.
Who is Nelson Diaz?
Nelson Diaz is real, he has countless accomplishments throughout his career, and he isn’t stopping anytime soon. Most recently, he has published an autobiography detailing his life and inner thought throughout these monumental events. I had the pleasure of meeting Nelson in October and then rejoining him at a “Meet the Author” event at Hunter College in New York.I cannot tell you how enamored I am with everything he has done. What is even more amazing is he has helped numerous people along the way and never forgetting where he came from. At this event, the room was filled with not only students but also seasoned professionals that Nelson helped along his journey who follow and support him at each and every venture along the way.
No soy de aqui, ni de Alla
Nelson’s autobiography is appropriately titled “No soy de Aqui, ni de Alla” which translates to “Not from here, not from there”. The title alone is pivotal and important among the Latino Community because many times we do not feel accepted among the masses. As Nelson points out too that even in his Mother’s birth country of Puerto Rico he is seen as an American but here in the states he is considered a Puerto Rican before being looked at as an American. Nelson throughout his life has always looked for places of belonging but found out along the way that there may not always be a spot for you so you need to speak up and ask. This was a common question Nelson trumpeted along his journey challenging authority asking why there wasn’t more Latino representation. He has worked on both sides bridging Democrats and Republicans together to make a change and open up doors for Latinos.
A platform for success
Latinos come from many different backgrounds, walks of life, and lastly different countries of origins but we need to band together to help our cause as a whole. We also need to do what is right and just in this world and serve as an example of hard work and values to show we deserve a seat at the table. Nelson has done this and he continues and is a great of example that we can look upon as a role model. He is definitely a platform for us Latinos to learn from and respect. We need to use him as an example that no matter what your upbringing or what resources were available to you, we all have the opportunity to succeed and prosper.
A definite addition to your reading list
I recommend to anyone looking for inspiration or motivation to push through his or her current boundaries to pick up this book and read it cover to cover. It is the pure definition of the “American Dream” and shows even through struggle and injustice, one can achieve greatness.