Dreaming las Américas: the journey of Representative Ricky Hurtado
On January 13th, 2021, Ricky Hurtado made history as the first Latino Democrat to be elected and sworn in to the North Carolina General Assembly.
“For many years, I have felt, leading up to this moment,” Ricky noted, “que no soy de aqui ni de alla.” (I’m neither from here nor there.)
As the son of immigrant parents fleeing the civil war in El Salvador, this was more than a political victory. Ricky Hurtado sees it as a watershed moment where he began to understand his Latinidad as a strength.
"My rise as a Representative, a politician in North Carolina, is directly tied to our story as a family," Ricky said. "The good fortune that we've had, the struggles and sacrifices that we've made as a family-- and that this is a natural next step in terms of everything I've been working for, everything they've sacrificed for me to get an education. I'll pass on those lessons and those opportunities to more people in the community and across North Carolina... ."
Dreaming las Americas: the journey of Representative Ricky Hurtado is a special from BPR that follows the Hurtado family’s journey from war-torn El Salvador to rural North Carolina in search of a better life. It’s a story of the strength of family, power of education, and dedication to community overcoming racism, and setting the stage for a new chapter of LatinX leaders in North Carolina.
Asheville-based audio journalists and producers David Seth Miller and Patricia Serrano are your hosts.
Ricky joined David and Patricia on BPR in December 2021 to reflect on his first year in office, answer questions from Western North Carolina youth and share what he learned about his own family's journey.
"Growing up, I didn't necessarily hear these stories. I think a lot of it was probably my parents shielding their kids from the trauma they experienced of what it meant to flee a civil war and come to this country. So as you grow up, embracing those stories.... about your history, your story and how the heck did you end up in North Carolina after the long journey you've gone through?"
Ricky said the experience of making the podcast made him see how important it is to talk about these stories and to document them.
"For as great as my parents are, their story isn't unique," Ricky said. "There are so many tens of hundreds of thousands of families in North Carolina who have similiar stories. I want to make sure we find ways to document those stories in North Carolina, because especially as we look at the next 10, 20 years in North Carolina, they are going to become an increasingly important part of how we tell the story of who we are as a community."