Family’s Strength Drives this San Antonio mom’s journey from Tragedy to Advocacy
Published by UpTogether on
Oct 11, 2023 3:40:35 PM
Michelle grew up watching her mother, grandmother and aunt uplift their San Antonio, Texas neighborhood. Seeing her mother campaign during elections and her aunt run for president of their housing development gave her a front-row seat to the impact possible through community activism.
“My aunt, she made a lot of changes around there,” Michelle shared. “She went to all kinds of events downtown, protests, a lot of stuff like that.”
Family is a big reason why Michelle is currently interested in advocating for her Community and it’s also the reason why she smiles—saying she’s happiest when surrounded by her loved ones. The wife and mother of two cherishes every moment she spends with her siblings, children, husband, and parents. Nowadays a lot of Michelle’s time is spent in a car. She divides her time between searching for employment, shuttling her 14-year-old daughter to high school activities, driving her 8-year-old son to various sporting events and taking her husband to and from his job.
“I call myself the Uber driver,” she joked.
Michelle’s family is also an example of strength and resilience after being rocked by a Christmas Day tragedy twenty years ago. Her uncle was shot and killed by a police officer in the family’s backyard—a moment that shook her and her family to the core.
“They thought he had a gun and he didn't. He had a screwdriver. So they ended up killing him. Nobody was ever the same after that,” said Michelle.
She now hopes to one day use her voice to address law enforcement’s guidelines for immediate use of force and “oppose police violence.”
Michelle is one of 25 San Antonio residents who were randomly selected to lead an 18-month initiative called Rising UpTogether San Antonio—which combines monthly direct cash investments, the opportunity to build bridges in-person with others and influence policy change for her community. Michelle says she’s most excited about meeting new people and learning new ways to be heard.
“I would like to hear other people's perspectives on how everybody lives and how everybody deals with their own stuff,” said Michelle.
With a background in nursing, Michelle’s job search continues with hopes of finding something new with remote work potential. She knows the scheduling flexibility will help her family, and the consistent paycheck will work to ease the financial burden on her husband of 16 years, who is overcoming health challenges that surfaced during the pandemic.
“He had gotten knee surgery and then he needed another knee surgery,” said Michelle. “Then they found out he had arthritis and now they said that he needs a knee replacement. And then he has a shoulder injury.”
Despite the pressing need for surgeries, Michelle’s husband continues to work because their family depends solely on his income.
“He has to put [surgeries] to the side until we get financially stable and then he'll eventually get his surgeries. But first I got to find a job so that way I can help him,” said Michelle. “Because since I rely on him, [to recover from surgery] he's going to have to rely on me and that's the way it is.”
Over the next 18 months, we look forward to sharing positive updates about Michelle and her family’s journey and learning more about her experience in the Rising UpTogether San Antonio initiative.