Hello there, my name is Adrian Rosario Beato. I’m currently a junior at Ithaca College. I’m part of the wrestling team, the vice president of PODER: Latinx Student Association, and The National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA) president.
I was born in the Dominican Republic, where, as you might expect, not everyone lives in the best of circumstances. In the Dominican Republic, life is challenging, opportunities are rare and resources are limited. Do not get me wrong, my country is one of the most beautiful islands in my heart. My culture is full of happy, dancing and loving people. But living in a country where the monthly minimum wage is at most approximately $368, it gets pretty tricky to move forward in life, especially when you have kids and other family members to take care of. While this relates to many other Latinos in this world, despite the hardship, we still find a way to keep a smile and bring that SAZON (sauce) that sweetens up this world with our food, language and music. The trip to Nueva York was my first time moving to and living in the United States. Fun fact: Dominicans see New York as the States; we love New York, wow — how can I express the feeling of seeing snow for the first time or those substantial fancy buildings that tell me, “One day, you’ll be working up here.” The dream of an immigrant father who worked so hard to get his family here so they can have the opportunity to improve in life. The expectation, vision and effort of now pursuing my dreams to make them a reality and paying off my parents’ hard work can’t be described in words. The hardship of learning a new language in a new country with people you have never seen before, new friends and new demographics was an experience I will never forget.
Moreover, being a Hispanic student-athlete at the college is an interesting story. I have never experienced any type of discrimination, doubt or racism at this school. In fact, the only time I have ever experienced any discrimination was when a past teacher of mine at my high school doubted me so badly because he thought I was not “enough” to be a student at the college. He believed the college would be too challenging for me and I was going to struggle because of my SAT score. There you go — a person defining my destiny because of a scoring record. Hearing those words made me angry; I couldn’t believe it. How dare he say that? I got in, didn’t I? However, it was not that easy to destroy my optimistic attitude. My life has been challenging; everyone’s lives have been challenging. Life is hard, and I’m going to choose my hard, meaning that I choose the challenges and risks that are worth taking in life. Being at college, all I have experienced is love and a mindset of wanting to improve in life. Although the school is predominantly white, the students all come from different backgrounds, which only allows me to learn from them. IT DOESN’T SCARE ME when I sit in a classroom being the only Latino with brown skin in the room. Never have I thought, “Maybe I don’t belong here.” Instead, being the only brown skin Latino in a room motivates me. It fuels me because I’m making a difference and I feel a sense of PODER (power). It’s almost as if not only am I trying to achieve my goals, but I’m doing it to give a good name to Hispanics. I feel a sense of responsibility to let others know that we are intelligent and hard workers.
As a member and the vice president of PODER, I will explain to you the meaning behind this club and its significance. PODER is a Latinx Student Association where our purpose is to bring students of Hispanic/Latinx heritage at the college together, develop and promote diversity and understanding of Hispanic/Latinx culture on campus and provide an environment where students can learn about themselves as individuals as well as their cultural history. This organization is available to anyone on campus to learn about our culture. Overall, our mission statement is to develop Latinx/Hispanic student–leaders and motivate Latinx/Hispanic students to excel academically, socially adapt to the college community and ultimately find a place to call casa (home) where these students can find a second home and family to feel strong, supported and motivated. In the end, together, we are PODER!