Hugo was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and was raised by his mother after his father died when he was two years old. Hugo was sent to live with his uncle in Compton, CA at age thirteen. There, he faced enormous struggles adapting to a new place, learning English, and dealing with all of the struggles of a teenager coming of age away from his family in a very difficult environment and neighborhood.
After high school, unable to attend a four-year college in spite of his excellent grades, and having to work full-time to help his family, Hugo enrolled in a local community college. He attended intermittently and eleven years later he was able to get his AA degree in Mathematics. Hugo continued taking community college classes and started to work with teenagers at his church teaching Confirmation and First Communion classes as well as helping lead the youth group. This is where his passion for social justice and public speaking began to take off. Hugo also discovered the passion to encourage and motivate minority and low-income students, especially fellow immigrant students like him, to pursue a college degree.
Hugo is now working on transferring to a four-year college to get his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. His placement as a DreamSF Fellow with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity will allow him to weave together his experience of religious topics with his passion to bring healing and solutions to the immigration humanitarian crisis. There, he will be hosting prayer vigils at an ICE detention center in Richmond, CA and will work to connect detainees and their relatives with local churches and congregations who are offering support, help and healing.
Hugo’s outlets for de-stressing include playing soccer, jogging, mountain-biking, hiking, camping, and road trips. He also sings in his church choir and hopes to learn to play the guitar and write his own songs soon.