Brandon Mendoza

Please explain what you do for living.

I work for the leading regional economic development organization. I manage federal and local government affairs. But broader than that, I work in economic development.

How important in your identity is being Latino?

Its essential to who I am. I am African American and also Dominican. From last names to everything else, it is key who I am. But more important, it is essential to my cultural identity.

Is there something that you particularly value of your nationality or being Latino?

One thing that I have come to appreciate more and more as adult is just the family of culture that a lot of Latinos are raised with and also I’d be lying if I didn't say the food. I think we have some of the best food in the world and I’m glad I got to experience that. Now as an adult, I can make a good number of Latino or Dominican dishes.

Have you been treated differently because of being Latino (in the workplace, in public settings…etc.)?

I am both African American and also Dominican, which obviously has a huge amount of African within that as well. I’ve probably been more discriminated against based on my skin tone, but I don’t know how much because things are often hidden. Growing up in Brooklyn as a Latino, African-American, and also being of a darker tone, I had to constantly explain where I was from.