For many years, Arturo Minera ('14)
allowed people to call him Artie because they had trouble pronouncing his name. But Minera believes your identity is who you are and something you should own, and now he's unapologetically himself.
"This is something with a deep-rooted personal conviction," Minera says. "They couldn’t pronounce it, and I felt awkward. As a full-fledged adult, I realize that didn’t really resolve the issue. The reason I want to go by Arturo now is because the kids I work with are going through the same thing and we’re allowing—in many parts of our culture and in being here—for us to give up more of ourselves.
"We got to fight back and say, 'Nah, man, my name is Arturo.'"
While Minera’s parents emigrated from Guatemala, he grew up in Miami, Florida. His father made the decision to pursue opportunities in Cincinnati, Ohio, after a push from his grandparents.
Throughout his childhood, Minera felt like he was one against many since the people around him didn’t look like him. It was when he came to Northern Kentucky University that he found himself.
"There is a specific kind of energy you get when you’re the only person," he says. "You can do some miraculous work when you’re one against 100, but you do some powerful stuff when you’re in 100—when you’re in a group of people who are like you. Just knowing there was a program in my college years… with so many people down with the mission and the idea of promoting the culture and how to do it right."
While on campus, Minera got involved with Latino Programs and Services
(LPS) and the Latino Mentor Program
(LAMP). While this helped him find a relatable group on campus, he says the real impact is when everyone gets involved and "plugged in" to other groups on campus.
"I think what’s so successful about the office and how we do things is that we are very silent. We just do it," he says. "It was so awesome when we realized there was successful Latino representation in every social fraternity and every honors fraternity here. That was a big win for us when we saw that there were search committees for provosts and many upper positions that we were involved in. The student rep was a Latino, and it wasn’t something we bragged about. Whatever we’re doing was working."
Minera says he was the shyest and quietest person, but NKU's programs helped bring him out of his shell.
"When I was in that room, when I was in those organizations, I was more like everyone else around me,” he says. "I think that was the most rewarding part of my involvement."
Minera, a first-generation student, was proud to see TRIO Student Support Services
and LPS guide him through his college career.
"They reached out to me," he says. "I got to trust that whoever is reaching out to me is looking out for my best and understands the context of where I am coming from, and they did."