Originally from Uriangato, Guanajuato, México, Antonio Arellano was raised along with his four siblings in La Cinta, a deeply impoverished but culturally-rich town of just over 300 people in the state of Michoacán. Economic hardship ensued on Antonio's parents from inaccessibility to healthcare and lack of educational opportunities; led them to make the incredibly difficult decision to leave their home country for an opportunity at a better life. They believed in the American dream and risked it all to offer their young children the childhood they never had. With his family, Antonio migrated to the United States at the age of three.
A strong sense of determination, perseverance, and hard work ethic were instilled in Arellano at a very young age. He grew up watching journalists like María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos narrating history as it unfolded. It is these memories, along with his fascination with powerful Latinx figures such as César Chávez and Dolores Huerta, that Antonio credits for his lifelong passion for human rights and social justice.
A man on a mission
Thanks to the tremendous sacrifices his parents made, Arellano’s upbringing was drastically different, yet still filled with arduous obstacles. After settling down in Dalton, Georgia, Arellano grew up in a middle-class neighborhood and graduated from Southeast High School, where he was a student body leader.
However, Antonio soon learned the small town of Dalton did not have the resources or opportunities he would need to realize his dreams. On graduation night, as Antonio delivered the commencement speech, Antonio’s dad packed everything they owned into one car and that same night they made the big move to Houston, Texas, where Antonio now calls home.
Antonio later earned his associate’s degree at San Jacinto College, before enrolling into the bachelor’s program at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. During college, Antonio began to use his social media platforms to disseminate information on a variety of topics that predominantly affected the Latino community, such as civil rights and immigration. His innovative use of digital content and unique storytelling quickly catapulted Antonio into becoming one of the leading Latino social media influencers in the United States.
Modern Day Civil Rights Advocate
In 2015, Antonio focused his platform on local Houston politics, collaborating with non-profit organizations to help educate, empower, and encourage more civic engagement amongst Houston’s Latino youth. During this time, Antonio interviewed all Houston Mayoral candidates and organized multiple candidate forums throughout the city, highlighting the importance of accurate representation.
In 2016, Antonio joined the social media staff at Ed Gonzalez’s campaign for Harris County Sheriff and witnessed the Democratic candidate get elected in the largest county in Texas. Later, Antonio’s strong influence in the Latino and millennial community caught the attention of ABC13-Houston who extended the opportunity to Antonio to become the first social media influencer that the Houston news leader ever signed.
Today, as the interim executive director at Jolt, Antonio is laying the foundation for a Latino movement in Texas, while building the political power and influence of the Latino electorate.
Arellano’s voice continues to amplify the cries for justice from oppressed and marginalized communities in the 4th largest city in the country through his new initiative, USA Latinx: A national cohort of powerfully progressive organizers and leaders. Antonio remains committed to empowering Latinx youth in America for generations to come.