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Visibles: Johnny Gonzalez’s mother taught him a valuable lesson about courage

Johnny Gonzalez_Visibles Season 5
Gaby Lozada
/
NHPR
Johnny Gonzalez is a medical assistant in Nashua who works seven days a week. He’s been doing that job for 17 years and says it’s a blessing to help people. In his little free time, he focuses on his passion: music.

In this fifth season of Visibles, we explore stories when Latinos had to be brave. We asked, what is courage for them? And we found beautiful, compelling stories.

Johnny Gonzalez is a medical assistant in Nashua who works seven days a week. He’s been doing that job for 17 years and says it’s a blessing to help people. In his little free time, he focuses on his passion: music.

He is a DJ who works at community events, birthdays, and weddings. His favorite genre is bachata, but he also loves all other Latino genres.

He is a fulfilled man, he says. But his life wouldn’t be what it is now if it weren't for his mother.

Read this story in Spanish here.

JOHNNY GONZALEZ_INGLES (1).mp4

He was born with a birth defect in his arm and grew up afraid of other kids making fun of him. His mother constantly told him he shouldn’t feel discouraged or ashamed, but he wouldn’t listen.

One day, his mother gave him an ultimatum: he should stop hiding his hand, or she would do something about it. The lesson she gave him there pushed him to accept himself and, Johnny says, to follow his dreams.

But the bond he has with his mother goes beyond that story. Johnny and his brother lived in Philadelphia 20 years ago in what he says were times of violence and crime. His mother was worried her sons would get killed by a stray bullet, so she took all her belongings and left the city.

How she arrived in New Hampshire is an anecdote Johnny says he won’t forget.

This is episode 19. To watch all the episodes, click here

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.

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