Inspired by hearing a first-gen American astronaut on the radio, Jose Hernandez left the fields of California to journey into outer space.
In 2004, José M. Hernández finally went to the moon after 11 attempts – but how he got there is why he’s the most impressive astronaut in the universe.
The child of Mexican migrant workers in California, Hernández remembers the moment he realized he wanted to go to space:
“I was hoeing a row of sugar beets in a field near Stockton, California, and I heard on my transistor radio that Franklin Chang-Diaz had been selected for the Astronaut Corps. I was already interested in science and engineering, but that was the moment I said, ‘I want to fly in space.’ And that’s something I’ve been striving for each day since then.”
This NowThis video details Hernández’s incredible journey to space, but it’s the fact that he was inspired to do so by Chang-Diaz, a Costa Rican-American astronaut of Chinese descent, that really blew our minds. This is what people mean when they talk about representation and inclusion – when kids look on TV and see someone that reminds them of themselves achieving greatness, they realize that they can, too.
Hernández is so much more than a man who never gave up on reaching the stars. Seriously, he even founded a nonprofit to help other kids get there. His journey that began as the child of migrant farmers is evidence that representation and inclusion really do work. We’re looking at a cycle of inspiration for all of us. What’s more American than that?
Recently, he made a video in support of DREAMers.
— Lyanne Melendez (@LyanneMelendez) January 26, 2018