This week, NBC 6’s David Jeannot interviewed my mother, Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, and her long-lost sister, Fanny Cuervo, as they finally connected after a lifetime apart. Thanks to NBC 6 in Miami, Florida for covering my family’s story. Watch the segment below:

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My entire family is overwhelmed with joy to finally meet our aunt and cousins and complete our familia.

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In 2009 I wrote a Father’s Day blog post honoring all the dad’s in my life – my father, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, including my mom’s father Apolinar Rodriguez Rozan. Little did I know that the blog post would spark a cross-Atlantic family reunion between my mom, uncle and their long-lost sister, Fanny.

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PICTURED (My cousin Beatriz, my mom Bettina, my aunt Fanny and my uncle Jose)

For years I had heard about my grandfather’s first daughter, a child he had from a relationship when he was young man in his native Spain (Pravia, Asturias, España). My mom had always yearned to connect with this mysterious sister but little was know about her.

Then one day the power of the internet helped our family connect the hidden dots…

In August of 2012 I got a message from a woman named Beatriz saying that we might share a grandfather, Apolinar Rodriguez Rozan. She had googled his name hoping to find out more information about her family tree and  up came my blog post. She promptly emailed me and explained her story, assuming I had never heard about her or her family. I was elated and quickly responded and told my mother who was overcome with joy. A relationship was developed and a life long family mystery was solved.

This week Beatriz and her mother Fanny Cuervo traveled from Spain to Miami, Florida, USA to meet their American family. For the first time in Fanny’s long life she hugged her younger brother and sister and finally learned more about a father she never met.

One simple blog post has connected my family and helped heal some open wounds. Though my aunt will never get to know her father (he died over 20 years ago) she has created a relationship with her brother, sister, nieces and nephew all who love her and are excited to know her and her family.

Tune in and watch Tavis Smiley’s Latino Nation.

Latino Nation

I was honored to be asked to be part of the discussion and add my voice to the two part panel. Learn more from going directly to TheLatinoNation.Com. The event is being broadcasted on PBS.

Here is more information on the event:

America’s 50-million-strong Latino community flexed its historic political muscle in the 2012 elections, evidencing the community’s growing influence. Now, as the immigration debate unfolds in Washington, Tavis moderates a national conversation on the challenges and opportunities facing this diverse group.

Hosted in partnership with the William C. Velásquez Institute, “Latino Nation: Beyond The Numbers” panelists examine a full range of Latino social, political, economic and cultural influence on American life, from the economy to politics, healthcare to education, immigration to foreign policy, as well as solutions for economic growth in this vital community.

Guests include:

Antonio González, president of the William C. Velásquez Institute; Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-IL; Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF;Stephanie Sanchez, student trustee board member of Chicago State University;Bettina Inclán, Republican political strategist; and others. [Click here to see list of guests.]

Greetings from Chicago State University where I, along with some of the nation’s top Hispanic leaders, are participating in Tavis Smiley’s “The Latino Nation.”  Hosted in partnership with the William C. Velásquez Institute, “Latino Nation: Beyond The Numbers” panelists will look at a full range of Latino influence on American life, from the economy to politics, healthcare to education, immigration to foreign policy, as well as solutions for economic growth in this vital community.

I am honored to be part of this great event. Thank you to Tavis Smiley (and his staff), Antonio Gonzalez of the William C. Velásquez Institute and my friend Hector Barreto.  Learn more http://thelatinonation.com/

TheLatinoNationPanel