Born in Mexico, raised in the Midwest, Eduardo is passionate about bringing the two cultures together. He is a founding member of NOPAL Cultural, a Latino-American arts organization, and host of Espanglish Night and Radio Calaca music events. He also manages events and appearances of his friend El Camaron Electronico, a luchador whose mission is to bring culture to the community. He currently serves as a member of the Immigrant and Refugee Service Corps section of Americorps, serving as a Staff Artist at Big Car Collaborative. At Big Car he focuses on community outreach and programming that relates to immigrants in Central Indiana. He has a BA in Media Arts and Science from IUPUI. He loves living on the Near Westside with his wife, Emma.
How long have you lived in Indy?
I have lived in Indianapolis for about 17 years, three years in central Illinois area and before that. I grew up in Guerrero, Mexico.
Why have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector?
I am very new in the nonprofit sector. After I graduated from school I spent many years in the restaurant and hospitality industry. I started being interested in this career when I started to see the roll of nonprofits in communities, and the first experience working with a nonprofit was in a Latino women's shelter in Chicago, where my wife was serving as the shelter’s director.
How did you find your current position?
When I moved back to Indianapolis, I became interested in booking music shows at a local bar. My focus was in creating an environment that could attract Latinos and non-Latinos to share the same space to enjoy live music and create community. I started to attend more music shows and cultural events in the search for more musicians. Then in one of those events I became aware of Big Car Collaborative when I meet Anne Laker, a member of Big Car, at a local cultural event named UPRSNG. At that event we got a chance to talk about Big Car and their role in the local creative culture. After our chat she invited me to one of their public meetings hosted at their community space in Lafayette Road named the Service Center. Months passed by and I kept in contact with Big Car. I got a chance to meet an Americorps member that was serving at Big Car and he invited me to look into the Americorps program named Immigrant and Refugee Service Corps. A few months later I was offered the opportunity to serve as an Americorps member at Big Car Collaborative.
What would you say to another young professional considering a nonprofit job?
Get involved with an organization in your neighborhood such as church or community center and learn about their mission. See how they are working to improve the community. Go to their events regularly and volunteer. Get to know the organization and see what it is like to be a part of this kind of organization. The nonprofit sector isn’t for everyone — it is a lot of work, usually without much pay, but it can have a lot of humanitarian rewards.
If you could learn a brand new skill, what would it be?
Learn how to remember names because people love it when you remember their name.
If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?
At times I would like to be a large rock because sometimes I don’t want to move at all and just chill!
What do you hope to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
I hope to become a better communicator, specifically in writing and in public speaking. I didn’t grow up with the habit of writing, which is a critical ability in the nonprofit sector. Every day I am working to improve my writing skills. I would also like to be able to communicate better with larger groups and facilitating.
Share a little-known treasure of Indianapolis with us.
Purpose Park located on 58 North Holmes Avenue in the Near Westside. There is a great little pocket park with a Pontiac Bonneville car as a sculpture. This is a great example of how a nonprofit (Keep Indianapolis Beautiful) and the community worked together to create lasting-impact project.
Most important question: If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
Luckily, I have a very close friend, El Camaron Electronico, who is a local super hero! He wears a lucha libre mask and brings arts and music to the people of Indianapolis — constantly protecting them from his nemesis — King Boredom — with the help of his superhero friends, Eva Extravaganza, Meltface and many others.
Want to keep up with Eduardo's work? Catch up with him at a Big Car Collaborative event!