The full julián castro presidential campaign announcement event

Good morning! And buenos días! Thank you, Mom. I’m guessing some of you are here more for her than for me. So many journeys for me and for my family began right here, and today we begin another one. I’m lucky in this journey, to have an incredible partner with me—my wife Erica. And I have amazing inspiration: our daughter, Carina, and our little boy, Cristián.

This is the place my grandmother, Victoria, came to in 1922 when she immigrated from Mexico as a seven-year-old orphan. It’s where she grew up, where she worked for years as a maid, a cook and a babysitter while raising my mother as a single parent.

It’s where my mother became an activist, working to improve the quality of life for her community. It’s where she raised my brother, Joaquin, and me as a single parent. Joaquin and I were baptized just over there (pointing) and so were my children. It’s here that I got a good public school education, and I had the honor of serving these neighborhoods as mayor of San Antonio.

Look around, there are no frontrunners born here, but I’ve always believed that with big dreams and hard work, anything is possible. This is a community like so many other communities in our country. A community of good people. Humble people. People who show up for work early and stay late —oftentimes at more than one job— so they can provide for their family.

When my grandmother got here almost a hundred years ago, I’m sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for President of the United States of America.

In the years to come, we must go forward as one nation, working toward one destiny. And that destiny is to be the smartest, the healthiest, the fairest, and the most prosperous nation on earth. Again, we must be the smartest, the healthiest, the fairest, and the most prosperous nation on earth. Demanding anything less is a failure of vision. Achieving anything less is a failure of leadership.

And the cruel policies of this administration are doing real and lasting harm. One of the things that I remember most about my grandmother is how she would talk to me about how she came to this country as a child separated from her dying mother. Even as a seventy-year-old woman, when she remembered those moments, she would cry like the seven-year-old girl she was when it happened, sobbing that she never got to say goodbye.

Yes, we must have border security, but there is a smart and humane way to do it. And there is no way in hell that caging children is keeping us safe. We say no to building a wall and say yes to building community. We say no to scapegoating immigrants, and yes to Dreamers, yes to keeping families together, and yes to finally passing comprehensive immigration reform

Today, too many families are spending more than half of their income on rent. And that means more families are doubling up, sleeping on the couches of relatives or even on the streets. But you know what? You hardly ever hear about it. That’s going to change. We will invest in housing that’s affordable to the middle class and to the poor. And I know we can turn things around.

Throughout our nation’s history, even in its darkest days, there have always been patriots who came together to do the hard work to get us closer to our nation’s highest ideals —those who fought to abolish slavery, suffragists who organized for a woman’s right to vote, a generation that sat in at lunch counters and marched across the Edmund Pettus bridge, the activists at Stonewall, and this generation that is Marching for Our Lives— people who have challenged us to perfect our union.