Neighborhood Roots - Neighborhood Hopes
Miguel Bustos, a 34 year old openly gay Latino, was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, on 24th and Harrison Streets in the Mission District in 1969. Born to the late Rosa and Salvador Bustos, he is the youngest of six children. Growing up in a proud immigrant and union (Laborer's Union, Local 261) household, he attended St. Peter's Elementary School on 24th and Florida Streets. It was at Archbishop Riordan High School where he became heavily involved in student activities. He played the clarinet in the band and acted in several plays in the school's drama department. He was also involved with Riordan's Retreat Program, coordinating and directing several retreats around the city. By his senior year in 1989, he was elected Student Activities Director.
In the Fall of 1989, he attended college, the first in his family to pursue a post-secondary education. At Holy Names College in the Oakland Hills, he began his work toward a degree in Political Science and Politics. Throughout college, Miguel was actively involved in student government, first as class officer his freshman and sophomore years, moving on to Student Body Vice President his junior year and finally as Student Body President his senior year. During this time, Miguel was the World Affairs Council of Northern California's first Community Outreach Intern. During his internship, he designed a public educational forum, held in the Mission, on issues of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It was the first time that the World Affairs Council had held a forum in the Mission. When he graduated in 1993, Miguel was leaving Holy Names College as its Commencement Valedictorian, a B.A. in Political Science and a Founder's Medal Recipient.
After completing his B.A., Miguel moved to Washington, DC, to pursue his M.A. in Political Science at The American University. As a Graduate Fellow in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, he worked closely with the various ethnic and under-represented communities within the university and the local DC Metro area. In 1994, Miguel had an idea. He wanted to gather a group of students and young professionals from California concerned with the tragic propositions ( Proposition 187 and Proposition 209) emerging in their state. Soon after, he and a few others founded the Young Latino Initiative. The group met at his home every Saturday and, over a breakfast of chorizo and eggs, planned workshops and conferences designed to help individuals within Latino communities confront the issues of health, education, immigration and violence. In May 1995, he graduated from The American University with a Masters Degree in Political Science, concentrating on Conflict Resolution and Community Development. His Master's Thesis centered on the “personal to political” transformation in the lives of South African Apartheid Activist, Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Central American and Indigenous Liberation Leader, Archbishop Oscar Romero; and Green Party Founder in Germany, Petra Kelly.
After graduation, Miguel was appointed to serve as one of four youth advisors to President Clinton on Youth and HIV/AIDS. Together, they wrote a policy report entitled "Youth and HIV/AIDS: An American Agenda," that investigated concerns relating to the physical and mental health issues of adolescents regarding HIV/AIDS. The report furnished recommendations on AIDS policy to the President, Members of Congress, local officials, and various leaders who can influence the lives of young people.
In 1997, Miguel was promoted to the Office of the Vice President and became Policy Advisor to Mrs. Gore. He advised Mrs. Gore on issues relating to health (SIDS, AIDS, Cancer and Physical Fitness), education (Higher Education and Technology) and community development. In addition, he served as one of the Vice President's key advisors and liaisons to the Latino, Native American and LGBT Communities.
In 2000, Miguel returned home to serve as Director of Community Affairs for Northern California for California's Coordinated Gore/Lieberman Presidential Campaign. Miguel developed and oversaw the implementation of Gore 2000's Campaign's Outreach and Inclusion plan for the Bay Area. He successfully built relationships with constituency groups; especially faith based communities and communities of color. In addition, he focused on registering more voters and engaging women and communities of color in civic activities and the political process.
Recent highlights include: serving as Executive Director of the California Latino Civil Rights Network (Latino Network). The only statewide organization that focuses on the threats to civil rights aimed at the Latino community in California; and serving as Program Officer for the Marguerite Casey Foundation. As a member of the program team his responsibilities included researching and evaluating potential grantees, working with Latino, Native American, Asian, African-American and LGBT communities and organizations, and analyzing and educating grantees on public policy. His regions included California, the Southwest, US/Mexico Border and Native American reservations and communities.
Currently, Miguel is Policy and Community Relations Advisor for the Community Technology Foundation of California (CTFC). In October 2003, Miguel joined CTFC to help develop the policy agenda and increase community relations among current and potential grantees. In his first month, he helped organize a focus group session to obtain community feedback on a preliminary policy framework. In addition, he was recently named a Next Generation Leadership Fellow by the Rockefeller Foundation.
His volunteer activities include affiliations with the following local organizations: Human Rights Campaign (Steering Committee Member), San Francisco General Hospital Rebuild Steering Committee (Member), Mission Education Project, Inc. (Advisory Member), The Horizons Foundation (Board Member), Mission Neighborhood Centers (Board Member), and Latino/Raza Educational Advisory Group for SFUSD (Member). He has also served on the Board of Directors of the following national organizations: Nation Hispanic Education and Media Group, National Catholic AIDS Network, The Names Project, Political Research Associates, and the Victory Fund.
Miguel loves his city and he still lives in the same house that he grew up in on 24th and Harrison Streets.