The Castro brothers — Joaquin and Julián — were sitting on stage at the Pearl Stable the evening of Oct. 30 for the San Antonio Public Library Foundation’s “Get Lit” series of author interviews.
Julián Castro was there to talk about his memoir, “An Unlikely Journey.”
But at the outset, Joaquín Castro was ready to clear the air.
“A lot of people think you wrote this book because you're running for president, right?" he said to his brother. "But you actually got the contract to write the book in 2012. So, what took you so long?”
Julián explained: “Some of y’all may remember that I did get the contract to write this book not too long after I delivered the keynote address at the (Democratic National Convention) in 2012."
"I think I started it in, actually, 2013 ... and then put it on hold when I went into the Obama administration because, under the ethics rules, you can't work on anything that's income-producing when you're a cabinet member. I kind of laugh at these days,” he said with a smile.
The conversation between the brothers touched on family history, the cultural shock of leaving San Antonio for Stanford University, and topical issues like the current administration’s 2018 family separation policy — which Julian Castro called "state-sponsored child abuse” — and the value of immigrants in America.
“When we measure the value of immigration that we ought not to just measure it by one generation, because folks make a contribution that is lasting," Julián Castro said. "As Joaquin always says, our grandmother didn't live the American dream by the conventional model.”
Joaquín Castro said: “We think of the American dream in material terms, right — that you own a house, or that you get a car? There's some materialism associated with it. But if you measured a lot of people in that way then you would say that they never achieve the American dream.”
Julián Castro added: “Yeah, our grandmother never had a house, she didn't own a car, she didn't have a bank account … but you know, she raised a daughter that became the first in the family to go to college … and then one of the last things that she was aware of when she was in her last two weeks — basically, in early 1996 — was that I had gotten into Harvard Law School. And we were already at Stanford, and so she saw that generational advancement that has been the beauty of this country over the years.”
LISTEN | The full interview with Julián and Joaquín Castro