Deep Roots on San Antonio’s Southside

Christina Gonzalez was born and raised in the Southside of San Antonio.

She has raised her children—who are now 10, 13, 17, and 20 years old—in the same house she grew up in, among neighbors that she has known since she was a little kid. She loves her neighborhood and is proud that her children will know it as well as she does— they now walk the halls at the same schools she once attended.

“It’s a place where neighbors have each other’s backs and where neighbors are eager to lend a helping hand,” Christina says, adding, “If I won the lottery, I would never move.”

Still, she wishes the neighborhood got more attention from the city. With few streetlights, sidewalks, stop signs, or speed bumps, she doesn’t feel comfortable letting her kids play outside unattended. Even after working with neighbors to sign and circulate petitions, nothing has changed.

Christina says it has been the same since she was a kid, when her dad set up lights in the yard. “We always had the brightest house,” she says, “because my dad wanted to make sure we didn’t have to worry.”

Like her father, Christina always has her kids at the front of her mind. Providing for them has been increasingly difficult the last several years as she’s experienced health challenges. Christina has been disabled since the young age of 31. After getting heart surgery eight years ago, her health started to decline.

Throughout her health struggles, Christina has worked hard to provide for her family. So hard that doctors have told her that she needs to slow down. However, that is not an option for her.

During the pandemic, Christina was able to qualify for Medicaid and was put on monthly antibody infusions. The infusions, while costly, help keep Christina alive.

At one point, Christina got a job working 20 hours a week for $12 an hour. She made too much money to continue to receive support through Medicaid and would have to pay $743 every three weeks to continue receiving her critical infusions. She ended up quitting her job to get back on Medicaid.

“I need these infusions to live and to be able to walk. It is not a choice,” says Christina.

While Christina takes time off from work and navigates the healthcare system, she’s working on figuring out her next steps.

“I want to be able to help. I want to give my story and help people understand the reality of being disabled.”

Christina is working on herself and focusing on self-care, spirituality, and self-motivation so that she can support her community and others like her.

She’s off to a strong start. Recently, she participated in Cash Without Conditions, a panel where she shared her story to help people understand what living with a disability in San Antonio is really like.

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