The Healthy Future Hustle
By: Alejandro Flores-Munoz
Twenty-three years ago, my mom brought my brother and me from Guadalajara to the U.S. in search of a better life. I have her to thank for the opportunities and career I now have. Seeing her in one of her first jobs as a canvasser not only instilled in me a strong work ethic, but the importance of building community power. These traits are what sparked in me my entrepreneurial spirit and are what drive me forward in my business and activism every day.
But let’s be honest, getting to where I am today hasn’t been easy. As an immigrant and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, I have encountered barriers every step of the way. I persisted with many side hustles to gain a sense of economic security until I could eventually turn one into my main hustle.
Today, I am the proud co-owner of Stokes Poké, a food truck and catering business that feeds up to 1500 people every month in the Denver metro area. I’ve broken through barriers and fought to get here, and I continue to fight each day to make it in an industry that wasn’t designed for people like me.
I’m sharing my story to help others see entrepreneurship as a viable option for themselves, particularly immigrants and people of color hoping to scale up their businesses in an unwelcoming professional setting.
Too often my community is only making enough to survive. I want to create wealth — not only financially, but in terms of opportunities and leadership advancement — to pass down to future generations. I don’t want people to worry about how to pay for college or put food on the table. Instead, I want communities of color to achieve a level of economic independence that makes it easier for us to fight for policies that create meaningful change.
Policies will only reflect our needs when we are represented and heard. Only when people of color and immigrants have a seat at the decision-making table with other business owners will we have the power to create and enact policies that truly benefit us, now and in the future. We are committed to meeting the needs of our community; it’s time that people in power give us the opportunity to do so.
One of our biggest — and most urgent — needs is to address the climate crisis. We’re already seeing longer droughts, less rain, shorter school days, and more frequent evacuations. I’m afraid to see what will come next if we don’t take action now.
Thankfully, there are steps that every person can take for a better future for us and our planet.
To do my part, I’m standing with conservation organizations that are building a movement for all people, not just white, wealthy folks. Conservation Colorado’s commitment to creating opportunities that better resonate with communities of color through their Latinx leadership program Protégete and community justice campaigns is one that I especially value.
Stokes Poké partners with Conservation Colorado because we agree that the environment, economy, and social justice are inseparable. Through our partnership, we gain information about environmental issues and are empowered to advocate for policies that secure a healthy future for all.
We do this work as members of a community. And you belong to this community, too.
Your contribution to Conservation Colorado supports opportunities for all people to get involved with environmental action. It means doing your part to secure a healthy way of life for our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Will you join us in this fight?
Alejandro Flores-Munoz is an entrepreneur, Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance member, and DACA recipient. He runs a YouTube channel called UndocuHustle and strives to provide resources for people of color and immigrant entrepreneurs. Through his food truck business, Stokes Poké, he and his business partner live their values by paying their employees a living wage and building wealth in their community.