Produced by students in Communication courses
at Capital Community College
Who is Raul Dejesus? by Shanielle Redmon | April 2011
Thereís no doubt about it, Raul Dejesus made a conscious decision to change all odds against
him at a young age. Before Raul was born, his mother had already been tested to overcome her own
set of obstacles.
She became pregnant her senior year; due to the pregnancy she was not able to
graduate from high school. If that was not enough, she was faced with the challenge of raising a
child with Down syndrome all by herself. Shortly thereafter, she met Raulís father and they added
on 3 more children to the family. Along with the new additions. Raulís loving mom, adopted another
child with special needs and two other children with drug addictions. These three additional
children came from other family members. This laid the solid ground work to understanding where
Raul got this amazing strength; from and amazing mom.
Before Raul reached the age of ten, both of his parents had been affected by injuries that left them disabled.
Since churches and food pantries were not enough for the family of nine, Raul took matters in his
own hand; he had to find a solution. Most kids his age were focusing on sports, game systems and
etc. Raul was left to put those luxuries on hold. As Raul stood outside a local grocery store
he analyzed how much money he needed to feed his family. Meanwhile, he over heard a couple complaining
about how long the cashier took to ring them up and bag their groceries. A light bulb went off in
Raulís mind and he decided to approach the grocery store manger about bagging groceries for free.
Raulís mission was to be paid in tips! Although it was a great plan, Raul was only 10 years old and
the manager declined his offer; however, due to Raulís persistence, the manager allowed him to give
it a shot. Raul started bagging groceries and was making about $3 a day. This business mind state was
only the beginning for Raul, he would soon there after start cleaning windows and selling chocolate.
These other money making ideals brought in about $150 a day. And by the time Raul was 19 years old he
a proud homeowner and provider for his family.
Since he never seen himself in a position that he could be at a better place, he was able to stay focused
in the midst of opposition. He uses his family as his strength to remain focused on his short and long term
During Raulís 2005 internship with Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, he became inspired to run for mayor.
Although the internship was a prestigious one, Raul instantly knew he would have to prove himself.
Raul wasnít born into this lifestyle by parents nor social class, just pure dedication. No one paid his
dues; everything was up to him to attest. While interning Raul was exposed to some issues that made him
even more passionate about becoming a part of the solution in Hartford. One of the main pushes came when
he was watching the David Letterman show one night. On this particular show, there was an 18 year old, by
the name of Michael Session, who was recently elected mayor of Hillsdale, MI. Session had became the
youngest mayor in the United States. Raul was inspired and he began to set out on his own mission to run
for Mayor of Hartford at age 18.
He also made preparation to get in contact with Michael Session himself; the two remain good friends to
this day. Because of Raulís courage to run for mayoral office, he was selected to be a part of a movie
released in November 2010 called "The Youngest Candidate." The movie consist of Raul and three other young
candidates who were determined to run for City offices despite their age.
Given that Hartford is Raulís birth place, a lot of history and time have been spent there. He believes
Hartford is a good City; although, it has the potential to be a great City. Hartford is a melting pot,
which welcomes people from different countries.
He acknowledges, due to the fact that there is a lot of movement (migration) in the Hartford schools
there will be some degree of social issues. He explains how they do not have the luxury as suburban
neighborhoods. Suburban schools typically have home owners; people who have a vested interest in their
neighborhood and schools. While the city is more consumed of renters and if you move from one block to
another, your child could be in a totally different school. Raul encourages parents to believe in the
schools and come together as a whole to address the issues that people tend to not want to address.
Although Raul enjoyed his experience running for Mayor, he is unquestionably not interested in running
again. Having worked for the Police department for three years, Raul thought a career in law enforcement
would be a good idea for him. At the time, Raul only possessed high school education and a police officer
would be the highest paying career for him with job stability; it sounded perfect! Upon revisiting the
path, he decided it wasnít him; he felt it would be settling because it was not his true passion.
This was a tough decision for him, since his family felt like it was the most secure path; it
was not his path.
Raul DeJesus presently sits on the board of a couple committees. Just to name a few, The Hartford Food System,
The Parents Academy, Charter Oak Boxing Academy and The Youth Commission. He feels it is crucial for
him to play these roles in the community because he is able to bring understanding of minorities into
a room of more privilege people who may not otherwise been able to comprehend.
Raul and lovely wife Margaret Dejesus have been together now for seven years and married for two.
They both welcome Raul Dejesus III into the world March 14th 2011. Raul explains his birth as being
the most uplifting thing that has happened to him. Although Raulís dad only completed the 9th grade
and his mother dropped out as a senior in high school, they always instilled the importance of family
to Raul. Now it is important to Raul to break this cycle and leave a legacy for his son to continue.
Even though Raul is full of wisdom, he acknowledges that is no set tips or words one can say to assist
in the improvement of someone elseís development. He makes it clear that in life we get a lot of signs;
some we need to learn how to read and ignore others. Raul knows we all are capable of trying to reach
our goals; however the key is not trying for only 5 minutes, but for a lifetime.
Raulís level of humbleness is simply amazing. When asked if he considered himself to be unique from
most young men his age, he proclaims there are a lot of people just like himself. He clarifies that
he can juggle a few things that others can juggle too, but choose not to.
Journalism student Shanielle Redmon talks with TV Production student Bob Simon about her
experience interviewing former City of Hartford Mayoral candidate Raul Dejesus.