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My Luso Story: Paulo Salgueiro Jr.

#MyLusoStory is an open and honest series about the Portuguese experience in America.

"I will forever dedicate my life to giving back to communities and helping others achieve their goals, because just like my parents and other immigrant families, everyone deserves a chance to succeed." 

Paulo Salgueiro Jr.
Paulo Salgueiro Jr.

"For those who may not be familiar with the Azores, they are nine islands in the Atlantic Ocean and an autonomous region of Portugal. 

My family immigrated to Rhode Island, United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They too, were from the Azores. My mother is from São Miguel and my father is from Terceira. My family immigrated for the same reason many other immigrants do — to seek the “American Dream,” to give their children more opportunities than they had.

Being a first generation American wasn’t always easy for me. I love seafood, specifically, sardinhas, and apparently some of the students I attended school with didn’t share the same admiration! However, I am forever grateful for the opportunities I had. I was able to graduate from high school, college and graduate school, something that wasn’t possible to many in my family.  I will forever remember the first breath of fresh air I took when I got off the airplane after landing in São Miguel for the first time. One of my favorite features of the island are the black and white cobblestone roads. The roads on the island are narrow because there used to be only horses and carriages, no cars. Many parts of the island are becoming modernized now, but the cobblestone roads, I hope will stay forever. The sights and smells of São Miguel are forever embedded in my memory. 

Paulo Salgueiro Jr. on his first visit to São Miguel, Portugal
Paulo Salgueiro Jr. on his first visit to São Miguel

When I visited Portugal, I wanted to learn as much as I could about how my family lived. I helped my family in the garden taking care of the vegetables (I gained a love for inhames - taro root). I also enjoyed working on the farm with animals, milking goats, making cheese, tending chickens, etc. These were life skills, I learned, in the motherland. I was lucky enough to stay in the same house that my great-grandparents and mother lived in. There is something about having that opportunity that I cannot describe. Knowing I was in the same room, the same kitchen, and walked the same floors is just indescribable. After visiting the Azores, I came back with such an appreciation for both the United States and the islands. There was something about visiting my family’s homeland that I just can't put into words. It was an opportunity to see the beauty of my heritage and the islands but also to see firsthand the struggles my family faced. Having immigrated to the U.S. to start a new life, my parents instilled in me that hard work pays off. I am 26 years old and have had the opportunity to run for public office for State Representative in Attleboro, MA, host my own radio program, The Paulo Salgueiro Show on WARA 1320AM, and was elected to the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence. I will forever dedicate my life to giving back to communities and helping others achieve their goals, because just like my parents and other immigrant families, everyone deserves a chance to succeed.  Nowadays, I enjoy cooking traditional Portuguese foods — especially making cheese — listening to Portuguese music (like cantoria ao desafio, desgarradas, fado) and making comedic videos via social media while promoting Portuguese culture to the world. 

As a Portuguese American, I believe we should try to understand where we come from and be proud of such and do our best to preserve our history and share it with others. We should also do our best to understand other cultures. We can have pride for the Portuguese culture but also understand that everyone has a history, and everyone wants what is best for their family."

— Paulo Salgueiro Jr.

From: Attleboro, MA

Portuguese Family From: São Miguel and Terceira

Follow Paulo Salgueiro's alter ego, João Cagão, on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.


Funny. Heartfelt. Genuine. My luso stories are told firsthand by our liveLUSO community revealing the role that Portuguese culture has played in their lives. When we hear each other's stories, we develop a greater understanding and sympathy for each other. And oftentimes, we find that we can relate to people we've never even met.

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It could be a one paragraph vignette on what you enjoy about the Portuguese culture or a tale about your family's journey to immigrate. It could be about a past tradition or who you are now and how the Portuguese culture has helped shape you. We welcome all stories!

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