Half Salvadorian and half Cuban, Antonio arrived in the US when he was seven years old. Raised in Miami, he was pushed by his mother to learn English, to assimilate to the fusion of Latin American cultures in Miami and to excel in school.
In an effort to access better educational opportunities, Antonio’s mother moved the family from a small house in Little Havana to an apartment in Westchester so he could attend a Magnet High School for Engineering. It would be this experience what opened up his eyes to the large diversity of ethnicities, opinions, and backgrounds that make America the incredible country it is.
Apartment complexes have played a key role in the journey to educational opportunities, access, and mobility for Antonio’s family. He is a vocal supporter of affordable housing in cities: “Apartments don’t bring crime, apartments bring opportunities for families,” he says.
Like in many of our stories, Antonio’s mom, is at the core and center of this family. As a hard-working single mother, she brought up Antonio as an integral part of the businesses she ran. By the time Antonio was 11 years old, he could weigh an envelope on his hand and was key in the courier business the family managed.
While Molina would have loved to join the Airforce as an officer; not being a citizen was a barrier he could not overcome. So he enrolled in the Navy and worked with gas turbines and support equipment, moving through the ranks quickly he was promptly made the supervisor of the ships propulsion division. He got to be in four different ships in six years, learning to build friendships quickly.
In 2007, Antonio went to work for Mitsubishi Power installing and maintaining power plants and turbines. In 2008, he decided to assist with the family business (Consultorio Medico Hispano – “La Casita Verde”) and go back to school. He enrolled at Georgia Perimeter College as a veteran and later transferred to Emory.
With Political Science and Latin America / Caribbean Studies degrees, he entered the political arena, first serving on Jason Carter’s first race to the Georgia Senate, interning for Senator Thompson, Running Latino outreach for Jason Carter for Governor, and being named Chief of Staff for Representative Pedro Marin. Since then Antonio continues to play an important role in Georgia politics and has Chaired the Latino Caucus of the Democratic Party of Georgia since 2014.
Antonio, always said YES to leadership positions and was instrumental in encouraging and supporting the candidacy of (now) Representative Brenda Lopez, first Latina elected to the Georgia Legislature.
Today, Antonio is in this last semester at the Georgia State College of Law. He is a proud father and husband, a son, a mentor, a businessman and dear friend to many. Antonio leads his life with faith, focusing on the actions of Christ. Being a good Samaritan in both business and personal life, being your brother’s keeper and focusing on the greater good.
How do you see Georgia in 10 years? It depends on us, on how active the community gets and how much we decide to care about each other.