José Manuel Álvarez was born on August 8, 1963 in San José de La Fuente, El Salvador.
He is one of nine children born to a humble agriculture worker and his wife, whom passed away when he was still very young. From an early age, his father took on the role of both parental figures in order to raise his children. He had to learn from a very young age what it was like to take on adult responsibilities, including aiding his father in the fields where he worked, and was deprived of a full education as well as other conditions due to their lack of resources. Yet that did not deter his hopes of one day providing a better life for his family.
His aspirations to obtain a better future, for himself and his family, are what led him to immigrate to the United States. In 1985, upon arrival in the United States, he had to forge a path for his own by working hard to help the family that had stayed behind. While he remained with hopes of return, today, he has established a family here with three children and his wife. While he still maintains strong ties that assert his identity as a Salvadoreño, he recognizes that for the time being the U.S has become home. “El Salvador es mi país. Soy Salvadoreño pero ahora también tengo un lugar en los Estados Unidos.” (El Salvador is my country. I am Salvadoran, but I recognize that I also have made a place for myself in the U.S).