As the daughter of immigrants, I often find myself reflecting on what being an “American” means and whether or not I fit that mold. My parents, like millions of other immigrants, decided to bring us to this country for a better future, one filled with opportunities. Because of this immense sacrifice, I was able to attend great schools and have the opportunity to make it to and through college. I now proudly serve my community through teaching and fully take part in improving the opportunities available to our youth. I hold a teaching credential, a bachelor’s degree and am working on a master’s degree and despite taking part in all of the institutions, I often struggle to think of myself as an “American.”
For a long time, I was conditioned to believe that being “American” means being white, wealthy, and educated. In 2016, “Hispanics accounted for the second-largest racial or ethnic group behind whites,” according to statistics published by the Pew Research Center. In many ways, this is our America due to the ways we contribute to our communities daily. It’s no secret that many of us have faced great challenges to achieve what we have been able to, but we need to fully embrace these challenges and use them to represent our communities in the positions of leadership we deserve to be in.
America is often referred to as a “melting pot” but it seems that people of color in leadership are being left at the bottom of the pot and white leadership is rising to the top. From its founding, America has been intentionally segregated and divisive. Now that our numbers are rising in terms of representation, it’s time to mix it up and reclaim America to be the melting pot our future generations deserve.
My American dream is different than the ones my parents dreamt, but I owe it to them and my community to keep it going. This election day, let’s show up to the polls or contribute to our country’s political process in whatever way we are able to, and reclaim this “American Dream” generations before us have longed for.
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