First Generation

How does your family & community history connect to your American creed?

By Devin K. from Avondale High School in Michigan

I am the first generation to live in America in my mom’s family and second on my dad’s. 

My mom originates from the slums of Hong Kong under the oppression of poverty and communism. She tells me stories of how poor they were, using spare yen to beg at the back of restaurants for extra food or getting their teeth pulled in the back of allies because they didn’t have the money to afford dental care, or using the bathroom in the middle of their apartment where there was a drain to keep the water bill down. Hearing these stories present the harsh reality of outside of what I call home, and here about her home.

My grandmother didn’t want them to suffer here, so, without even speaking a word English made the brave decision to move to America. There life here was much better already then in China, too Americans though, it would be a low standard of living. Even after moving here though, hardships still followed. Discrimination was the worst of it all, my mom wouldn’t stand next to grandma because she was so embarrassed to be seen with her out in public. 

They made it through the adversity though, and too help pay for the bills, my mom helped at the family restaurant. Coincidentally enough, that is where my parents met. Finally, she saved up enough to pay for college, the first ever in her family to go. She studied to be an Engineer at GMI and became an airbag engineer. 

That is American Creed, the progression of my mother's story, the hardships, struggles, and opportunities. If my grandma never made the choice to move here, to the land of opportunity, my family would be in a totally different situation. Everyone starts from somewhere, some started lower than others, but that’s what makes the American Creed, American Creed. The drive to keep on working to achieve your dreams. For my mother, she experienced American Creed at its finest, a Chinese immigrant moving to America, working at a restaurant, then going to college to fulfill her dreams. I will never understand how it must have been to immigrate from another country to America, but from what my mom has told me, it must’ve felt like finding the holy grail.


Avondale High School

Avondale High School

Avondale High School is in Oakland County, in Southeast Michigan.

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