How does your family & community history connect to your American creed?
How did we get here from Afghanistan?
Due to war and Taliban rule, migrating to the nearest country was the only option. Houses with pictures, clothing, and sacred items had to be burned before the Taliban came and confiscated your things. It was good to get rid of any items because it could lead to clues of escape. The Taliban were on a mission to punish anyone that went against their murderous teachings. Afghans were forced to move to countries like Russia for stability and safety, and my family did just that. This photo is from last year, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where my parents went for a trip to visit some family that remained there.
What happened in Russia?
My parents moved to Russia for safety and stability. My dad had 70 dollars in his pocket to start a new life. My father started working as a shoe salesman. He worked long hours to provide for his family. My father worked there with his two close friends who were also Afghan refugees.
After working for a while, my parents decided to have a family. My sister, Yalda, was the first in our family to be born. A year and a half later, my other sister, Nasrin, was born. My parents slowly became used to the Russian way of life.
After settling in Russia for a couple years, some of my family members on my dad side also followed and joined us. We got together with other migrant Afghans and a community started to bloom. It slowly became to feel like our new home.
The last 8-9 years of living in Russia, my parents decided to apply for the green card lottery. This decision was made so they could come for better opportunities and better education. Our application got accepted, and we came to the United States in the year of 2003. This is the year I was born.
After settling in the United States for a few years, my mom and dad took their naturalization test and became citizens. My sisters were really proud because they had to learn English on their own, and it wasn’t easy. The test was about the US government and tested their reading, writing, and speaking skills. This picture was taken in New Haven, CT.
The reason why I work so hard in school and extracurriculars is because my parents worked hard to get here. The least that I can do is make them proud of the sacrifices they made for me. They came to America for opportunity and for a better life. As an Afghan American, my hope is to educate people about my culture, people, and language. I want to bring some understanding of Afghanistan to the United States, and I hope I can do that one day as I grow older with a bigger audience. My family is the definition of hard work and that determination can take you far. This is how my family connects to my American creed. `