The United States of America has been built by generations and generations of immigrants, whether that immigration was voluntary or not. Personally, this ancestral history has fed into the way I carry myself and the creation of my American Creed. My American Creed is that you can do or be anything you wish as long as you put in the work. Where my family and I have come from has impacted, but doesn’t define, where I am going. Where I come from is the foundation from which I can build.
I come from a family of Mexican immigrants who are hard workers. My maternal grandparents were the first to migrate in their families from Mexico to the United States of America. As human beings they had the “freedom to move,” (United States Declaration of Human Rights) and they took advantage of it. In Mexico they were incredibly poor and felt a strong pull to come to the United States, the country of opportunity and money. When they arrived they worked long exhausting hours, driven by the passion of wanting to provide for their families and wanting to take advantage of arriving in this prosperous country safely. Their story has become an inspiration to me. As a student, I work hard and push myself everyday so that I can take full advantage of the opportunity provided to me. This seems to be a trend within hispanic and immigrant students in general. Anne-Marie Nunez, Associate professor of Educational Leadership says these “students often do very well in both the K-12 and college systems — often serving as leaders in their schools.” This is likely due to the fact that they are driven by the passion of chasing the American Dream, a passion that was passed down to me and helped me create my American Creed.
Coming from an immigrant family can also have negative effects. Despite the fact that I identify as a Mexican-American I look solely American. I have green eyes and a light complection so have not been discriminated against based on my skin. My mother is what is called a “morena clara,” in other words she is a light brown shade and has experienced prejudice. However, she did not allow where she came from to negatively affect grasping opportunities. She used her culture and diversity to enhance her skills within her profession, but also knowing Spanish led to so many more open doors and greater opportunities.
Through the life lessons passed down from my grandparents to my mother to me, I have learned that my culture and heritage is something important to carry into my life and my work, but should never be a sole definition of or limitation to me. I know I can achieve my dreams as long as work hard because that is exactly what my family has done.