Throughout my life, my family has kept the Mexican origins and our background history. I am Mexican-American, and for a while, I could not understand the importance of valuing the roots of where I ascended from. I am fortunate enough to be born in the United States, and to grow up in a country where so many opportunities are given to people. Most importantly, though, I have learned that embracing our cultures is what shines through our personality and goals as a human being.
Immigration today is by all means a controversial issue, but it is also the heart of this country. America is shaped and rooted by histories of different cultures from around the world. One can walk down the streets of Chicago and find diversity among races, religions, and cultures interacting. It’s truly a beautiful sight to live in a world where one is not discriminated based on their complexity or cultural background. Of course, this is not always the case nowadays; however, America has significantly improved in this. In my childhood years, I was lucky enough to attend schools that were disparate. Looking back at my earlier years, I understand how valuable that experience was. When I first attended Michigan State University (MSU), I was scared, anxious, and shy. I didn’t know what to expect from a larger-than-life school. As an out-state-student, it was hard to adjust to the independence. One of the main aspects of MSU is diversity. It is rich in culture and race today, and with several organizations to join, it allows each individual to be a part of something great. I eventually discovered Latino organizations and after joining one of them, it made me happy that I found people who were similar to me. It is rewarding to attend a school that promotes all ethnicities. I take most of the advantages of what the university has to offer, and being able to be part of a group, makes me feel intact.
One can never fully understand an individual’s story of immigration. People simply see different faces and hear distinct languages, but they don’t understand the insights beneath that. I used to think that immigrants came to America solely for freedom. Freedom is just one reason. When my grandfather first told me his story on why he decided to immigrate to the United States, it was for a better future. He knew that leaving his own country was worth the risk. Today, my family is grateful for their lives and what this country has offered. For some, immigrating to the United States is to search for the American dream. For others, it is to make a profit. Though for my family and I, it is to take advantage of the opportunities given to us and make something out of it. Embracing our cultural background is what makes this country so unique. This country allows each individual to express themselves. Everything is built upon diversity such as language and food, and without this aspect, America would become dull and lifeless.
As President Obama once said “My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers, once too”.
August 17, 2015
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Niagara Foundation, its staff, other authors, members, partners, or sponsors.