Wednesday, August 03, 2011

I approach you from a point of apprehension and concern because I see in you moments that have happened to so many and that will continue to occur. I realize that you are the product of the experiences you have had , but let me tell you that so am I and so are we all. The difference is the choice you make today!
It was not so long ago that I, unfortunately heard the cries, smelled the fear and suffered the agony of almost certain demise. I know I felt as I wasn’t worth any more that what a bug or what a rodent does as he is about to be squashed. The thing that made a difference and that I want to share with you is purpose.
I grew up in a place where human beings were being punished for thinking differently, I remember clearly the day I saw my father get taken away by a National Guard Jeep because he was standing in the wrong place, and at the wrong time. I did not know then that he was suspected of being a subversive because he thought we should not live in fear. Many days later, I remember my beloved mother running around frantically trying to find a way to keep him from “disappearing.” I also remember the quiet celebration that we held as his badly bleeding flesh hugged me telling me not to worry as he was home.
In between, there were many acts of heroism and martyrdom that I witnessed and will forever be recorded in my soul. The one memory that clings in my heart is that of saying goodbye to my best friend “Chino Gerardo,” whom I felt was like a special brother that life had selected for me because we shared so many interest and dreams. It was a very, very sad moment in my life to learn that shortly after my departure he was pulled out of a bus guilty of being young and presumably a revolutionary, and summarily executed.
Please indulge me in telling you how I arrived to this foreign land decades ago, without any knowledge of the language or the customs. My “connections & relatives” failed to pick us up at the airport. However, a great family took us in for a few months and allowed us to get used to what we considered inclimate weather in the suburbs of L.A. They gave us a place to stay and the extended their love that made us closer than what flesh relatives will earn.
I have been working since my first job at the Jewelry store: “El Diamante” and have continued to work ever since. I did not know the skills required, I did not know the language, I did not have the education. The times of re-integration of the colored into the white suburbs of L.A. who did not seem so receptive to the likes of me. We persevered, and went on to become good friends, marry their daughters, take their grandparents to the nursing homes’ chapels and become a part of the American Dream.
Many, many things have changed since then, and I have to tell you this whole story so that you get a feel of what millions of people are going through to get to where you are. A chance is and was worth dying for and you already have it. Can you not see how fortunate you are? Please stop complaining because it is hard to relate to what you think is hardship. Please stop blaming the helpless for what you think you should have if you did not have to help them because I seen the fact that you do not get out of your air conditioned vehicle to help anyone.
I am angry today because I see that the country that so many of my friend s and family die for is unwilling to trade benefits for the extremely well-off so that the underdogs can manage to survive. I cannot stand the fact that our bombs and bullets are worth more than head start programs, afterschool reading adventures, food for the homeless shelters, books for the local libraries.
I write these words to tell you where we come from because we are all children of immigrants and we deserve to be here more that those who have not struggled to be a part of this great nation. We are Americans because we choose to give our youth, our productivity, our creativity, our love of life to make this a better place and yet, we are put aside by special interests who claim to speak on behalf of the majority.
Listen to me, and tell yourself, if this measly individual can survive all these adversities, conquer his fears and urge me to make something of myself, then there is nothing that I cannot accomplish. I have a gigantic head start, I am an American and I will not be held back by recessions, depressions, addictions, divorces nor indecisions. I will become what my ancestors died for me to have and I will fight my own battles and my own odyssies to become all that I can. I will become the father and the partner and the friend I need to be and I will beat the court system that threatens to make me trash, to make me junk because I know that I am more by my mere existence. Just being born is a miracle; being born with all these wonderful opportunities around me is amazing. I will not fear because I am not alone; I have a purpose to become all that I can be. Days, weeks, months and years go by fast. I want to wake up and lie down knowing that I made the most with what I have been given…


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