Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July from The Urban Politico

America the Beautiful: What America Means to Me

Today many of us will gather with friends and family over food, drinks and fireworks. We celebrate our nation's independence and commemorate the Declaration of Independence. We are reminded of our country's plight and it's long standing commitment to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We are a nation rich in diversity, filled with patriotism and optimism. Regardless of current flaws, ideals or our nations stained past - America is still, the best country on earth. We here at The Urban Politico are proud to be Americans.

What America Means to Me

I am a first-generation American woman, who has the freedom to dream and the power to succeed. This country has allowed me to receive an education and progress my family closer to achieving the American Dream, all in one generation. I am indebted to my ancestors and the many leaders who fought for me to have the very rights I enjoy today. I am allowed to practice my religion freely, cast my vote in elections, drive an automobile and freely wear clothing that expresses my personality. So many women in other nations are denied these very rights.

My grandmother immigrated to the United States from South America in 1971 by herself, through a sponsorship program for domestic workers. With very little education she sought opportunity and a better life for my mother and her siblings. She cleaned homes in New York City and worked as a home health aide to elderly people. She dreamed of a life that would provide her economic stability and the opportunity for her children to receive an education. Like many people who immigrate to the United States, my family sought the American Dream.

As an undergraduate student, I studied abroad during a summer in Italy. I spent a portion of my trip backpacking across the country. The culmination of my trip was a weekend in Capri, where I swam through the Blue Grotto. At that point in my life, my mother had not left the United States, since her arrival from South America. My parents never imagined I would be privy to such an academic experience, as they never had the opportunity themselves. Unlike my parents or grandparents, my life is filled with choices and options.

I am grateful to have been born in the United States of America and extremely proud of my heritage. My life is somewhat unique but my family's story of plight and sacrifice is very common. This story belongs to so many immigrant families and is the backbone of our nation. Our various socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, religious beliefs, genders, races and ideologies contribute to the rich heritage of the United States. Our collective minds show the world what makes America so great. Only in America is my story possible.

Happy 4th of July from The Urban Politico!

What does America mean to you?

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