The Land of Opportunity?

“In my new homeland, others rarely took the time to see the world through my eyes or to learn about me, my culture, and my family (Calderon, 1).” This quote breaks my heart. As I read this and think about my community partner, all I can imagine is that these people feel restricted in the same way. Not having someone care about your life or where you came from is nothing less than a form of oppression. Children need this kind of self expression in order to find who they are and if they aren’t receiving it in school, I can only imagine that the adults that I work with are being neglected in the same way.

The concept in this reading that related most to my community partner is the fact that these people are just trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. They are not coming to America to do bad things or to take jobs from Americans; they are coming to start over, to rebuild, to rise from the ashes. A quote that particularly stood out to me from Jose Angel N. is as follows: “I have become a hybrid creature of darkness and hope, one who can scratch the heights of prosperity but who remains permanently rooted in misfortune (8).” I feel that the people I work with especially, may feel this kind of oppression. They may feel that no matter how well they do in the world, how much effort they put into something, or how hard they work, they will never be able to surmount the obstacles in front of them. This is a shame because we are supposed to be living in the land of opportunity where anything is possible, yet for people like Jose and those involved in my community partnership, that dream may never truly be attainable, simply because of where they came from.

I think it’s important that we take into account everyone’s background. I know that minority groups feel oppressed by their inability to share their stories, or a lack of affirmation when they do share. However, it is imperative that all groups, minority and majority, share their stories. The thing is that we are all unique. We all come from different places and just because someone looks a certain way or talks a certain way, their story could be something completely opposite from anything another person was imagining. Angel says on page 61, “I was immediately seduced by what seemed to be unlimited wealth.” This is not the first thing that people should notice about our great Nation. Shouldn’t we be judged by the quality of our character and our ability to welcome people that have been neglected?

The thing is that everyone should have the fundamental right to being free to speak. They should, no, they must be able to speak their story and their truth because if a person cannot clearly articulate who they are and what made them that way, how can they be confident in any other area of their life?

The one thing I want from my community partner is for them to feel comfortable. I think these people often feel uncomfortable or like they are not in their own space or home, that is the last feeling I want them to have. I want them to be fully them when they come to learn and be able to fully experience what it is like to live in the Land of the free.