Wilma Rodriguez

Wilma Rodriguez

Norwalk, CA

To be American is to pursue opportunity in the face of adversity. To believe in yourself when no one else does and to pursue dreams regardless of man made boundaries. My parents left Nicaragua not because they didn’t love it, but due to lack of opportunity. They can and had to leave my siblings because they were too small to cross the border by foot without the risk of dying. They came to America to provide a better life for them, and even became citizens to bring my siblings to the United States. I had the privilege to be born here and thanks to their sacrifice I am able to graduate Magna Cum Laude and have the opportunity to become a civil rights lawyer. I lived in Nicaragua for two years in order to meet my siblings before their papers came in. What defines an American… A person who’s rich diversity makes the world a better place by contributing to their community and works not only for themselves but for others to make the world a better place and to encourage younger generations to pursue their dreams and not be tied down by their race, gender, their beliefs, or where they come from. We must remember that America is the land of immigrants and diversity, that’s what makes the United States so powerful, not hate towards race or gender. As a first generation grad I could not have achieve success without the sacrifices made by my parents, who stood by my side each day and worked long nights at the factory to provide food on not only my plate but my siblings in Nicaragua. A true American is someone who instills inspiration in others and is tolerant of different cultures and perspectives. We can all come together and achieve the impossible if we do not let hate get in the way. We can celebrate our rich heritage and be proud of were we come from, and still be American.

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