In anticipation of the opening of Sharing the Miracle: Storytelling in our Immigrant City on December 14th, we will be highlighting a few stories from this exhibit. Within this space, we are celebrating the stories, struggles, successes, and life perspectives of twenty five people whose lives have been touched by immigration. These stories are of the neighbors, staff, volunteers, and family of the Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center.
I’m from Venezuela. I came in 1979. At the time, Venezuela was fine, but my parents wanted me to learn English. It was just me, my uncle, and my little cousins. I was 15, but I adjusted really good.
I was taking everything in English except for one Spanish class, so most of the time I was lost. My worst challenge was to talk because I was not confident. I thought people were not going to understand when I talked because of my accent and pronunciation, but little by little when I started working, I got much better and I lost the fear that I had of talking.
I felt welcome when I first came. I didn’t think it was a big issue, at least that’s the way that I perceived it at the time, but it was very different from now. It’s totally different. I can see it. It’s very sad and it does hurt because I know most of the immigrants that come, the reason is because they can’t have a life in their countries, and they come and they’re just here basically to work and to have a better life. They are pursuing the American dream, and not everybody is a bad person. You cannot judge because of a little group that’s going to mess up. You cannot be judged because of their actions.
This is a diverse city that has such a great number of immigrants from so many different parts of the world, places that you don’t even know that they exist. That’s what makes America great, is the diversity and the different cultures. Everybody puts in a little grain, and it makes the city, and the whole country, great.