We continue to celebrate the success of every Latino student who graduates from any school, college or university.
Latinos have been placed under scrutiny and are looked at as foreigners, immigrants and in many instances as undocumented. What most people fail to recognize is that when the Pilgrims were trying to establish themselves in their tiny colonies, the Spaniards already had flourishing Spanish towns in Florida, the Southwest and Puerto Rico.
Spanish was the first European language in the new colonies of the Americas, and while taking the land from the rightful owners of this continent, the indigenous tribes that populated the Americas, Spanish names abound throughout the United States landscape as far up as the northern part of California and Montana,and continuing south into Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida. Many years before slavery was abolished in United States, several countries of the Americas had already given freedom to their slaves.
Throughout history Latinos have defended this country, worked here, and helped build the abundance that everybody enjoys. Nevertheless, people of Latino origin have always had to prove the legitimacy of their presence in the territory. Currently there are more children born here who have a Latino ancestry, than there are immigrants trying to come or stay in the country.
We could spend time explaining and informing about history, but there is no need for validation now. The young people graduating every year are stating the fact that they are here to stay and they have achieved the tools to compete and succeed.
The laborers’ hands that bring the food to the table that we all consume have been those of hard working individuals; and we are proud of them as we are proud of the many factory and construction workers who have made it possible for the new generation to go to school and college.
They have done all the manual work that nobody else wanted to do, but also they helped put their children through school and college and now those children will represent the entire community at other levels. By studying they have managed to behave in a different culture than their own, they have learned to pass from one to the other finding good things in both cultures.
But this new generation is no hybrid. They have no problem understanding things in English or Spanish; they know about ‘abuelitas’ and ‘respeto’, and they also know about competition and leadership. They have seen the pain on the faces of parents and relatives being unfairly treated and many times persecuted, and they know that they have the right to be here and work and fight for others.
All those who have hindered immigration reform, local tuition for children living in the state, or access to a drivers license, for now they can think they have obtained a victory over the voiceless, but more children are coming of age. And they will vote, and they will offer their service as bilingual individuals in a very competitive market, and when the time comes to pass judgment for those cruel rules, life itself will have given a sure victory to the community by the presence of all those graduating today.
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