Thanksgiving and The Land of Opportunity.

momma
My beautiful mother and I, circa 1998, in the Southern farm side of Vietnam.

From a small countryside town south of Saigon, a family journeyed to the land of opportunity. Away from the unpaved roads, oil lamps, and farmland. Away from the village her family had called home for over 3 decades since the end of war. Her family was fleeing for a better life, thousands of miles across the Pacific. The story is not different from the hundreds and thousands of immigrants that have left their homes and settled in The United States. From the pilgrims who fled religious prosecutions to the peasants of Europe looking for a better opportunity.

We all come here for the same reason. The promise of a better life, a better future. This is the life we all hope to have.

The parents leave everything they’ve ever known, their Mom and Dad, their brothers and sisters. The soil that has raised them and rooted their upbringing is being left behind. Their only hope is to plant new roots in the foreign land. Many barely literate in their own language, due to the expensive education system they’ve lived in. This new land is a symbol for a new beginning, a new opportunity. They pray for hope and strength in their new journey.

The barriers of a new country are indescribable as many battle to understand the language. Alongside, the language barrier everyone battles to find a job. The new destination is not family owned land, there is things such as rent, groceries, electricity, and school to worry about. Living in a city is a vast difference from living in the poor countryside.

My dad describes it as drowning underwater and not understanding if you’ll ever be able to rise. The hardships and struggles that so many immigrant families deal with often go unnoticed and often unmentioned.

Why?

Their resilience is why.

They are beyond the most resilient people you meet, or ever come across. They do not complain. They are some of the most hardworking, kind hearted, and law obeying humans in society. They understand the struggle in such great lengths they don’t dare to do anything that may cause them to be sent back. They wake up everyday working to pay for their children, their families back home, their expenses. They even pay their fair share of taxes, for a country that has not considered them a citizen. Many don’t take the time to understand these things.

You can not be ungrateful after living through this, if anything, this is the passion that burns my every step.

In this election one of the headlining topics was about immigration reform as well as illegal immigrants. To say I couldn’t be more disappointed in the immigration system here in America is an understatement. However, I believe that in time, if we as citizens of the United States come together to make this a prominent issue, change can be made. To take a stance and protect the people who are striving to obtain their fair chance of opportunity, we will be a stronger and better as the United States of America. No one person has more to offer, we all learn and teach each other.

As a immigrant I appreciate and respect Thanksgiving so much for this very reason. I am honored to be here. I have nothing but gratitude for the education I have been able to receive. I am grateful for the people who have joined my life journey. I am grateful to give Thanks. I am grateful knowing that this is The United States of America, we are the land of opportunity, and we have the ability to defy the odds. We can rise.

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