This I Believe

Christina - Pullman, Washington
Entered on May 4, 2006

My father’s Dream

As a child of illegal immigrants, I have witness the struggles that families endured to come to this country, the country of opportunities, a nation of freedom and democracy. I used to wonder why we risk our lives crossing the boarder. My father, in particular, had a dream, a dream that induced him to risk his life and his freedom. This dream was to better our lives and educate his children in one of the wealthiest nations.

As any other teenager that has been separated from her friends and brought to a foreign country with foreign language, I was angry at my father, specially, when he would ask me to help him in the fields picking apples. As soon as I would complained about the hardships, he would use these opportunities to emphasize the importance of my education.

Due to his legal status, his pay was one-third less than the minimum wage. Although, the work was difficult, my father was glad he had found a job and was able to put food on the table. He used to say “It is better to be under-pay then to be unemployed, but don’t forget that we are here for your education. My father strongly believed that education was the key to success, and he repeatedly claimed that the only inheritance he had for me, was the education I would acquired.

As the years went by and I grew up so did my love for this country. I began to understand my father’s dream and his desired for as to obtain an education. Nevertheless, at one occasion, I was challenged to continue my higher education by my High School teachers who stated that I would never be accepted into a University because of my inability to dominate the English language. Nevertheless, the negative attitude and humiliation expressed by my teacher prompted me to work harder and to graduate with honors. Attending college, with a dictionary in one hand and my books on the other, I graduated with two majors while working part time during the school year and full time during summers in order to achieve my father’ dream, which was now my own.

These experiences have left a deep impression on me and sensitized me to the problems and injustices to which we currently face. I believe that the creation of policies such as HR3347, are banishing the dreams of our future generations and depriving them of their basic human rights of becoming educated.

I believe that education is a basic human right regardless of the status of the individual. Our society has not only a moral obligation but a responsibility to provide basic education for its people regardless of their religion, ethnicity, race, class, gender or nationality. I believe that education should be about democracy and equality. As I’m fishing up my doctorate, I can’t help, but feel it is our responsibility as scholars, educators and administrators to find ways to reconceptualize and redefined democracy in schools in which students are not being marginalized for their difference nor dehumanized for their illegal status, this I believe.