My parents, Benito and Alfreida (Diaz) Martinez, both of whom emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico during the 1920’s, were very instrumental in providing me with the type of positive inspiration needed to shape many of my more basic and important beliefs. They both arrived here with no more than six years of formal education; but they had plenty of determination, much willingness to work hard, and many positive expectations for their future, and that of their children.
Even as a youngster, I marveled at the determination, sacrifices, and perseverance that my parents displayed to their ten offspring, myself included. In the very limited space allowed for this essay, I would appreciate sharing one such example that my parents provided us: To their great credit, they constantly struggled to provide every one of us with the most important basic necessities of life; but I specifically recall that, whenever it became necessary, they were more than willing to temporarily set aside some finances from our very scarce food, housing, clothing, and other household budgets, in order to keep us in school, provide us with adequate school supplies, and to maintain and reinforce our enthusiasm and dedication toward realizing educational success.
I firmly believe that my parents clearly realized, from the very start of their new life in this country, that education represented a very likely “road to knowledge, good character traits, and success” for their children. And, not surprisingly, nearly all of their children are the proud recipients of university degrees. In my case, I earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, at Riverside.
Another belief that my parents instilled in me was that the price of freedom calls upon all of us to remain alert and vigilant; to be ready and willing to stand firmly and speak up for our individual and constitutional rights, and the rights of others…with no exceptions! That is why I am moved to incorporate the following beliefs into my essay written for the “This I Believe” program:
I believe, that those persons who witness and/or suffer injustice
to themselves, or are aware of such suffering by others…and DO NOTHING…are an ACCOMPLICE to (responsible for) THEIR OWN oppression and injustice.
I believe, that if you STAY in the shadows due to fear, intimidation, economic servitude, or other forms of obsequious deference (“Kowtowing”),
the possibilities are strong that you, yourself,will not have escaped what
could very likely be coming YOUR way next. Indeed, history would seem to confirm that these were the looming dangers and eventual consequences in Nazi Germany. In retrospect, we know that, before many rather “safe”, gullible, and passive Germans realized their own personal vulnerability to and jeopardy from tyranny and the like, it was TOO LATE to protect themselves or, much less, to defend increasing numbers of their compatriots (and others) who were facing
as much, or even more, brutal oppression and violence from the emboldened Nazi Regime.
One central point I am making is, that OUR Freedom, Justice, and Equity are very often inextricably connected with the Freedom, Justice and Equity of nearly
EVERY OTHER person. This is why I believe so strongly, that we must always remain ready to go to the defense of the basic freedoms and legitimate rights of others…just as if it were our very own personal rights that have been
placed in jeopardy or danger. I profoundly believe that embracing such a mutual commitment will help to guarantee and secure the rights of the whole community.
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