We take care of our own, and we are so proud when someone from the neighborhood goes off and makes a name for themselves.
My city, Pomona, Calif., is predominantly Hispanic. Everyone around me looked like me, had the same customs, all the moms were almost interchangeable — short, dark, warm, loud. I spoke Spanish at home, spent idyllic summers in rural San Miguel De Cruces, Mexico, with my family. My parents were both born in Mexico, and their stories of abject poverty and the schemes they had to run to stay alive and feed themselves or their siblings always astonished me.
It made me feel sad and yet proud of how high we had climbed. We weren’t rich by any means, but we had a hot dinner every night. I am so grateful that my parents decided to make the trek from their tiny homes, braved the Rio Grande and the federales, to become U.S. citizens and give myself and my siblings a better life than the one they had when they were young….