As a first generation American, I was raised believing that if I worked hard, I could accomplish anything that I set my mind to. This is the essence of the American Dream.
Google “What is the American Dream?”. The result states, “The ideal that every U.S. citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative”. A key part missing from this definition is the liberty to pursue your happiness. This was so crucial to idea of America that our Founders included it in the Declaration of Independence.
Before I started traveling around the country and speaking with other activists, I was afraid that my story wouldn’t relate to anyone except other Hispanics or first generation Americans. I was wrong. The ideals of the American dream are known all around the country and are still alive today.
At one GLA training event in Cincinnati, Ohio, a woman had her high school son take a break from doing homework so he could come listen to a presentation on economic freedom. She told him this was important for him to hear and that very few countries around the world offered this opportunity.
Another activist in Sioux Falls, South Dakota shared with me his story about growing up with parents who lived through the Great Depression. He learned from his mother that if he sat around waiting, nothing would come to him. Instead he had to work hard for anything he wanted because “nothing in life is free.” He developed his sense of values from his hard-working parents, something he made sure to pass along to his children and grandchildren.
It’s reassuring to see firsthand that the values that brought us together as a country are still as strong as ever. I’m thankful for the activists across the country who believe in and fight to protect the American Dream, and I’m extremely grateful that the Grassroots Leadership Academy has given me an opportunity to help them do so.