BY STATE SEN. JOSE PERALTA
My parents came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in search of the American Dream and to start a new life and family. As many young immigrants, they experienced hardships along the way. They left their comfort zone and embarked on a new journey together with nothing but hopes, dreams and aspirations and quickly had to adjust to a new culture and language in order to fit in.
My mother became a seamstress at a factory making below minimum wage and my father became a bank teller at a Latino bank. As they settled in, they began to form a family. I am the eldest, followed by my two brothers and little sister. What we lacked in material items, we made up for with love and attention. My brothers, my sister and I were raised to play by the rules and work hard in life. It eventually would pay off. My parents instilled a sense of purpose, tradition and culture, while at the same time we assimilated the American lifestyle.
My parents raised us with very little, but they paved the way for us by showing us that by giving it our all, success is possible. They sacrificed their lifestyle to invest in us and our future and for that I’m forever grateful. As many others did before, my parents wrote their own immigrant story. They left everything behind in search of a better life, not so much for themselves but for their children.
Without hesitation, they put their dreams and aspirations on the back burner. I’m proud to say that all my siblings are professionals, thanks to the sacrifice my parents made.
It takes courage to leave your homeland and everything you know and venture into a new country, a place that is unfamiliar and you don’t know what the future may bring. I thank my parents for their sacrifice. It motivates me to move forward and help other immigrants who, like my parents, came here in search of a better life. In every hard-working immigrant, I see my parents and their struggles. I am fortunate enough that I can assist them in the capacity of a state legislator. Thanks, Mom and Dad.