My Two Cents worth…
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
I was raised to believe I was privileged but in my father's definition, it was a little different.
I was born in Cuba and came to this country in 1969 with my father. My father left his home, family, life, and career in order to be able to give me a better life. We went to live with distant relatives in Atlanta Ga. at a time when very few people living north of Tampa Fl. had any clue as to what a Cuban was. If they had any knowledge of Cuba it was usually related to the Bay of Pigs. Kids most definitely had no clue what a Cuban was.
I looked different than many of the kids in my school and I definitely sounded different. I was olive-skinned and the other kids were all predominately white. English was my second language so my accent was very different from everyone else. I was either teased or shunned in my first year of elementary school.
I would go home sad and sometimes complained that no one liked me. My father would tell me that it wasn't that they didn’t like me, it was that they didn't know me. “ How is anyone going to know me if they won’t talk to me?” I would ask. “They will know you by your actions,” my father said. “You be kind and polite, you be helpful and strong, you be smart and funny." "You be you and people will notice” “ When people know HOW you are they will begin to see WHO you are,” my father said. “You are a very privileged little girl. You have to be stronger, smarter, and work harder than everyone else. You have to take advantage of the privilege you have been given by being allowed to live in this country”. I never really understood what he meant at the time but, there began my teachings in accepting, using, and being grateful for the privilege I’d been afforded. My father truly believed that living in this country was a privilege.
I’m in no way comparing myself to anyone else, I’m only giving you a little background on me.
I’ve never been followed around by security in a high-end designer store. I’ve never been pulled over simply because I’m driving a nice car or asked for ID because I’m walking through a nice neighborhood. I've never had to worry about my sons because of the color of their skin. (until recently)
I’m so hurt that in this country that I love, this huge melting pot of a country, in the year 2020 there is still racial unrest. I’m so disheartened that after all of the blood that was shed in the Civil War, during the ’60s Civil Rights Movement and every year since, we are still senselessly killing black people.
I still feel privileged. I still believe this is the only country in the world where you can come with nothing and build a good life if you work for it. I still believe I owe this country everything, but there is still much work to be done and much progress to be made.
I believe we need to use our words, we need to speak clearly, loudly, and succinctly. We need to make ourselves heard and understood. We need to use the power of our vote!