New Americans Cultural Riches Take The Quiz
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4/2/04
Adam E.
Masury, OH
What a wonderful job you did on this documentary! Like many of you, I am first generation American. My father came to the US from Yemen in the 1950's with nothing but a few hundred dollars and a bag of belongings. He traveled city to city looking for work as he knew Yemen had nothing to offer. After landing in the steel mills of NE Ohio, he settled and raised a beautiful family of four. All my siblings are college graduates--doctor, business administator, actuary, doctor-to-be. We owe our successes to God's blessings and work ethic and manners and love from our parents. Our struggles pale in comparison to theirs and it is this reminder that drives us further. And all stories in this piece I could relate. Masterfully done, PBS! Masterfully done!

4/2/04
Lisa Tahamtanzadeh
San Jose
We were all glued to the TV...for once the kids said when is that show coming on again! I am Mexican-American and worked in the fields as a kid, only during Summer's because my father wanted us to learn the value of money. My parents were farm works as kids. We lived in "el campo" during the week, go to our nice home during weekends. It was hot, but in hindsight the best time ever.

My husband came from Iran. He came with $100 and we are quite successful. This show should be mandatory viewing during Junior High. The saddest part is to know Nora couldn't continue her schooling...where can the viewers send money to either family to help them????

4/1/04
Julio Quintero
Chicago, Illinois
I want to thank PBS for showing this program which shows the new immigration that is occurring in this country. For me the Flores represents the hardship that my parents had when they arrived in teh United States. They struggled through many obstacles put against but also with the new society they are force into. I think it's important that people recognize that immigration is cause by economic factors as we see in teh stories of some of these people. Also they come to escape persecution as well. I think this program should show people the real story of immigration and how sometimes in this society that is composed of immigration tend to forget immigration. We tend to criminalized them and relegate them to second class status but we must recognize the important contributions they make for this country. Immigration brings together people from other cultures and creates a mixture of beauty and understanding. Understanding each other is very important and that is needed to create a better society. It is through tolerance that peace can be understood and that must be done by educating each other. I wish the best for all immigrants that come to this country and hope they achieve their goals. Con todo amor a mis companeros de Mexico que dio este con ustedes. Viva nuestra patria!!

4/1/04
Marta
Santa Ana, CA
Gracias PBS por un programa tan bien hecho, es muy inspirador ver estos programas que enseñan al immigrante como realmente es, batallando, sufriendo y con mucho orgullo de quien es. Mis padres salieron del estado de Guanajuato como la familia Flores y con mucho orgullo digo que todo es possible, nunca se olviden de donde vienen. I have been admitted to San Diego State University and will proudly major in Latin American Studies.

4/1/04
Missouri
I stayed up till midnight yesterday watching the show. All the family stories were so touching. I could relate too.

I came from Poland in 1994. I was born and raised there in a typical Polish middle class family. I never intended on living in any other place. My mother, however, always hoped that her two daughters would have a better life in the US, the land of opportunities and wealth. My sister and I were very lucky. We didn’t have to clean other people’s houses or wash dishes in restaurants although I admire people who do that. We got full scholarships, finished great universities here and got good jobs.

At the same time it was hard for us too. I look at my American friends and they have this sense of security, they can rely on their families for support in good times and bad times. My sister and I have worked hard for everything we have now. If it wasn’t for our hard work and determination, we wouldn’t be here. We can’t rely on our parents’ financial support, we don’t have a family house here either. Our entire family is back home in Poland. My mom visited us several times. I think she was a little disappointed with the American reality when she came over. She was very lonely here.
She died a few years ago. My dad was with her, but we were here. My dad still lives in Poland. We miss him terribly and worry about him all the time. I hope that my kids will never have to experience my sense of loneliness, uncertainty and terrible homesickness like I have.

4/1/04
Shirley G. Robuste
VA Beach, VA
My family came from Haiti My dad emigrated to the US in 1974 on an artist contract. 8 months later he sent for my mother There are six of us altogether my parents sent for us myself and two siblings included eight years later.A family of six living in a one bedroom apartment was no picnic somehow we survived it all. I would not trade coming to America for anything except for the trade off which is the separation of family Sadly the family split up in 1985 and I have since seeing my dad but I've manage to make my home here in VA Beach The biggest obstacle in a foreigner life is the language barrier I along with my two siblings manage to learn English watching the Sesame Street Show.With drive,dedication and perseverance the impossible is always possible.

4/1/04
Nancy
El Paso, TX
Thanks PBS, the series took me back to my families experience coming to the USA from Mexico. My mom actually convinced my dad to move the family north, where we ended up in Duncan,OK. There my parents did it all, like all immigrants we are hard working, always pushing ourselves forward, thinking of tomarrow - thinking of the kids, and sacraficing. I didn't sweat like my parents, I was just a kid, but it brings tears to my eyes-they love me so much- how our parents love us and endure the pain, lets look through their eyes-lets sweat a little and not be afraid - its our immigrant parents we most look up to

4/1/04
I am glad that I stumbled across this program and had the opportunity to watch it.Next time could you please publicize it? I joined my husband some 18 years ago.We have both struggled over the years. He graduated in industrial engineering years ago and decided to get a masters degree in computer science. He worked for ameritech for some time and was let go.He still hasn't gotten a job. In order to support us he has to drive a cab.Immigrants esp. those with black skin go through hell in this country.I shed tears for the people on that show because they reminded me of what my family has been going through for over 20 something years.America is a great country for selected few.

4/1/04
Lorena
Montreal, Canada
Me llamo Lorena, naci en Guatemala. When I was 8 years old, my family moved to NY. On my 13th birthday we moved to Montreal, Canada. My family consisted of my Father mother, 2 brothers and 1 sister. We came to Canada with all of our belongings packed into 2 suitcases. A church helped us get settled, finding us a 1 bedroom apartment and giving us used furniture and clothes. As the oldest child I saw the suffering my parents went through, working 2 and sometimes 3 jobs a day to make ends meet. I can't thank God enough for my parents. I can honestly say that the first few years were terribly difficult.
Today, I obtained my Bachelor's degree and am working in the finance industry. My brother that follows me, will be graduating as a lawyer this spring. My other brother obtained a university certificate in business admin, he works in the fashion industry and my sister, the youngest has just graduated with a bachelor's degree in commerce. There are no words to explain how very, very grateful and proud we are of our parents.

PBS, thank you so much for that amazing documentary

4/1/04
Josie Carmona
El Paso, Texas
This show has truly touched me in so many ways. I began watching two nights ago and realized how much my parents suffered for me to be born and raised in the U.S.
My father immigrated from Mexico at the young age of 14 and my mother's family moved to the states when she was 6 years old. My father worked in several areas across the U.S. and sacraficed so that my siblings and myself would have better opportunities.
I wish that more people would watch this documentary and understand that all immigrants share similar experiences, and that although our ethnic or religious backgrounds differ, we are all just humans attempting to create a better life for ourselves and our families. Thank you for sharing such touching stories, I truly appreciate it.

4/1/04
Manar
This is what REALTY SHOW is all about..,, I came from Palestine in the 2001, and I don't need to tell my story, because Naima "the palestinian bride" has just said it... thank you Naima... and while watching this show I could see my life exactly..,, I know exactly what Naima thinks and feels.. I just wish her the best of luck with Hatem!! because I'm very Happy with my husband.. and the funny thing is that I work for Jewish people too!!!

4/1/04
Tricia
Portland, OR
Each of these stories were moving and engrossing. I was struck by many in the stories, working through their difficulties for the benefit of their children.
I was especially drawn to the Flores family given my own heritage. My grandparents' families came here from the same region. My grandparents were just small children at the time. I saw little Pedrito and imagined my grandfather that age, put on a train to California to join his parents who had gone ahead a few years before. Both my grandparents, their parents and siblings worked in the fields, even as young children, picking various crops. I cannot pass a migrant camp or a field with workers picking crops without thinking about my family, just a few generations ago and honoring the sacrifices they made. They came here seeking a better life for their children, and through back breaking work, and often heartbreaking times, they secured that for the generations that followed.
When Nora Flores at the end of episode three said she'd likely have to give up her dream of education, but would still hold to her dream of learning English, I felt both sadness and hope. In America you can do anything, and I do hope she holds to her dream of education because she can have it. May she and all immigrants know that all they do, every goal they do achieve, lays a foundation for their children and grandchildren. My grandparents and their families did this for me by coming here and thereby giving our family opportunity. How grateful I am for all my grandparents have done for me. My grandfather often looks across the table at any number of his 58 children, grand & great-grandchildren on Sunday evenings when we all gather and remarks that he never imagined his life would turn out as it did.
I can't get enough of the stories of family members generations ago. I try to picture them in my mind, to imagine them in the flesh from the 1 or 2 photos that might exist. I wonder if they ever imagined me as they went through their own emotional and physical journeys here. They truly have given me everything by giving me opportunity, for that is in essence what America offers. May we all honor the sacrifices of those that came before us.

4/1/04
Judie
Somerset, NJ
Kudos to PBS for airing such a wonderful program! I moved to the US from Ghana some 15 yrs ago and am married to a Nigerian. Because we both received our college education here (bachelor's and master's),we cannot readily relate to the hardships and employment frustrations most of the featured immigrants faced, but we definitely empathize with their struggles, frustration and loneliness. I applaud Pedro for his hard work and determination; and I wish him and his family well.

4/1/04
silver spring, MD
I saw part of the documentary about the Nigerian family and really empathized with their situation. I was particularly pleased to see the closeness in the family especially on Thanksgiving Day alone at home without visitors.

I arrived in San Pablo, CA nearly 14 years ago with 400 dollars in my pocket after paying for my college and rent for one month. I was two weeks late for my first semester and it was nearly impossible to catch up with journalism classes, given that I had no time to overcome culture shock, or to survey my new environment.

13 years later, I have a family, a masters degree and working for a federal agency as a consultant. The journey has only began.

4/1/04
Felix
Brooklyn, NY
My family came to America from Cuba in 1993. My father decided to leave because he found the economic situation to be unbearable. He wanted a better future for his children. He also feared repression from the government since we couldn't keep to ourselves our disagreement with Fidel's dictadorship. We left in the middle of a storm in my father's small 14 feet fishing boat. We were 9 people in total. After 8 hours of travel in awful weather we were rescued by a ship named "el Coronado"(the crowned one) that took us to Jacksonville. We would not have made it if we would not have been rescued. The storm got progessively worse. There was 30 feet waves. I want to thank our rescuers where ever thay are for saving us. Perhaps one day in the near future we can meet again.

4/1/04
Joanna
Thank you PBS for airing 'my' story. I could relate to each story in the broadcast, the emotions, the joys and the struggles. Like many of the immigrants in the documentary, I came to this country with 2 suitcases and have been able to fulfil so many of my dreams - get an education, work, own a car and a home. This is a truly a land that offers everyone the hope of a better tomorrow.

4/1/04
Lina A.
Glen Burnie, MD
Thank you PBS!!! One of the greatest TV shows I ever saw! And its all true! I belive that it touched a lot of people who watched it. I came to US form Ukraine when I was 17 with my dad, mom and 10 year old sister. Our father won a green card lottery for our family in 1995. We did not have any relatives or friends in US, but our father desided to move here anyway just so that my sister and I can get a better future. Our destination point was Portland, OR. We had only $300 in the pocket when we landed in Chicago, IL (we did not have enough money to get direct ticket to Seattle, WA), and from Chicago we took the Greyhound bus to Portland, OR. Imagine travel three days in the country were you never been before and don't know the language). But we made it and we stayed with the poeple that used to live in our home town in Ukranie. They told us to live their house in two weeks and we had to find our own place to live. We stuggle a lot, like the people from the series. After 9 years my father owns his own business and he has eveything that he dreamd of when he was in Ukranie.
He acomplished his dreams! United States of America made it posible for my family! I am very fortunate to have a father like that. He made posible for me and my sister accomplish our dreams too.

4/1/04
Chabi
Queens NY
Born in Guyana, I came to NY on a student visa in 1990 at the age of 20. Unlike most other immigrants, I did not have any relatives here.

I spent the first 5 months working for tuition for the upcoming semester. The day after I got here I was walking through Jamaica Ave. store-to-store looking for work. My first job was as a helper in a mechanic's shop where I was paid $60 for the week. My next job took me to McDonalds where I was responsible for sweeping and mopping. After a month, I was working in the South Bronx at a clothing store where I (then 90lb, 5ft 4ins) was responsible for security duties on the floor looking out for theives. Needless to say that I was conned a number of times and each time I lost property, the value was subtracted from by weekly pay.

A year later, I was again working close to home in Queens at the neighborhood Key Food supermarket. I stayed there for the next 2 years until I finished college. I worked 7 days for a total of 35/hrs and carried the maximum 18 credits/semester. I graduated magna cum laude and second in my class.

During the first 3 years, 2 of my brothers and a friend joined me in NY. We shared a one bedroom attic which was infested with cockroaches and mice. In winter it used to be freezing as the windows weren't properly sealed nor were the walls insulated.

Upon graduation, things got better. We were able to get rid of the TV that was dark on one side and the tape recorder which had to be poked with a pen to get it to play at the correct speed. We moved into a first floor apartment with 2 bedrooms. Soon after, we found love, got married, and each went on our own.

Today, my wife and I own a home and our son has toys that I could have only dreamt of. I have since completed a Masters degree and am currently working on an MBA.

Mine is a successful story of an immigrant, not that of a new "American". In my 14 years here, I have never been recognized as such. I have always been a foreigner (especially after 9/11). I am in deep gratitude for the opportunities given to me by this country and as such I was glad to become a citizen.

But I don't feel like an 'American', I still feel like the foreigner. Today, you will not see the lone face of a non-caucasian person on the poster titled "An American". I hope that one day my son's face can be representative of an "American" and he can truly feel at home in America.

4/1/04
Alex
Delray Beach, FL
My mother defected in 1979 from Romania, which at the time was a Communist country. My father and I were able (through many political channels) to finally join her a year later. I was almost 11 when we settled in Cleveland, OH. My mother was considered as having committed treason by the Romanian Government, and therefore could never return (as long as the Communists were in power). Her entire family was left behind, as was my father's. We came to Cleveland not knowing anyone. We had no family or friends. During our two years there, my parents worked the myriad odd jobs that we've all seen in your documentary. They did it all, the both of them. A few months into our new life, my maternal grandfather passed away from lung cancer in Romania; none of us were able to go back and bury him (we were considered traitors). My parents' immigrant story is a success. We all became citizens in 1985. In 1982 my father took a nursing job in Washington DC and we left Cleveland for yet another "better life." Within three years, my parents bought their own house in a suburb, in Maryland. By 1989 they had paid it off by working continuously without a single day off or vacation. They were able to send me to colleg (Univ. of Maryland) from which I graduated in winter of '91 with a degree in filmmaking. In 1992, my parents were able to buy a second home in south Florida, to rent out until they retired and planned on living in the land of sunshine. Using the rent money and yet another stint of a few years of work without days off or vacations, they were able to pay their 2nd home off in 1995. My wife and I have now been residing in Delray Beach (a mere few miles away from my parents' retirement home) for four years, and are about to make my parents--grandparents. Our soon-to-be born daughter will be an American by birth! My parents have finally retired, and are in the process of moving to south Florida to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I am currently finishing the final draft of a novel about our experience with daily life in a Communist country, and the struggles of immigration (no citizens owned a passport and no one was allowed to travel during the Communist era) to rejoin my mother in America during one of the worst economic times this country has ever faced (1979-1982). Although ours is a success story with a happy ending, we, too, were initially taken by the "myth" of America, the dream that everything is here for the taking--when in fact it is not. Everything is, indeed, here...but it's never attained without a high price on the family.

4/1/04
Edwin M. Olivera
Memphis TN
Iím a student at the University of Memphis and Iím 17 years old, when I was 15 I moved to Memphis from La Paz Bolivia where I used to live with my mother. The number of changes that an individual experience when they move from another culture is overwhelming, food, language and others are predominant factors of the hardship of habituating. I fortunately had my father when I moved here, but his story could've fit the parameters of the people in the documentary, he was 17 years of age (as old as I am right now) and moved by himself to Miami. There is something about he documentary that struck me, since my heritage itís based on immigration to this country and the cultural tension that undergoes it. Iím a graphic design student and thinks tat are visually attractive usually catch my attention but in this case the social drama go a grip on my soul, I just wanted to communicate that to whomever, and tell how of a great job they did. There is one image struck me the most, when the Mexican girl, the daughter grabbed a Dorothy doll, and the doll said at the end of her mechanical monologue "there is no place like home" I tend to catch small details like that. Again, great job.
Edwin.

4/1/04
Great job guys!!. The Palestinian lady really touched my heart, she loved those kids under her care regardless of their religion. We need to learn a lot from her. I married an american from St. Louis and although I miss my family back in Peru, my husband and I love each other and have built a strong family of our own. I relate to the loneliness I saw in those ladies, away from their culture. The fact is here in the US we drive instead of walk and we miss the human contact we get in our countries as many people walk in the streets and you feel part of a human group. Also, need brings family and people together, makes you more aware of others suffering and turns you compassionate and strong. I feel more alive when I travel back to Peru, more relaxed, I can kiss and hug, smile more and laugh!. I like it is orderly and controlled here but lacks a bit of human touch. We need more latinos here! ;>) Thank you.

4/1/04
Carmen Olmos
Fort Worth Tx
In some way I could empathize with all of the immigrants presented but being a Mexican immigrant, the story of the Flores family had the most impact. My father was a Mexican national, my mother a US citizen. We lived on a farm in the state of Coahuila until 1952 when we returned to my mother's hometown, Gonzales, Texas. Our parents, expecially our mother, valued education and saw to it that all the children attended school. My family is one more example that immigrants do not come to the United States to be a burden but to be contributing members of society through our jobs, church and community. Our success was the result of our parents' support and sacrifice. I can honestly say that all of my nieces and nephews are an asset to their community in their jobs, schools and church. Although only my brother, the youngest after eight girls, graduated from college, fifeen of our children have a college degree. The Zertuche-Molina family is proud of their Mexican heritage and their contribution to the United States of America.

4/1/04
Fort Lauderdale Florida
My parents are originally from Tubac Arizona and were deported during depression of the 1930's. Racism was rampant in the US even for native people. My parents never really adjusted to Mexico and longed to return. I was born in Mexico and returned with my parents to start anew in California. I remember vividly the segrated bathrooms and lunch counters present in that time.... wondering which one I was meant for a brown person like me.

We as immigrants have a debt to pay to the civil ights leaders of the 1960's without them...many of their dreams would have been tarnished by the racism that my parents faced in this country.

4/1/04
Tonmoy Navare
I have been in the US for 5 years and my wife is also here now. We are from India. Our primary purpose of coming here was education but the stories we saw in these series are not very different from ours.

What was truly touching was how all the immigrants came here with dreams of "tall buildings and large cars" but none of them found "happiness". Indeed everyone who left their family and homeland to come to the U.S. realized that they were oblivious to how happy they were with their family, even in times of turmoil, social unrest, poverty and struggle. I feel that every immigrant goes through such a stage when the people in your life matter very much but eventually the American dream and the lure of money endures.

Things have changed since this documnetary was made. In the late 1990's India was a victim of brain drain because a large number of talented tech workers were pulled in by America. The flow is now in the opposite direction as India's booming economy and low labor costs is now costing Americans their jobs.

Few years down the road, we could have the "Lost American Dream" documentary series if the current state of the economy and the export of jobs to Asian countries continues.



4/1/04
Gladys
I come from Honduras i move to U.S.A. back in 2000 i like the people in the show The new Americans i come here whith dreams the work save money and go back to my country, but life change and is realy hard when you are from some where else you meet people are nice some are racist and don't like you just for the way you look,the color and the skin I cry every time i see the show because i feel the pain they feel, I kwow how they feel, I miss my food.
The white americans don't understand the we all are inmigrants they great,grand parents came from somewhere else too.
we need to change the way we think because of ar childrens and because we all are humans.

4/1/04
Giselle
Minneapolis, MN
I am a first generation american of Caribbean descend. I watched your program and it spoke to my soul. My parents emigrated to N.Y.C about 35 Years ago. Being born and raised in N.Y.C, where most New Yorkers are either first or fifth generation American, there are people, one can relate to; Not necessarily the same background, but knows secondhand of the immigrant experience. I moved to the Minneapolis about 7 yrs ago. It is Highly different;like Saturn is to Mercury.It is very WHITE, and when i explain where my parents came from, alot of questions projected at me. Mostly geographic ones. I am telling you, there is no place like N.Y.C. When i think of the terminology "Melting Pot", i picture N.Y.C where one can get all types of food. One of many things that i missed about N.Y.C was the FOOD!!from Caribbean,West African,Jewish,and Middle Eastern to Thai,and Chinese food. In Minneapolis, there are Some ethnic food but it is not the same.Its bland; which one can not anticipate much when their location is the whitest City and State in the U.S. An advice,if you are contemplating about moving to Minneapolis,especially if one is of immigrant status,there are some opportunities.But if one is of color, your chances on occupational mobility is very slim. Think very carefully in terms of what you are getting yourself into before moving.Love,Peace, and Hair grease.

4/1/04
Kerry Hammoude
Adelanto, California
My family immigrated here from Cuba in the 1960's when Fidel Castro took power. They came to the United States with nothing but a dream for a better future. My grandparents struggled very hard to make a living. Not knowing English, they sweat away in factories with little pay for years. I am so proud of them and thankful to them for it is because of their hard work and perserverance that my parents and my generation is able to reap the benefits of their courage. To all newly arrived immigrants, I say "Welcome. Yes, the United States is not a perfect Utopia. It will take hard work for you to succeed, but it will pay off and your children and grandchildren will always thank you for it." And I want to say thank you to this great country. What you have given my family, I could never repay, because freedom is priceless.

4/1/04
San Francisco
Thank you for this wonderful documentary on the new immigrants. I was inspired, angered, and moved by what the different individuals had to undergo. My father came to the US from India in the 1960s as a student, my mother followed him, and I am a first generation Indian American. My husband also immigrated here after spending his childhood in India. I think we related to the Palestinian couple the most-especially how Hatem's idealism after growing up in the US contrasted with his wife's and parents' resignation about the situation back home. I could also see my mother's story in the Indian, Mexican and Palestinian wives' displacement in the new country. I was especially touched by the portrayal of the Nigerian immigrants: Israel and his family who came as refugees, but their education meant little in the US. I felt that they were people of warmth and integrity, and it saddened me to see what obstacles they struggled with. Also it was interesting to see a different perspective on the Israel/Palestine crisis than is usually shown in the media. This documentary was also excellent in the way it handled the dramatic events of 2001, such as the dot com bust, recession and 9/11. They were woven into the context of these people's lives, and they did not feel heavy-handed or out of place.

3/31/04
Grace Lim
Pasadena, Ca
I came to the United States from Korea when I was twelve. Before I came here, I had a romantizied idea about this country. I thought there were no such thing as poverty, ignorance, nor hate. But I was naive. My thoughts about America changed day after day and I no longer thought it as a perfect country. This land also had poverty, loneliness, as well as sorrow. We all come here with the hope of getting a second chance in life. I have gone through it all, poverty, lonliness, and many obstacles. My dad lost his only son in this country. And I lost a brother who cared for my sister and I when my dad was at work all night as a janitor. What I learned in America is that if you make a mistake you can always start over. I have thanked my dad for bringing us here. All those experiences I have gone through has made me into a stronger person as well as compassionate one. By coming to america, I did get a second chance.

3/31/04
Irvine, CA
Now this is must see TV. I could be biased a bit since I was a refugee myself. I migrated to the US in 1987 but after 3 years of moving from one country to the next trying to obtain a visa.
I commend you on this great program that touches the soul and puts things in perspective such as why am I privileged to be hear and live this American life while millions of others around the world live in poverty and with no hope other than to come to the States. Hopefully your viewers would come to similar conditions and cherish what they have here.

Thank you for helping me remember what I had to go through to become an American.

3/31/04
Olga Smith
Florissant, MO
The programs were fascinating. My parents were immigrants from Croatia in the 20s. These stories paralled those of my parents. My Mom traveled alone as a 20 year old, by ship and train to Kansas City, KS where her two married sisters lived. After 3 days, she went to work in a packing house. Even as an old woman, she would shudder as she recalled the sounds, smells and hard work she experienced. They found her a job in a sewing factory after the first week. My Dad was a master stonemason and traveled here with his father. He worked in Montana, Oregon, Canada, Kansas City and after he met and married my Mom in KCK, they moved to St. Louis, MO. where my sister and I were born. They never saw their parents again and did not return to their homeland for a visit until 50 years later. Their formal education was not much more than a 3rd or 4th grade level, yet they learned to speak, read and write English and sent my sister and me to college. I do believe we made them very proud. The programs really made me better understand the gigantic risk and optimism that motivated them to come to America. They had told me stories of their and friend's experiences in getting work, being cheated and demeaned for being "foreigners". Thanks so much for the excellent programming.

3/31/04
Elizabeth Borda
Flushing, New York
I gave my mom a kiss goodnight and went to my living room thinking to myself I should talk to her about how dissapointed I had been feeling lately then I heard in spanish"Elizabeth come here look they are showing something on the Dominican Republic!" I went to my mom's room and we were both glued to the TV for the next 2 hours.The same for the next 2 days. I felt so thankful to be here and grateful to have such loving parents.I told people at work "You have to see this show its amazing!" Watching this show made me reflect on my parent's hardships coming here, and all the struggles they went through for me and then my younger sister. My mother is Dominican and my father Peruvian-Chilean. Both have told me incredible stories of what they went through in search of the American Dream. We still as a family are struggling but I know I am very lucky compared to many people around the world.
I graduated College which is one of the most important things my parents and I wanted me to accomplish. I am seeking a job in my field which has been very difficult. I identfied with the show so much because I felt as if I was watching my life in a way even though these families came from India, Palestine, Nigeria and so on. Thank you for a wonderful show I was truly touched by each family's story.

3/31/04
Dawd Siraj
Greenville, NC
while flipping through the channels, I got this programm and was fixed there till end. thankyou for providing us with such fulfilling program. I saw what I always belive. deep inside we all dream the same and we have the same hope and aspiration. I am first generation immigrant from Ethiopia, who joined this blessed pool called USA 7 years back. what I hope while back home, I got it here. USA have been like what I thought to be. I passed some difficult times but at last I am in the right track fulfilling my life time dream. I work full time as assistant professor/tenure track in medical field. This country gave me everything I have. with all the good things though being a first generation immigrant is very difficult. you always feel lonely inside. living here happy just for myself while all my family are back home is saddening. the cultural gap is huge. difficult to bridge in one generation. Thankyou America, and let her remain as the land of Immigrants with extended arms to those who dream big and seek freedom.
thank you PBS.

3/31/04
Tara O'Branain
Lawrence, Kansas
My parents came to this country from Galway, Ireland when my mum was pregnant with me. I found that growing up both Irish and American was not as simple as many people might believe. The Irish may have the "american-look"(whatever that is supposed to be) but we do have a very different culture, from simple things like words we use to foods we eat to bigger things like religion and personal beliefs. As my parents were not Catholic (which most people think all Irish are)this my parents found to be their number one hurdle, both of my parents are pagans and have been for more generations than we have a written history for. Anyway, I digress, even though I was lucky enough to be born in this country and count myself as an American I also consider myself to be truly Irish, I guess I'm the generation after "the new americans" I'm the result of what comes next, we are got between are parents homeland and our own. Anyway, I really enjoyed watching the "new americans" although I would have liked their to be one more episode with perhaps someone from Asia and someone from Europe. I think my heart went out to all of those families struggling trying to find their place here. But, most of all my heart went out to the eldest daughter of the Flores family, she came to Kansas and was able to see a future for herself only to have it snatched out from under her because her mother wanted to be with her sisters, I really felt that was a selfish thing to do on her part, now I worry that that poor girl will only face a life of working in the fields in California, which I'm sorry isn't much of a future in my opinion. But all in all I really enjoyed it.

3/31/04
Barbara Richardson
Thanks you so much for this inspiring program. My Maternal Grandfather came to CA with parents. They were Portuguese. One can relate even generations later. I feel all new paths in life can relate to the stories and lives we viewed in this remarably filmed program. In marriage, and moves, I too, have felt some of what is shared. New things, confusion , sadness to leave family and renewed hope and strengthened resolve to make it.

3/31/04
Diki B.
Woodside, NY.
Thank you so much for sharing this moving odyssey of the New Americans in this wonderful series of human experiences. I am a Tibetan, born and raised in India and I came to America almost a decade ago with a Hollwood notion of the American life and I felt a lot of the emotions that these New Americans went through when I had to face the reality . Being here I have learnt to appreciate my cultural heritage and embrace the way of life here. Watching the series in its entirety broadened my perspective of how other immigrants feel and think. We all have a story to tell and we all want to make it here. My hope is to see more immigrant stories told so that we can not only educate ourselves but also accept people for who they are.

3/31/04
Stella Avdibegovic
Burlington, VT
What a great documentary!

Being an immigrant myself, I felt there are many unrecognized nationalities in the United States. Still, after six years of living here, I go through "getting to know" of everything. I was born in Bosnia, and when the horrible war happend, we were forced to leave. My parents moved to Germany. I have to releate to the story of Almir, we were again forced to leave Germany, and so my parents decided to move to U.S. My first year of living here was very hard. Not only for myself, it was hard for my parents as well. But luckily, we had great people around in the community, which made us things a lot easier. Thanks to schools and teachers, I have accomplished a lot myself, and now I have the greatest opportunity of helping new immigrants adapting to this country.

PBS Thank you.

3/31/04
M. Al-Arashi
Houston, Texas
"The New Americans" is absolutely wonderful.

I am the daughter of Yemeni immigrants. Although I was raised in a very Arab/Muslim household in Texas, I never really understood fully what and how it was like to immigrate to this country whenever my parents spoke about it. "The New Americans" made me realize and truly understand the emotions, thoughts, and experiences an immigrant is faced with. I want to thank PBS for doing such an amazing job. I, and many like me appreciate your efforts in explaining something so complex in such a simple, direct way. Thank you again.

Regards, M. Al-Arashi

3/31/04
Cecilia
Topeka, KS
I grew up on the 42 sq. mile island of Saipan in the Northern Marianas in the Western Pacific, which is also a U.S. Territory. I came here to attend college in 1976. Because I grew up in an American territory, I knew some things about America. I have adjusted and have become somewhat assimilated. Still, after all these years, and even though I'm married to an American who was born in this country, I still get reminded that I am still an immigrant, and life is still hard. Here in Kansas, many of the people I encounter have lived here all their lives. They have their social network of family and friends. Since I lived in New York, then Austin, and now here, since 1998, I don't have the lifelong support network that they have. That makes a difference. I cried when I saw what happened to the Indian family. I cried when I saw Naima's mother looking out the window because she didn't feel right walking around the streets of the city. I cried when I saw what happened to an intelligent man with skills and talent cleaning dirty dishes (if he had been an old American, he would have had connections that would have landed him a job that he was more deserving off. Here in Kansas I see announcements in the business section of people becoming CEOs and such after getting only a Bachelor's degree in business. They get these jobs because of their family name or who they know).

I washed dishes while I was in college, I've looked out windows, I've moved around in order to find a good job. I had to get a Ph.D. to make a respectable living. Thank you, PBS, for reminding me, through the stories of these people, that I am a New American, and I've lived the life of a New American. It's a hard life, but there are others like me. That's my network. I will seek out new Americans more diligently, because I realize that they are me.

3/31/04
didi
calabasas CA
this was the best program I have seen for a while. It touched me at the bottom of my heart. I saw that at the most elemental levels, all people are the same even through their different cultures, ethnic backgrounds and heritages. they all have relatives and ones that they love and are relentlent to leave, they all have their own difficult struggle to conquer. this program has documented the human and emotional side of immigrants and put a real face complete with hardships, everyday struggles and bitter sweetness of life behind empirical data and satistics.

being an immigrant child with a single mother myself, I can really feel for them even though my transition was very smooth and different from their stories. but the fact that they are torn between two places, two cultures is universal. I can especially relate to the 2 kids in high school and their cultural gap that has already developed with their outgoing yet at times bossy mother. I really feel for you guys. more and more you are going to feel like you are americans and your mom will have a hard time accepting that becasue this is not the culture that she was raised in. I still have cultural differences with my mom even though I've been in America for 12 years. it is a continuous progess as she and I learns and togehter try to understand where each other is coming from to work out our differences. Lots of times childrens of immigrants suffer a loss of identity because they don't especially feel they are completely of the new culture, but they can't particularly identify with their previous culture either, they feel no one will understand them. it is not easy but it will get easier though it might be worse before it is easier. for all the families just hang in there, as we all trial through the adversities of life.

3/31/04
BENITO SILVA
Pedro's story,brought back memories that relates to my childhood, I was born in Mexico in 1976 all I could remember about my father as a kid living in mexico was that he will visit us once a year. but as soon as he came back I will forget his image,and felt lonely,eventualy my father like pedro got us a visa and move us to the U.S in 1986 I was 10 yrs old ,when I finally became closed to him,felt the love of a father also saw him strugle to suport ,us working at a yarn mill.I felt sad to see him tired every day but he never miss a day of work,never complain, my father does not knows how to read,never had a chance to go to school,he work the family farm,in mexico ,i'm glad he choose to bring us here, I have a better life in this great country,the United States of America,

3/31/04
Philadelphia, PA
My parents immigrated from South Korea to Canada in 1970. They were both Korean war veterans: my mother was an army nurse and my father was a soldier in the Korean navy. They saw a lot of bloodshed and their country nearly destroyed by war. My parents' families lost every possession they had, including photos. I've never seen a photo of my mother when she was a child. They came to Canada to escape the lack of opportunities and devastation after the war.

Over in North America, my parents had to work as housekeeper, orderly, etc. to get by. They had to learn a new language. They had no family or social network in Canada. Despite these obstacles, they helped to sponsor my aunts, uncles and their families to Canada and give them what little we had when they finally immigrated. Like many Korean immigrants, my parents started up a small business and worked there 7 days a week. I worked there too, as a resentful teenager, wondering why my friends were all hanging out at the mall and I had to work.
My parents were always working, even on Christmas day. 10 years ago, my husband and I moved to the US.

Like Canada, the US is strengthened and built up by the blood, sweat and tears of immigrants. Due to my parents' sacrifices, today I am an attorney in Philadelphia and have been blessed with a comfortable life. But I will never forget my heritage. Thank God, because it's made me who I am.

3/31/04
Karpagam
Detroit - MI
"New Americans" had me and my husband stick to the Television for through the hour!
We immigrated from India, as part of the IT wave. Its a whole new world. And definetely an experience of a Lifetime.
Oru daughter was born here. an American citizen!!

3/31/04
Cassie

As the first child on my father's side to be born in the United States, I was really pleased to see the showing of The New Americans. Mi pai' es Boricua (puertorriqueño) and my mom is a Black American, so multiculturalism is something I have to deal with everyday. Even though I'm half Puerto Rican I feel that I can strongly identify with Ricardo and Jose who are from La República Dominicana. I luv the fact that PBS doesn't try to have a translator's voice put over the original voices, so the viewers can listen to the people speak in their native tongue. I'm also very pleased with the fact that Ricardo and Jose son morenos b/c the media always tries to make all Latinos look the same. Hopefully on a new season, they will have some Boricuas y Cubanos. All-in-all, I enjoy the program a lot. Keep up the good work!



3/31/04
LEIGH ANN OFEIMUN
SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, NY
My husband is Nigerian, from Lagos. I am american and we met and married in Germany, twleve years ago, where he was a political refugee. When we moved to chicago in 1992, we struggled and my husband worked two jobs for us to survive. In 1996 we moved to new york, to be closer to his sister who also lives in New York. My husband became naturlized in May/2000. I am very proud of him, he has worked very hard for this country and his family, we own our home home now and he is now a supervisor for New York Presbyterian Hospital.

3/31/04
Maria
Baltimore, MD
I'm a 'New American' precisely 8 months. My husband and I moved to America due an offer of employment that will help him upgrade his career as faculty and Scientist. I'm just the 'spouse' and can see myself in some of the people from the program. I struggle trying to adapt in a small city after moving from London. My husband is Swedish/Greek, lived several years in Germany and London, for him is just another place doing what he most like to do. Iím Portuguese with Scottish roots, lived several years in London. For the first time I don't feel so different around of so many others different. I started teaching Portuguese recipes to my neighbors, introducing a little bit of foreign taste.
Just trying to adapt a new culture and society. Is a new step every day.

My family and I came from Mexico about 12 years ago. At the begining it was very hard adapting to new culture and very scary too. After the years past by it became easier because I learned a new language, read and write too. My family as many other families came for the same reason for a better life and future. As many other people around the world who come here is for work and a better life to give to their family.

3/31/04
Rania
My father came to America first, it was 1976 we were living in Beirut, Lebanon, he went to Canada first in order to get papers to come to America and then a year later he moved my mother sister and I over. We lived in Philadelphia for 20 years and just 7 years ago came down to FL. It is funny how America is looked at from other parts of the world, many of my family members that are still overseas think that money grows on trees and when you come here it will be automatically handed to you. I remember as a child my father working as many as 2 jobs along with his regular full time job. America has a lot to offer as long as you work for it. Other then the safety we moved for the education, and I appreciate all that my parents have had to sacrifice for me and my sister.

3/31/04
Santiago Avila-Gomez
Sacramento, CA
My father moved to Napa, California from Mexico D.F. in 1971, and the rest of our nuclear family (mother, brother and I) followed in 1975. Like so many others, my parents moved us to the United States in hopes of improving our lives.

Now, over 30 years later, it appears that their hopes were partially fulfilled.

On the one hand, our family suffered through the effects of racism and discrimination. My older brother became a drug addict and spent more than 15 years going in and out of California's prisons, and has since been permanently deported to Mexico. Both of my parents are disabled from work-related injuries (winery and vineyard work) and were unable to keep the home they had bought in Napa. And finally, I began to follow in my brother's footsteps and landed at the California Youth Authority.

On the other hand, despite my struggles, I now possess a law degree and am an examination away from being an attorney. This fact alone, in our opinion, makes my parentsí decision to move to the United States of America a good one. My degree and professional status hasn't only helped me, it has elevated my entire family in many ways. And more importantly, it sets the stage for my son to enjoy and build upon the fruits of our family's collective efforts.

That's what my parent's envisioned when they moved here. So, while their hopes for themselves and my brother may have been partially quashed, their ultimate goal of improving our family's generational success has been reached.

In sum, even though various 'isms' are rampant in the United States of America, this country turned out to be for us'the place of opportunity that my parents sought and I am eternally grateful to, and love my country for it!

3/31/04
Selina
Austin, TX
I am recent naturalized citizen. I am a Palestinian who was born in Kuwait. My family moved here after the gulf war when I was 11 years old. As Palestinians, we had no homeland to go to and Kuwait was not welcoming at the time. I am grateful for the oppurtunity to live in the US.

3/31/04
Martha Price
Chattanooga, TN
I came to USA 2 years ago. I married an American man. I am from Colombia. In Colombia there are 7 women per one man, so there are a lot of agencies offering marriage opportunities with Foreign gentlemen. 85% of Colombian Women are higly educated, come from high moral families and are pretty, that is the reason that marriage agencies are doing excelent bussines contacting American and European men with Colombian Women. I met my husband trough one of this agencies, we dated for a year and half before he proposed me. I felt very in love with him, we had a beautiful wedding in my country and then a small wedding here in America. My only reason to be in USA is love. I never really dreamed about coming to USA, however I did want to move to another country such as Spain or Argentina for better job opportunities. I am a professional occupational therapist and in my country there are not enough jobs for all the professionals.
Getting a good job here in USA has been very difficult for me, the validation of my career is a very expensive and hard process and the discrimination is also very hard. Tennessee is a pretty state but in my opinion, the people here are very racist and too much conservative and they think that all immigrants are ilegal, uneducated and just want to steal their jobs.

3/31/04
Liban Mohamed
Syracuse, N.Y
I was born in Italy but my parents are from Somalia. It has been about 8 years since i and my family immigrated from somalia. The civil war has distroyed somalia and most of the countries that are in Africa. The civil war also seprated families. I am proud of were i am from, and dream to help people back home later in my future.

3/31/04
Charity flores
topeka ks.
I am the wife of an immigrant.I watched the saddness and understanding on my husbands face as we watched the immigrants stories.I have been married for 8 years and 2 years ago my husband had to back to mexico to visit his sick mother and had to leave her behind just like Pedro had to leave his father. We are all from immigrants but we seem to forget that until you come in contact with the grateful honorable people coming here for a greater freedom of life that all our forefathers once came here for long ago as well.

3/31/04
Petra M. Cruz-Ramos
Bronx, New York
I was born in the Dominican Republic. My parents and I immigrated to the U.S. in 1963. My sister immigrated in 1965. As with so many immigrants from around the world, we came for economic reasons, to achieve a better quality of life. We are grateful to this country for giving us that opportunity. We maintain our Dominican roots but we are so American in many ways. We are definitely bi-cultural. I am teaching my children the importance of both cultures. Kudos to PBS for again giving their viewers such a masterpiece with "The New Americans". I was touched by all the segments, but of course, especially by the stories of Ricardo Rodriguez and Jose Garcia.. UN GRAN PROGRAMA...FELICIDADES!!!

3/31/04
Mahwish McIntosh
Charleston, SC
My parents came to the US from Hyderabad, India in 1971 because my father wanted to complete dentistry school here and hoped for a better future for me and my older sister. The future was only circumstantial and since their arrival, my parents have struggled, but have done everything in their power to provide for us, selflessly.

As a first generation Asian American, I value my culture and also appreciate the many amenities and opportunities other Americans take for granted every day. Intently watching this series, it is amazing how this nation has such a fragile balance of unity. On one hand, you have American citizens who are rude to these hard working immigrants, yet there are sincere people who are willing to support these people with love and advice.

A completely compelling series that ALL Americans should watch. I commend these filmmakers, especially for showing the side of Palestine that many Americans here do not understand and will not be able to understand unless more filmmakers begin to reveal the truth about what is really happening in Palestime and the rest of the Middle East.

3/31/04
Lucy
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
I was flipping through the channels and I caught your show. It was truly amazing. I can relate to some of the stories. We came here from Brazil in 1973. We were sponsored by my Uncle who already lived here. I have to admit that it wasn't so difficult for me since I was just a child. I adjusted pretty well. But for my parents and my brother it was hard to speak the language and accept the reality that everything was so unfamiliar. My mother would cry and say that she wanted to go back to Brazil but my father encouraged her to keep trying. Eventually we accepted our new life and we couldn't imagine going to live anywhere else. But our greatest accomplishment was when we all became American citizens. We were so proud of our new country and what we had achieved because of it. There is no other place like America and that's why so many people struggle to come here - to find their dreams! I can say that we are truly lucky and blessed to have made the choices we did. Thank you America for being everything that you are and thank you for making such a wonderful documentary on this siutation.

3/31/04
Mary Cardoza
Silver Spring MD
It was a grey morning when my parents told me that we would be leaving our small island nation, Cuba. "For vacation?" I asked. "No, for an indefinite amount of time." I was quite shocked. And thus I learned at the age of 10 about loss.

The thought of leaving my sister, who was 10 years older and already married, my grandmother, our small house, our summer trips to the beach with all the uncles and cousins. But it was to be according to the plan of my parents who had been trying to leave the island for all of their adult life.

My father had won an unheard of scholarship to go to Mexico and complete coursework in Engineering. Or at least that 's the story I was told. Our bags were packed with one extra outfit for each one of us. Our tears were cried. Our family home, history, and childhood memories were left in Cuba, never to be retrieved. We couldn't take any possessions out of the country, not even our picture albums. When it was time to board the plane, my father was prevented from getting on the plane because he had a college education and during that time the revolution was not allowing people with college degrees to emigrate.

So my mother and I went to Mexico, alone and fatherless. That Spring of 1984 was a bitter cold and sad one for me. There we lived for six months, until my father was able to join us. and we asked the United States for political asylum.

I have been back to visit my sister s two times in the 20 years that I have lived here. Communism still endures and we live holding our breaths until the day that Cubans can return to their native land in freedom.

3/31/04
Louisiana
My parents are from the Philippines. They came over in the mid 70s. Nurses were in great demand over here. She along with many other Filipino nurses obtained working visa to work in America. My uncle, when he was in the Philippines joined the U.S. Coast Guard, petitioned for my grandmother to come over. Who in turn petitioned for my father, then my aunt and then uncle. One of the hardest things my parents had to do was to leave loved ones behind. My mother left her whole family behind. My dad left behind his father, two brothers, nieces and nephews. Life was hard for them at first. They often put themselves last. They installed the value of education, and through hard work they were able to provide a private school education for their daughters which they are proud of. They tell us stories of their lives back home. They remind us of the abundant opportunities that are over here and what a blessing it is to live here.

I am so thankful for the sacrifices and hard work they endured. They're determination to provide a better life and instilling in us pride for being Filipino-American.

3/31/04
Daisy Hernandez de Hardiman
Starkville, Mississippi
I'm from Venezuela and I came to US along with my sister 8 years ago with the only intention to learn English (4 month) but we change our minds several times and desided to go to college which we thankfully finished. My sister continued her master's degre and I got married with a black guy I met in one of my classes. Although we are venezuelans, our parents were originally borned in the Canary Island (Spain), we really knew what is like being considered and treated differently. We have always been inmigrants, but I realize that USA is a very harsh place for forigners because of their highly racial and social dicrimination. It is difficult to live in a process of adaptation the rest of your life, but in the other hand, this is the only place where we can actually work and get paid for what we do. I guess it is worth the sacrifice.

3/31/04
Annie B.
Gilbert, Arizona
I came from Brussels, Belgium to a small Arizona town some 36 years ago. Cultural shock indeed! I worked in a factory for a time, experienced hard times and disillusions. Homesick and lonely during the first few years, yet I adapted and came to fall in love with all that is good and truly unique about America. There is an American "can do" spirit and a willingness to face shortcomings and learn from our past. Apologists for America would do well to recognize that for so many, this is indeed the land of opportunity.

The New Immigrants documentary provides some powerful insight into the difficulties faced by newcomers to the States, although I feel the West Bank segments rather unbalanced in the context of the whole project. The privileged young man from the West Bank should live in France or Belgium for a while before speaking of "racism". Perhaps an Eastern European experience would have been more appropriate to the purpose of demonstrating the present day influx of people to these shores.

For me as an Arizonan, the most touching segment was of course the depiction of the Mexican family. The cruel dilemma faced by this good man and father is one repeated many times over in our state, one that underlines the need for a further revision of our immigration laws.

Good job, PBS!

 


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