New Americans Cultural Riches Take The Quiz
Submissions are now closed.
If you have a story to share, or wish to comment on the film, you can submit comments at itvs.org >
Page 1 | 2 | 3

 

3/31/04
Carlos Ramon
Born in NYC, now in San Diego
My family came to the US in the early 60's. The civil war that began in Colombia was a prime factor in my grandmother's decision to move her children. She told my grandfather on the plane ride up to NY that the kids would be following the next week. He thought they were going to NY to see the world's fair. Grandma had a bit of a shock for him. She was a gutsy lady. My family settled in NY, where more pieces of our extended family eventually settled as well.

There is a family tale that when the violence started in Colombia my grandfather came busting into the ranch house and picking up the rifle off the mantle above the fireplace/stove, and telling everyone to lay low.

My other grandfather was a political thug. You might call him a death squad captain. He had issues. He was a conservative. My other family were liberals. It was kind of like the Hatfields and the McCormicks.

Thank god for all the opportunities I've had. Down with the cultural and economic imperialism that has destroyed cultures around the world. There must be a way we can live without intruding upon others. Peace!

3/31/04
Menne
San Jose, CA
Both of my parents came to the U.S as immigrants from Samoa. My mother, the first of her kin to come here had met my father in San Jose, California.Both were working in the fields in the early 20's had since then lived their lives here, and raised me and my siblings.

To much of my surprise, I discovered as a young teen, that I had an older brother who was left behind in Samoa to live with my grandfather. My mother had left him there at the age of 5, I believe she was sent to the U.S to earn a living that could support her family back home. My brother had been there for the past 23 years, and recently had came to the U.S with his son, my nephew, this past year.

He came here because my nephew needs medical attention for a physical abnormality. The reunion with my mother was quite interesting, yet heartfelt. It is really strange to see my mother and my brother develop their relationship- as my mother has been here for over 20 years, and her accent is not as noticeable as my brother's; an example of many, of how my brother may be feeling a bit out of place. My mother is American now- had received her naturalization a few years ago, and those days of "getting into the swing of it" are long gone. I know have a first glance at what it may have looked like for my mother and my father- just by observing my brother and my nephew's take on the "American" lifestyle. He is still awaiting for his wife and his other son that are still in Samoa. It is almost like a cycle of which family members are parted for months, maybe years a part. I surely hope it doesnt take 23 years for my brother to see his son nor his wife.

I've been blessed, yet spoiled to be born on U.S soil, and I've appreciated my background and my roots just a little more everyday when I see my brother go through the day to day struggles- simple things it may be, but these simple things we take for granted as Americans.

I am grateful to have an immigrant brother. It has put me and my other American born siblings into perspective- it has undoubtedly rekindled memories for my mother.

Watching "The New Americans" is such a delight, but is such a wake up call to many of immigrant families. Thank God for this series! God Bless

-Menne T.

3/31/04
Alex C
Dodge City, Kansas
Mi familia moved to the United States when I was 4 years old from Chihuahua, Mexico. Like Pedro Lopes, our family migrated to Kansas. As a construction worker, my father helped build one of the meatpacking plants. I'm 31 years old now. In my time I've seen my community evolve because of people just like Pedro and I, seeking a better life for our families. As immigrants, we have all had our struggles, just like every other immigrant before us, the Irish, the Germans, Cubans, etc. I feel blessed to live here. To be able to provide my family those things we take for granted and to have the opportunity to live a free and prosperous life.

3/31/04
Almir Loncaric
Syracuse, NY
I am amazed and moved with this "Reality TV" show.

My name is Almir Loncaric, I am from Bosnia and Hercegovina, yet so many of the stories I just saw tonight, on The New Americans series, are my memoirs as well.

Sadly enough this is the most important "Reality TV" show ever done...

Thank you PBS!!!

My family and I came to the United States in 1999, after six years of refuge in Munich Germany; when German government stopped our "Duldung" visa. The only two possibilities we had, were eider to go back to Bosnia, or to apply for I 94 visas in the US. Since, at that time we could not go back to our city because of unstable political situation, the only logical conclusion one could come up with was to immigrate to a new country, to learn again another language, and actually the hardest one to overcome was cultural change. I forgot how it feels, but really feels as a true Bosnian.

There is honor, there is proud, there is strength and will for survival, but where is happiness, where is home, mentality where do I fit in, where is this society with the intention of not looking at me with this weird look in eyes and judge me. And I know, I know what they think, and many have said to me that I don't belong here, first Serbs, than Germans, and Americans as well.

I feel I have to say that not everybody is like some of those people who have said those words, but it hurts probably not to be educated and raised as decent human begins.

For many depressing and sad stories, I have seen and heard of, I need to say that my family and I have been devoted to survival and ourselves, and not to judge and discriminate human beings. We have not lost anybody during the war in Bosnia, but we have family members from Australia thru Europe and the US who are refugees as well. We are only one of hundreds of thousands of people who went and experienced these manuscripts of the "Real Life", and that is why I said that this is the best "Reality TV" show ever done.

Thank you PBS!!! Peace!!!

3/31/04
Robbie
Brooklyn NY
Thanks again PBS!

Your airing of The New Americans on March 30 was riveting and powerful in its portrayal of the emigrant experience. I was at times moved to tears watching the painful separation from family and home that we as emigrants struggle to endure while we pursue a better life. I was particularly affected by the plight of the Ogoni refugees. This was at once a story of ruthless corporate exploitation and the conviction of Ken Sawo-Wiwa's who struggled to the death for his people.

Against this backdrop, the undeniable truth is that people from every corner of the globe find America to be their opportunity to make themselves. I was immediately reminded of the group lunch I had earlier with two colleagues, both immigrants; one a Russian and the other Indian. And the topic of discussion: the fact that in America we have access to a boundless source of experiences and points of view. We collectively wondered if home-grown Americans were at a disadvantage in realizing how empowering the American experience is for many ethnic transplants.

I arrived in New York from Jamaica on a cool September night in 1977 after a family genesis of many years. My paternal grandfather and his brother-in-law first came to the US in the early 1950 to earn a living in the Farm Work program, first in the Northeast and on to Florida. Eventually my grandmother joined grandpa and they moved to the renaissance in Harlem. Their work ethic and sense of purpose allowed them to eventually afford to sponsor my father and his brother in the mid 1960s. These were folks that came from humble beginnings in the rural farm lands of Jamaica and worked multiple menial jobs to pave the way for a better future.

My brother and I came here, leaving our mother and three sisters behind. We had no money, nothing more than a high school diploma among us and an almost empty suitcase.

Twenty plus years later, I am mostly grateful for the experience. I am thankful for much. Like any journey, there are costs and disappointments; my mom passed away in the old country seven years into my American experience. I could not truly reward her for her tireless sacrifices, but I was able to support my siblings into adulthood while making something of myself. For in twenty plus years a poor boy from humble beginnings has no complaints, a good life, a wonderful child and a lot of pride. I have wrestled some very enriching experiences from America.

3/31/04
SB
Franklin Park, NJ
I was always interested in higher education and knew that the U.S. has the best graduate schools in the world. Being from a lower-middle class family, I had to secure scholarships from U.S. universities to come to study here. That was not an easy task - I was from a very small town and there was no Internet in those days, even the telephone was out of reach! But I never gave up because I knew if I continue trying, something good will happen! And it did! I came to the U.S. to do my MS back in 1990 (August 28 to be precise!) with full scholarship - and the rest is a dream come true! I am currently a tenured professor at a top class university in the NY-NJ area, and doing what I love to do - research and teaching! Compared to some of my peers, nothing came easily to me, but I was willing to work hard and did work hard for everything I have accomplished so far (the journey is not over yet!). It is/was very frustrating at times, but keeping focused on long-term goals and prioritizing tasks helped me ride over both good and bad patches of time (and a little luck from above from time to time also came handy, I must say!)

Although I miss my family (my mom and my brother and his family) back in India badly, I bring my mom every few years and hope to bring my brother sometime soon. I also go home once every two years or so - always hard when leaving home back in India, very hard. Of course I call them almost every week - much cheaper nowadays than just a couple of years ago!

I'm very thankful and appreciate my life here because I'm able to fulfill my lifelong dream. I'm not sure I'd have the same opportunity back in India (probably not) to develop myself into who I'm now (both at professional and personal levels). I love this country (U.S.) dearly and there are many things I like about the U.S. One in particular stands out - what matters most is how good you are at what you do, i.e., your performance matters most and the rest generally follows. People here appreciate talent and if you are sincere, work hard, and productive, you'll be noticed. Of course, there are and always will be occasional disappointments and frustrations, but that's life! Finally, here's a quote from Beverly Sills that underlines my philosophy in life: "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." My journey continues to improve my life as well as the lives of those dear to me - wish me luck! May God help us all. Peace!

3/31/04
Cristina
Both of my parents were born in foreign countries. My mother was born in Italy and my father in Ecuador.

My maternal grandparents moved to this country in the mid 60's for a better life. They came over to the US with nothing. Both of my grandparents had very bad childhoods. After growing up poor in a province of Italy, they hoped one day that they could provide a life full of happiness and pleasure for all of their children and grandchildren, and they have.

My paternal grandparents decided to leave Ecuador in the early 70's because of its economic status and the belief that America could provide their family with great opprotunities. The Flores family's story hit very close to home. Just like Mr. Flores my grandfather had to come over from Ecuador to the states leaving behind my father, his three other brothers, his sister, and my grandmother. My grandfather worked very hard to make enough money to bring over his family, a little at a time, in the years that followed.

My family not contains, engineers, buisnessmen/women, architects, accoutants, and grade school teachers. They have become successful due to the oprotunities that are offered in this amazing nation.

My sister and I are first generation born here in the United States. We are extremely proud of our parents and grandparents. Their dreams of a better life provided us with unlimited resources to fufill our lives. For that we are forever grateful.

Thanks to Nonno, Nonna, Abuelito, Abuelita, and our Mom and Dad.

God Bless America!!

3/31/04
Iyayi
New York
Watching this broadcast hit home for me. A lot of the experiences from the families have been very similar to mine. I am a Nigerian-American ( so I like to call myself). I migrated to the United States with my brother as a teenager about 10 years ago. My mother had come to America a few years earlier. I will say that whilst I have had a lot of tremendous experiences, it has also been rough for us especially my mum who has had to support us.

Nevertheless, I have come to appreciate this country and the civil liberties it gives its citizens. I am grateful to God to have two places I can call home (Nigeria and America).

Thanks for the sharing our story.

3/31/04
Carolyn
I am first generation american born of puerto rican parents. My father and his family came here in the 40's.My grandfather wanted better life than working the fields for his children. He suceeded They are all sucessful and educated. My mother came on vacation met my dad and never went back. I admire my grandpa for coming here and working hard and not giving up. My husband's family came to american in the 1600's and to me we are the perfect mesh of the melting pot. The old with the new.

3/31/04
oxana
west springfield ma
I came here from Moldova together with my husbant after a short time we got married. We came on May 25, 2001. It was very hard at the begining, but we tried to adjust to the new world and culture. Both of my children are born here. We have relatives from my husbant side , but no one from my side. My parents never saw my children. They miss me and I miss them a lot. I wait to become a citizen and call them here, but untill them I try to help them and pray God for the day we finaly be together.

3/31/04
Diana Gutierrez Pavao
detroit, mi
My Mexican ancestors came acoss the border at Piedras Negras (Texas/Mexico) about 3 generations ago. When my grandmother was 9 her brothers came to Detroit to work in factories. The rest of the family, all 12, followed. I do not not like the term "immigrant" for Mexicans who have lived on this land for thousands of years.

3/31/04
Steve
Dallas, TX
My family of four came to US from Korea when I was 12. Being a foreigner here is a very lonely experience for a lot of immigrants. My parents work very hard to put food on the table. I don't think they ever felt being accepted by fellow Americans. I think of what they went through and can't help but wonder if they regret their choice of coming to America. Now that my and my brother are grown up, they went back to their roots. I can see that they are so much happier. I think being an immigrant is a unique experience that natives will never fully understand.

3/30/04
Altamirano
Storm Lake, Iowa
I came from Nicaragua due to political and economic reason. The year was 1980 when Cubans came to Florida for freedom also. While I grew up in South Florida I learned to become Multi-cultural in order to understand others and to understand myself. Being Multi-cultural does not limit your individuality but instead provides you with an understanding that we are all in the need of a chance to succeed in life and to search for happines.

3/30/04
Andrew
Cincinnati, Ohio
My mom's father was born in Sicily just before WWI. His father died when my grandfather was an infant. As being a single mother with 4 children was not a viable option for my great-grandmother in Italy, they were forced to immigrate here and start a new life.

My father was born in Romania just before WWII. With the war closing in around them, they were forced to a refugee camp in Austria. After living as refugees for several years, they were at last sponsored for US citizenship by a Spanish-American landowner in Colorado. He arranged their travel and citizenship, and in exchange they worked on his farm for a few years before finally being able to start a new life in Cincinnati OH where I was born.

As I grew up, I had an "older sister" who was actually an exchange student from Nicaragua. She lived with us all during my childhood. Unfortunately, she was unable to return to her natural family because of civil war in her homeland. One by one, the rest of her siblings and her mother were also able to immigrate to the US and join us.

One of my favorite childhood memories were our "family" get-togethers, when you could literally hear English spoken in one room, Italian in another, German in the third, and Spanish in the fourth. In my opinion, that mixture (but preservation) of various cultures is what makes the US unique. That tolerance is what makes us all American.

3/30/04
Raquel Vigil
San Bruno, CA.
I came to the USA in 1984 for the very firs time. My mother and I were alone. We had not enough money to rent a house nor a room. We both had to sleep in a walk in closet . It was hard at times because at the night , we had difficulties sleeping comfortable. After 5 years of living in the states, my mother passed away, because of me being under age, I had to go back to my country. Now that I am an adult, I am back again and very happy to be back in the country that thought me a lot.

3/30/04
Jen
My mother's parents are from Italy, arriving around the turn of the century, and my dad's grandparents are from Ireland. All worked hard to make sure future generations would benefit from the American dream. Members of my family served in WW2, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. Each generation has seen the American dream expand and grow. Education has been stressed as the means to get ahead and achieve that dream. Today, I am an attorney --- in my immediate family I am the first college grad and law school grad. I greatly appreciate the sacrifices made by the generations before me. At the same time, I am grateful that my family has retained so many of our ethnic roots, especially my Italian heritage. I am proud to be an American.

3/30/04
Marcie
My great grandmother came over here from Hungary . She left because of communists. My other family came from romania. On my dad's side they came from Ireland, germany, scotland, and england a long time go. It is great that their doing this show, because america was founded by immigrants.

3/30/04
norma rivera
Los Angeles ,California
I am so proud of my parents and thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to live in this great country. My parents came from El Salvador on 1979, worked hard to save money to bring my sisters and me to the United States. Like all parents, a better life and good education for their children. Now we are in our early thirthies happy and successful in our life.

3/30/04
Adrienne
Chicago, IL
I was born in Chicago but my family came from Argentina in the 60's.

My father came first to find a place to live and to work. He was promised a job before he came here and when he arrived, the factory was on strike. A year later my mother and my brother came to join him. My father would tell me stories of how he worked in a factory where they made suits for men. He would get ten cents for every jacket he ironed.

They came here to have a better life. I am so proud of my parents. My father has his own business and my mother is the principal of an elementary school.

3/30/04
Vivian
Hayward, CA
I moved from Honduras almost 8 years ago, with my two siblings, my mom was already here, I didn't want to come but I was a minor I didn't have much choice at the same time I was hopeful for better opportunites.

I wish I knew what I know now about life here, I would had stayed home.

Most people have an idealic view of America, that shock most of us when we come here. I'm greatful to this country for the opportunities. I know I can the best I can be any where in the world, but I am fortunate enough to be here.

3/30/04
Jack Garbuz
Queens, NY
My mother lost her entire family, not to mention property, during the Holocaust, and ended up in a German displaced person's camp after 1945, where she met my father who had likewise lost his family, though he had managed to survive and was part of the Red Army. I was born in the camp and we were there until 1948 waiting to go to either Palestine or the US, depending on which opportunity availed itself. We were allowed to come to the US and arrived here by ship in February, 1949. We first lived in a tenement, and then the housing projects until my parents' finally succeeded in their tiny business, to save enough to buy a house in Flatbush back in 1960. The situation of most immigrants is mostly the same, especially those who managed to escape death and were fortunate enough to be allowed to come to America. Most immigrants have to struggle for years until they get a "footing" and strive that their children will get an educated and have an easier life. Thank you.

3/30/04
Claudia
Sarasota, FL
I came from Italy 8 years ago. I moved because I married an American and neither one of us could find work in Italy. Coming to America has changed me forever, and it has made me a better person.

Having to struggle with the cultural differences and having to learn the language has made me discover that I CAN do anything I put my mind to it. I have worked hard and now I now have a good life. I also know my children will have a much better life and future here then if they were born in Italy. I am grateful to this beautiful people who is so caring, giving and corageous. I have the upmost respect for Americans, and am so proud to have become one recently.

3/30/04
Memphis, TN
My parents were born in Palestine. They came to America in the 1970's for a better future and to get away from the turmoil between the Palestinians and Israelis, which is still going on. I have visited Palestine, an occupied, but a beautiful country indeed. Where the people struggle day to day, but nontheless stay optimistic for their countrys future. Unfortunately, most Palestinians who fled were not allowed to go back and live in their country, like my family. Hopefully, soon things can be resolved. I just pray.

3/30/04
Rupal Kothari Shah
Washington, DC
My parents immigrated from India in 1967. Like many immigrants, they came with a dream of pursuing further education and with the hopes of raising their children with opportunities unknown to them. Now, as an immigration lawyer, I am constantly reminded of my parents' journey 37 years ago. Knowing the struggles they faced as immigrants, I look to my clients with awe, inspiration and admiration as they undertake the challenges, disappointments and ever-sweet successes that come with starting a new life in America.

3/30/04
Mariely Neris Rodriguez
Columbus, Ohio
My family and I came to the US from the Dominican Republic in 1994 in order to be near our relatives. It was very hard. My parents both had graduate educations from our country, but their degrees were worthless here. They worked hard to put my two brothers and I through school, and subsequently college. Fortunately, they now own their own business, and we now have a better life, in the economic sense, though we constantly dream of one day being able to go back home...

3/30/04
Ray Hsieh
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
I am the youngest of 3 children born to my parents and also the only one born in america. My father came to this country in 1965 leaving Taiwan, under an educational bill signed by JFK. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi. He received a Masters in Science. After his graduation, he brought my mother, sister, and brother. After being here nearly 40 years and listening to his stories of hardship. I can truly understand his sacrafices were for his children and family. Being a father of two young children myself, I have found a new respect for my own father. To leave home for a foreign country where he could not speak the language. To establish himself so that he could bring the rest of his family. I love you dad! You are my inspiration for being a man.

3/30/04
Liz
My mother came to the United States from Italy in the late seventies. She met my father who was stationed in Italy with the Air Force, and they got married in San Francisco. They lived in Yuba County, near the base my father was stationed at, and life was hard for them at first. My mother got a job in the mall, at a little fast food place, and none of her coworkers liked her at all because she was new to this country. But she stuck with it and moved on eventually to better jobs and a better life. To me, my parents are the American Dream personified.

3/30/04
Marie Dolan
Kemah, Texas
My parents moved to Canada in the 70's from Chile because of political reasons we had an option to go to Australia or Canada it was very hard for my parents to leave Chile behind and start a new life and language .My siblings and I were born in Chile, we all left at the ages of 5 to1 went to visit Chile for the first time in 1987 but it was hard because we looked at Canada as being our home and it was all we knew. About 9 years ago my husband got transfered to the United State and our chidren were born here.This is were we will stay.

3/30/04
Chicago, Illinois
Both my parents immigrated to the United States in the late 50's from Greece. As my dad has explained over the years, the reasons were many why they came. The main one was to escape the poverty that had ruled them all their young lives,that two wars had inflicted on them. Being first generation is hard on a youngster. I felt like I was split in the middle somehow. I never felt like I fit in with my Amrican counter parts at school nor did I feel that I truly fit in with my Greek relatives either! I was confused and at times fustrated with being who I was or wanted to be. But now as an adult, I can say that I am greatful for all those experiences no matter how difficult and painful they may have been. Because they only made me stronger, and more tolerant of other people's backgrounds, and proud of my heritage which I hope to pass on to my own children. And may I also say, that I admire immigrants past and present that have had the courage to leave what they knew and loved behind and start new somewhere else.

For me, those people,like my parents, are the true heroes of any country.

3/30/04
Enedina Nellie Guerrero
San Jose, California
I am first generation American. Both of my parents are from Michoacan, Mexico. My father migrated to the US in the 60's. He traveled to Mexico frequently, marrying my mother and bringing her along with him in the mid 70's when they finally settled down in Los Angeles. 2 kids came along, and my parents always taught us to embrace BOTH of our cultures not just one. We are all very proud to be Mexican-American.

3/30/04
My great grandparents immigrated from Norway in search of a better life. Today my family still prays in Norwegian, sings Norwegian songs, and serves up all the traditional foods. My grandma's name was Ingeborg, but she spent most of her life in South America running an orphanage and teaching English. When I was pregnant with my first child, I asked for her opinion on names. I told her I liked Ingeborg for a girl. She said that was too foreign sounding. I should give my child an American name. I said, "OK, let's talk about boy's names." She said "Well, Larry is nice. And," with a perfect Spanish accent, and in all seriousness, "so is Gilberto [heel-bearrr-toe]." Immigrants are always (even a generation later) conscious of their own foreigness. But to my grandmother "Gilberto" was as American as apple pie.

3/30/04
Los Angeles CA.
My husband comes from S. Korea and I myself come from Taiwan.

WE got married in LA and had our first and only son born in LA.

I remember before we got our USA passport, Whenever we travelled together, We had to present three different passports and it usually attracted immigration officer's special attention.

Wow..... three different nationality in a 3-members-family.

I'm happy that I made the decision to immigrate to this great country. This country offers every body a/an fair and equal opportunity to compete with others and to make their dreams comes true.

I do not think I can be happier if I immigrate to other country besides USA.

I think my decision not only benifit my son but also benifit his children and many many generations.....

3/30/04
Leila
Dayton,Ohio
My fathers Arab from Libya and My Mothers american. While Relating to this sotory many of My arab freinds Like Naima came to this country to be free from Isreali Occupation and That story touched me. Some arabs like my Father Came for education. Thanks for showing the arab side.

3/30/04
Aminata Johnson
Denver, Colorado
I am an American, but my mother is from Liberia. She came to the U.S. in 1976 for a better life, leaving behind a small son with her parents. She was the lucky one. For 10 years after her last visit in 1989, Liberia was ravaged by civil war. Two of her brothers were murdered, and her father died while the family tried to flee the country. There was a 5 year stretch when we did not hear from them, and did not know whether anyone had survived. Thankfully, her mother, her son, her sisters, and their children had somehow survived. We were able to finally bring my brother here in 2000 at the age of 29. The remaining siblings live in a refugee camp in Ghana.

My mother came to America to study nursing, but many circumstances in her life prevented her from achieving her goal. She had cleaned houses for 12 years, and is now caring for the elderly at a nursing home. Most of my life, my mother has worked two jobs, to support us, because her only goal was to make sure that we went to school.

My younger sister and I have seen the struggle and the heartache my mother went through and continues to suffer trying to get us through college, to do what she never had. Thanks to her dream, and her never-wavering support I was able to graduate from the University of Colorado with a B.S. in Computer Science. My sister will study nursing, she is finishing her second year at Colorado State University.

I pray that we will be able to go back to Liberia, so that we may reunite our remaining family, and actually meet them for the first time.

3/30/04
Julia Marquez
CHICAGO, ILL.
I WAS BORN IN CHICAGO. MY MOM CAME HERE FROM DURANGO TO SUPPORT HER BROTHERS & SISTER WHEN HER MOM DIED. MY DAD IS FROM JALISCO. HE SPEND NIGHT ALONG THE BORDER OF LAREDO EATING ORANGE PEELS FOR FOOD. HE HAS TWO HOUSES,4 GRANDCHILDREN(WHO ALL SPEAK SPANISH) ME A NURSING STUDENT AND A SON WHO IS A DOCTOR. NOT BAD HUH!

3/30/04
Sharai H.
Hammonton, NJ
I was born and raised in New York City. My parents are from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. My mom came here when she was 19 to work and my dad came when he was 7 with his parents because they needed a way to maintain the family. My mom showed me a lot of her Dominican culture when I was younger and I've grown to love it. Now I'm 24 and married; my husband and I plan to move to the Domincan Republic for a year to experience life abroad but especially to help as many people as possible learn what Jehovah God requires of us and all the beautiful promises he has in store for thoughs who listen.

3/30/04
Jean Marie
Amherst MA
My father was born in Mexico in 1909, and arrived in Texas with his family in 1915. He never returned to Mexico, but he also never forgot how to speak Spanish.

I can trace my mother's side of the family back to two English brothers who arrived on the East Coast of what is now the U.S. in 1640. I descend from the brother who settled in Massachusetts.

Over the years, my maternal grandparents' ancestors made their way west, and my father and his family eventually moved to Los Angeles, where my parents met, and where I grew up. Now I live in New England, not far from the South Deerfield cemetery where some of my mother's ancestors are buried. It's a uniquely American full circle.

3/30/04
Gloria Alecia
Palmdale, CA
Four days after arriving in America, I began working. That was thirty-one years ago and I am still working. My mother and seven siblings followed over a period of time.

Thank goodness, because of education and good work ethics which we brought from Belize, we are doing well.

It wasn't easy. Times were rough during the seventies. After spending three years in the Army, I returned to Law Enforcement (my prior career in Belize). The Chief of Police did not want any "niggers" on his police department and resented having to hire minorities because of Affirmative Action. It was a challenge being the first female on the Department. They did all they could to get rid of me but I was determined to stay in a career that I loved and a job that I could handle.

After 14 months, the Chief not only succeeded in driving me off the force but he made sure that I would never work in Law Enforcement again by telling other agencies that I was a member of the Black Panther Party (BPP). They all believed him. No one would listen to me even though all they had was his word. I had never met anyone from the BPP. I don't think that the party was active when I came to this country.

This experience led me to hate "white folks." I couldn't understand how people could be so cruel. I did not even know that I was Black until my recruiter told me that "Black" was my race.

Slowly, I began to realize that not everyone was like the folks on that police department. I have had a success banking career, followed by a wonderful career as an educator. I have five teaching credentials, in addition to being a National Board Certified Teacher and an author of three books.

I live comfortably and I am happy to be an American. There are opportunities in this country. Seek and you shall find.

3/30/04
Mini
I came into this country from India when I was 4 years old and at that time, I did not realize the freedom and opportunities I would receive. I am so proud to be an American and I thank God every day that I am so blest to live in this wonderful country of ours.

I think that we often forget how lucky we are to be here and all those who sacrificed their lives everyday so that we can have the good life. I am the lucky one and so are my children and their children and so on and so forth......

God Bless America!!!

3/30/04
Sohni Singh
Inverness, IL
Born and raised in America by immigrant parents of India and the Dominican Republic--i am more than excited to see this special on tv tonight.As a natural born U.S. citizen sometimes I wonder how my parents did it. I think by watching this show I will not only get to see profiles of BOTH my cultural roots, but also catch a glimpse of what it was like for my parents coming to Chicago both poor and alone, and then seeing them make the life of their dreams.

My father is a very successful entrepeneur and every now and then I will hear my mother and he talk to eachother about how they always dreamed of this life in America and are so fortunate to see those dreams come to life.

They came from a hard life to this country in search of prosperity, and they certainly found it.

3/29/04
D'Auna
Atlanta,Ga
my family came from asia 6 years ago.The reason why we came to the U.S is because it was poor where we wewe living and my family wanted to start a new and better life.Now that we are living in the U.S we have a better life here than we did when we lived in asia,and i am happy because of that.

3/29/04
Justin Case
Boston Massachusetts
I was born in America. My dad is Columbian, but my mom is American. My dad is always talking about when he lived in Columbia, there were all these amazing things that i have never seen and a beutiful country side. I'm always thinking about "What if i went to Columbia?" "What if i see all the wonderful things my dad talks abaout?" I always wonder..... ....what if.....

3/29/04
dallas, texas
I was born in Mexico, and so was my family. We immigrated here to obtain a better life; thank God that we were fortunate enough to obtain it. . My mother was/is a sinle parent who didn't finish high school and spoke no English when she first arrived here. Now she is fluent in English, obtained her GED and put her hree children through school. When we first arrived we didn't speak any English and therefore struggled to assimilate ourselves to our new "home". Looking back i cannot imagine being anywhere else.All three of us have come to full circle and are sucessful in our own way, I am a professional, one of my brother's in the the military(he just returned from Iraq), and the youngest is a junior in college. So, I must say that we HAVE obtained a better life and become good productive cititzens. Now, if we could just work on our predijuces, then we could ALL love each other as brothers and sisters.

3/29/04
Kristina
Like so many, I am from Mexico who moved to the US during the critical juncture of the 80's crises. Unlike most, my father stayed behind to work in Mexio making devulated pesos and paying dollars for me to attend a private liberal arts college for women. Most in my family crossed the border to the US, to live, to get their education or to make their career. Some stayed, some went back, others go back and fourth. While the liberty to come to the US is priceless, we have to look at the other side of the coin. In my family, internal pressure from the crises and constant mobility crossing borders caused a wave of divorces. Up until last year, every single person who had ever been married, including my grand parents were divoreced. Some two or three times. Us children recieved wonderfull educations yet we are now displaced from our own family's. While nothing is free life, this is the price we paid. That is one more reality of the immigration experience.

3/26/04
I WAS BORN & RAISED IN THE US-MY PARENTS ARE 1ST OF THEIR FAMILY TO COME HERE FROM MEXICO--I WAS TAUGHT TO LOVE THIS COUNTRY FOR ALL IT HAS TO OFFER BUT I ALSO LOVE MY PARENTS COUNTRY-IT ALSO HAS MUCH TO OFFER-I USED TO CHOKE BACK THE TEARS AT ANY CEREMONY INVOLVING THE US FLAG AND I FELT THE SAME WAY ABOUT THE MEXICAN FLAG -I'M VERY PROUD OF MY FATHER-ALTHOUGH HE ONLY WENT TO 3RD GRADE IN MEXICO--HERE HE GRADUATED HS SAME YEAR AS MY BROTHER AND HE BECAME A SOCIAL WORKER -HE ALWAYS YEARNED TO GO BACK HOME--BUT THE SITUATION THERE MADE IT DIFFICULT--HIS FAMILY THERE DEPENDED ON HIM-MOST PEOPLE I HAVE MET WOULD RATHER BE IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY-BUT THEY LOVE AND ADMIRE THIS COUNTRY TOO

3/26/04
Mario V.
Houston, Texas
Yo soy un nuevo Americano. My family and I crossed the US-Mexico border in the early 1980's in search for a better life. For years, we were living a clandestine life until the time came to become "legal". We took advantage of this opportunity and through hard labor we managed to live a little better. Thanks to the economic and academic opportunities offered, I was able to earn a professional degree and am currently working for immigrants just like myself, which brings joy to my profession.

3/26/04
Monica Lozano
Davis, California
My family and I came from Mexico to the US 10 years ago. We came because economic pressures in Mexico. My father did all kind of jobs but his hard work and dedication has really paid off. I'm proud of what my family has become. My father now works in engineering services at a technology company. My mother works at lab. My brother is a computer network technician at a biotechnology company. My sister is working towards her B.S. in electrical engineering. And, I'm working towards my M.S. in Chemical Engineering.

3/26/04
Fort Worth, Texas Im her in the United States to see the world,and curiosity and a cliche as well and Im doing well,and I understand the world now for six years living her,and it changes my life forever and I hope new comer's love America and to those natural born Americans on these country how bless they are and I respect so much the culture and history on these country my heart belongs to Philippines but my soul is for my faith and to my new country

3/26/04
Diana M. Rodriguez
Alexandria, VA
My parents are both immigrants to this country. My father came here from Cuba to escape Communism in 1959. My mother came here the same year from Germany to find a new life. They both learned English and gained employment immediately. They worked very hard and have become a great "American" success story. They have raised two children and now enjoy 5 American grandchildren. I can't imagine how different their lives would have been if they had not come here to live. They have enjoyed freedom, success and happiness which would not have been available to them in their countries of origin. I thank God everyday that my parents have given me the gift of life in America. We appreciate it so much because of their hard-work, sacrifices and efforts. Everyone should watch the series, especially people whose families have been in this country for generations. I will give them a deep appreciation and respect for the struggle their ancestors went through to live free and safe.

3/26/04
Felix Cheng
San Francisco, CA and New York City, NY
Our family has traveled a long road across time and space in order to become New Americans.

My father escaped communist China, immigrated to Hong Kong, and from there followed his uncle to Costa Rica in search for better opportunities. There, he met my mother, a third-generation Costa Rican-born Chinese. When I was born, they decided right then and there to immigrate to America, for the sole purpose of giving me a chance for better opportunities.

Once I turned 9, my parents left the life they had built to start anew in Miami. Just like Israel, my parents worked hard in hot kitchens, taking on back-breaking work seven days a week. Through pure sweat, my parents were able to send me to good schools, all the way through graduate school.

Today, I am a successful professional, and recently married. My father once told me that a family is built like a pyramid: each succeeding generation stands on the shoulders of all those have come before. I hope to be able to give my children the same solid foundation as my parents have done for me.

I am proud of my parents, and very humbled by the sacrifices they have made in order to make me a New American, and allow me the opportunities this amazing country has given me.

3/24/04
Miguel A. Gonzalez
Washington, DC
I am a New American. Like Pedro, I moved with my family to Wichita, Kansas in the early eighties. My father was Pedro, struggling to bring his children to Kansas. I recall the phone calls, the notes, the photos.

As I watched the first part of the documentary, I sobbed because I saw myself, my family, my friends in the film. I saw my new and old neighborhoods. I have walked in their shoes. I've had each and every experience shared by the New Americans.

Now, I am a successful professional living in Washington, DC. I have worked for a member of Congress, adviced a cabinet secretary, adviced presidential candidates, and I have an advanced degree from a prestigious university.

I am humbled by the opportunities I've had. America is a wonderful place. It is the land of opportunity.

I am a New American and I am proud of it.

3/24/04
Arlington, Virginia
My family came to the United States from Honduras. My father received a special visa given to foreigners with outstanding capabilities. We settled in New England, just like the pilgrims. Eventually Miami became our home base, but now we are back up North. As an immigrant I feel we are most aware of borders, and most keenly wish they didn't exists. I am not a different person when I travel over one, so why should an imaginary line intend to make me feel so?

3/24/04
Maria L.
Columbia, Maryland
I was born and raised in Spain. I came to this country via marriage to a U.S. Navy service member I met in Spain. Shortly after moving here I became pregnant and had my son. This happened thirteen years ago. Even though, at the moment I thought that the move to America and subsequent marriage would be the biggest changes in my life, many things have changed since then. I have divorced, completed my education (B.S in Marketing) and re-married. I do consider myself very European, but I do recognize that this country has given me the opportunity to achieve goals I would not have been able to accomplish otherwise. I dream of Europe, I miss the culture a great deal, but looking back, I see that I did the right thing by coming here.

3/20/04
saint paul MN
I came from Mexico, was really hard to arrive here, there are a lot of barriers especially the language and the culture, I am married and I have three children, but I am separated from my mother, she is in Mexico. I dont know if one day I will go and see her.I have to live here, like in jail because I cant go back, my children dont know my family. Sometimes I feel really bad, because the people here think that we are coming because we want to get their jobs, and that it is not true, totally wrong, we came because we want better life, we work here in anythin g, we take the minimun salary but for us it is better thaan nothing, in my country, the salary is $50.00 a week, that it is the biggest reason because we came here, we dont want to take anybodys spot, we want to live better, please accept us.

3/19/04
Jennifer
Arlington, VA
My mother's family came from France and Switzerland at the turn of the century. My great-grandmother was born in Paris and went up in the Statue of Liberty before it was shipped to America. Even though my grandmother was born in the US, she said she always felt like an outsider in their town because her family was "foreign." Now that she's gone, I insist on making crepes for the holidays as she did. It's the only piece of our cultural past that remains.

 


Share Your Stories
Share Your Stories
Talkback
The Series
Learn More
For Educators
Community Engagement
Get the Video
Preview