My dream as a parent
IT HAPPENED TO ME
Monday, September 22, 2008
Out and about
Regardless of the general election’s outcome in November, there’s no denying the historical importance of this presidential election. I’m only one generation removed from the blood, sweat and tears that led to Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. There are women alive today that were born before women were allowed to vote and millions of immigrants still risk their lives to come here illegally and work the jobs that nobody else wants.
I’m the son of immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala that came to Chicago illegally in their early 20s not knowing English and working all sorts of jobs to provide me and my sister a better life. I grew up feeling the sting of racial slurs and prejudice, driving me to want to be successful.
Today, my partner, Shannon, and I live a relatively comfortable life, so at times I take for granted the great strides that others before me had to take. At some point in my 20s I seemed to lose that glossy-eyed idealism that drove me as a teenager.
But sitting here as a new parent, thinking of the way our little David struggles to learn how to sit and how he smiles at me, the idea of being idealistic and pursuing dreams doesn’t seem silly anymore. In fact, it seems necessary.
As a parent, I’ve come to learn again that we need to remind ourselves of the dreams those before us fought for in order to provide our children a world that is better than our own, like our parents did for us.
I have a dream and my dream is that 20 years from now when David is in college or pursuing whatever dreams he has, he will look back to these years we are living and say these were the years that racial and gender inequality finally came to an end. And as a parent, I promise to do my part in realizing that dream.