Tag Archives: american dream

RIP Jose Fernandez

The shocking news came on while we were watching the Mets game last night. Cuban-American Jose Fernandez, who we feared as a competitor for the Miami Marlins, was dead at 24 in a boating accident.

Yoenis Cespedes, a fellow Cuban and Mets outfielder, hung up a Mets jersey with Fernandez’s name and number in tribute. Others followed suit all around the league.

Fernandez was voted the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year award. His was a promising life cut short, but it was a life of inspiration and as a fellow Cuban-American, it pained me to hear of his loss.

A Cuban-American sportscaster from Miami spoke about what Fernandez meant to the Cuban community, much like each and every successful Cuban resonates with Cubans all across the U.S.

We came here for freedom and to live the American dream. Fernandez embodied that spirit and attaining the dream.

At 14 he attempted to defect, but was caught and sent to prison. He tried again three other times and for each failure, he went to prison. During the successful attempt, Fernandez’s mother fell overboard and Fernandez had to rescue her, risking his own life to do so.

While Fernandez, his mother, and sister attained freedom here in the U.S. in 2007, his grandmother was left behind and it took six years before she could join her family in 2013. In 2015, Fernandez became a U.S. citizen.

Freedom was that important to Fernandez as it is to so many Cuban refugees who risked so much to get here. I understand. I lived it and have had the ability to attain the American Dream.

It’s why I stand and place my hand over my heart for the national anthem even when I’m at home and watching a game.

RIP Jose Fernandez. My sympathies to his family on their loss and to the families of the two other men killed in the boating accident.

José Fernández on April 12, 2016

#ThrowbackThursday Levittown & Mr. Softee

I grew up in Levittown, Long Island, the first planned suburb in America. Some will bad mouth it by saying it was bland, homogenous and sanitized, but to me it was heaven and the American Dream.

My family was able to buy a home and we had good public schools that prepared us for the future. We had friendly neighbors after some initial issues with being Cuban and all in all, things were wonderful.

The community had little village greens with community pools and we were just minutes away from Jones Beach. Summers were spent playing outdoors and going to the pool or beach. Summers were also spent waiting for the visit of Mr. Softee, today’s Throwback Thursday memory. Of course, that just made me remember that the Good Humor man would also visit on another day, but that’s for a future post. LOL!

My family wasn’t well off, after all, we were political refugees who’d been in America for less than nine years when my parents moved us to Levittown. How’d they do that? The old fashioned way: hard work.

But money was tight and it wasn’t unusual that dinner was fried eggs and rice and we ate cream cheese and jelly sandwiches for lunch. If we even ate lunch. I don’t really remember eating breakfast or lunch in the summer. We were too busy playing outside.

Anyway, having enough money for Mr. Softee was a big deal. A BIG DEAL. Back then, you could get an ice cream cone for about 15 cents, but I loved their sundaes, so I’d save up the 15 cents my grandfather would give us and wait until I had the 35 cents for a sundae!

My sister would always get the Brown Cow, an ice cream cone dipped into some kind of magic liquid that produced a hard shell on the cold ice cream. I sometimes opted for the Cherry Cow if I was really impatient.

After we bought our ice creams, we’d sit on the curb and talk as we ate our treats before heading off to play with our friends again.

Those were the good times and it’s nice to remember them on this Throwback Thursday.

Mister Softee Truck 1.JPG
Mister Softee Truck 1” by Rjsswf8Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Remembering 9-11 and My Mom

This time of year was always tough for me. September 10th is my mom’s birthday. A mom I lost to cancer when she was only 54. I was 22. It was a time in our lives we should have been celebrating. I had just graduated college and was on my way to law school. My mom had planned on trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer and joining me there somehow in the next year or so.

My sister was entering her final year of school and my mom was so close to seeing her dream of having both her daughters get college degrees. Education was a big thing with my mom.

So was the American Dream. My boss, who knew my mother quite well, used to kid me that my mom was more American than most Americans. He was right.

My mom understood the gift she had been given by being able to come to this country. She struggled hard to bring my sister, grandparents, and me here. It wasn’t an easy journey, but my mother never stopped believing in her dreams.

I guess that’s what makes September 11 so hard for me in many ways. On a personal level, seeing it happen before my eyes is something that I will never forget.

On a much bigger scale, the events of 9-11 attacked something as dear to me as my mother and my family.

America.

I am my mother’s daughter in so many ways. More American than most Americans some might say. But then again, America has shaped so much of who I am. What I am.

I am the American Dream. I’ve lived it. I believe in it.

My mother always told me that any dream was achievable so long as I was willing to work hard for it.

I still believe that. It may not be easy at times. It hasn’t been easy at times, but yet I still believe because to lose that dream is to lose America.

That’s something I refuse to do.

So on this day, reflect on what America means to you. Reflect on what it meant to the people in those Towers, many from other countries eager to be here. Remember those who sacrificed so much to try and save others, from the civilians in the Towers to our brave firefighters, police and first responders. Remember the heroes on Flight 93 who gave all to save others and our men and women in the Pentagon.

Remember those who sacrifice in other ways to keep us free, namely our military men, women, and their families.

Don’t lose sight of all that America has offered to so many and what it can still offer if you believe in its basic promise: Work hard and your dreams can come true.

Remember and never forget.

Proud to be an American

Feeling very patriotic today. Maybe it was being at the SOS Military Mixer at the RT Convention. Or maybe it’s what is in the news everyday. Regardless, there is no doubt that despite all our differences, we should all stand tall and say that we are proud to be American. And we should be thankful every day for those who make it possible for us to have our Liberty and the right to express our differences.

So today I offer you a song that always chokes me up every time I hear it. I understand the amazing and wondrous gift that I have been given to be able to enjoy the American Dream. I also understand that the Dream is paid for by the sacrifice of our military men, women and their families, so this is to honor them today and every day. Never forget their sacrifice and never forget the words of John F. Kennedy when he said:

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

Things for Which I am Thankful

I know it’s Wicked Wednesday, which usually means an excerpt, but I wanted to get a headstart on the Thanksgiving holiday and share those things for which I am thankful. I hope you’ll forgive me this indulgence. Here are those things for which I am thankful:

  • My Family: To my hubby who always makes me laugh and my beautiful daughter who is the light of my heart, I am thankful. I am also thankful for my sister, brother, in-laws and all my nieces, nephews and cousins who bring such joy into my life.
  • Our Military and their families: Thank you for the sacrifices you make so that we can continue to be safe and enjoy the many freedoms which we enjoy.
  • My Friends: Where would you be without friends? I want to thank all of them for always being supportive and I want to thank all of you, my cyber friends, for always visiting and writing.
  • The Liberty States Fiction Writers: After a year of darkness, a bright light emerged. You are that bright light, filled with optimism, good will, diversity and innovation. I thank you for our first wonderful year together and give a big WOO HOO that we’ve reached 150 members in our inaugural year.

Last, but never ever least . . .

  • The United States of America: You opened your doors to me and provided me the opportunity to live the American Dream. You gave me Liberty and allowed me to pursue through hard work those things that have made me happy and which I hope have contributed to the overall good of this Nation. I am forever indebted and thankful.

What about you? What are the things for which you are thankful this Thanksgiving season?

Thoughtful Thursday – A Wise Latina Woman Once Said . . .

That wisdom has nothing to do with race, religion, ethnicity or gender.

Much is being made of Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonya Sotomayor’s 2001 comments that she “would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Much should be made of that statement because it is either a statement made with poor judgment or one made with the conviction that she is better equipped to make a decision because she is a Latina woman. Either of the rationales for the statements is troubling.

As a judge and a person in the public eye, Sotomayor should at least be more circumspect when speaking. Being a fellow lawyer, we are taught to carefully consider what we say and write. To not do so and speak thoughtlessly can lead to repercussions, witnessed here by words that are coming back to haunt her.

Being a Latina who understands the whole underdog thing — my parents came here from Cuba, I wasn’t born here and didn’t speak English when I went to kindergarten, I went to a top tier college on a scholarship and to law school — I appreciate how hard Sotomayor has worked to get where she is.

But isn’t that underdog story typical of America? Isn’t that one of the wondrous things about this country? My husband’s grandparents all came here from Italy. Barely spoke English, but learned. Worked hard to buy homes, send their kids to school. Grand kids have prospered.

It’s the American dream. Work hard and prosper. Whether you’re white, black, brown, Italian, Cuban, Irish, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, America is the land of opportunity. Equal opportunity, sometimes not as equal as we would like, but certainly doable.

I should know. I did it. My parents did it. My husband’s grandparents did it. So did millions of others.

But back to Sotomayor. She did it and we should applaud her for it, but not just because she is a Latina woman.

You might remember that “just because” discussion from months back. The risks of making decisions based on “just because.”

When the nomination was mentioned, many people in the office looked to me and asked, “What do you think?”

I wondered, did they ask their white male counterparts right off the bat, or just me – the Latina Woman.

That’s one of the problems of “just because.” Everything you do is tainted by the “You got that (job/scholarship/nomination/published) just because you were (white, black, brown, Italian, Cuban, Irish, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim).”

Just because diminishes you and everything you do. It diminishes those around you and builds resentment.

If we are to nominate Judge Sotomayor to the Nation’s most important Court, please let it be on the basis of something other than just because.

I, for one, intend to read more about her and her decisions and you should as well. You can click here for the White House press release. Read about some of her decisions (links provided, although I do not vouch for their authenticity nor the opinions which may be expressed therein).

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/judge-sotomayor%E2%80%99s-opinions-with-dissents-%E2%80%93-part-i/

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/05/26/us/0526-scotus.html

http://ninthjustice.nationaljournal.com/2009/06/debate-continues-on-sotomayors.php

And do you know what? If you take even one minute to read one of these cases, you will be one up on Harry Reid, who said, “I understand that during her career, she’s written hundreds and hundreds of opinions. I haven’t read a single one of them, and if I’m fortunate before we end this, I won’t have to read one of them.” Courtesy Politico – click here for more.

Just some thoughts for you on this rainy Thursday.