Giving Thanks to Migrants who Created Opportunities for us to Thrive!
Food, family, and gratitude are the three most used words to describe today’s joyful Thanksgiving holiday! As I reflect on this year's blessings – I realize I have so much to be thankful for – and I’m sure you do as well!
Last month for Hispanic Heritage Month, I dedicated a post to my grandmother, Abuela Viña. This month, I want to dedicate this post to my mother, Anita, as I reflected on how her language needs led to my interpreting business, Be Moore Interpreting. My mom has been one my biggest role model! She left everything her home, Puerto Rico, with three small children to come to the mainland in search of more opportunities. Her sacrifice and endless prayers allowed us to soar! And although my upbringing experience is unique to me, I share a similar story with many other first-generation Americans, and that’s why today I am honoring the courageous migrants as part of my Thanksgiving celebration.
The Pew Research Center estimates that immigrants comprise about 14 percent of the US population, which translates to about 40 million individuals (2020). According to the United Nations, most migrants take the risk in search of economic opportunities to support their families. Regardless of the small population makeup, 43.8 percent of the most profitable business in America (the Fortune 500) was founded by immigrants (Fausto, 2020).
I feel grateful to know that I am a descendant of this resilient group of risk-takers! Our relatives had enough faith and courage to trek across deserts and violent oceans while avoiding the ruthless “coyotes” to create a better life even though success was not guaranteed. However, fast-forward to recent times, we know that their efforts were not in vain, and their vision created opportunities for their families, the entire nation, and generations to come!
This year, as we gather around our loved ones around your favorite traditional foods and the decorated tables and enjoy each other's conversations, join me in expressing gratitude and appreciation for those who made way for us to prosper and thrive!
*Originally, “Coyote” was a word to describe a person who smuggles immigrants across the Mexico-United States border; however, in present-day, it has become a loanword to describe the act of one smuggling another into a country illegally. Learn more about loanwords from my recent blog post: Language Translation: Amidst a Language Evolution.
I heard someone say, "where gratitude exists anxiety cannot persist." I hope you will be filled with gratitude this season for we are not where we were, and there's so much more for us to do.
Full of gratitude,
Shirley X. Moore