On September 29, 1966, her grandparents boarded a flight from Havana, Cuba to Miami, Florida and never looked back. Their pursuit — the American Dream.
The dreams of a democracy, freedom, and success for their young three children fueled their willingness to leave all they knew behind. Their first stop, the Freedom Tower in Miami, and with the support of the Catholic Church they were on their way to Newark, New Jersey. Upon arriving to New Jersey, her grandfather was quickly able to utilize his skills as an electrician and before he knew it — he had successfully provided a home for his six children, put all his children through private school, married off a few, and was welcoming grandchildren.
She was third on that list of grandchildren. And shortly after her birth, her mother relocated with her older sister and her to Florida. In doing so, her grandparents and her mother’s siblings followed. Like many Cuban families, her grandparents played a large role in her upbringing. Her grandmother was always her primary care giver. She never attended a preschool, had a babysitter, or participated in an after school program outside of her grandmother.
Although few memories have stayed with her, she can always remember her long weekly walks to the grocery store with her grandmother. Every time she passed the corner jungle green house she would stop and tell her grandmother, “I am going to be a lawyer so that I can buy my mom that house.” That dream of hers stayed with her grandmother forever. Her grandmother used it throughout the girl’s studies to remind her of her goals as a young girl.
Her dreams of becoming a young Latin lawyer really took off throughout her studies at the university. At that time, she lived with her grandparents and they pushed her each step of the way. Her grandfather made her coffee in the morning, her grandmother packed her lunch, and they always crept around the house quietly as she studied. Often while studying late night, her grandmother would peak her head in the bedroom door and say “keep pushing, you have that corner house to buy your mother”.
She was the first to graduate college in her family. She was fortune enough to have had both her grandparents attend each graduation alongside her. She is now practicing law in Atlanta, Georgia, living the American Dream her grandparents had for her. She is being a voice for the Latin community they are so proud to be apart of. She is being the face of their communities four percent existence in the legal field.
Her grandmother once cried, and her grandfather still cries, tears of joy looking at her — she is the reason they left Cuba in 1966.
And I am so proud to be their granddaughter.