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Let's Deepen the Introductions... Tell us about your role model.

I'm so excited about how many people have participated in our first big "introduce yourself" discussion! It's great knowing little tidbits of information about everyone.

This time let's talk about who in our lives has most inspired or encouraged us.

I'll start.

My entire family has always been supportive, but my grandmother is the person who most inspired me. She was a magnificent lady full of love and encouragement always.

She attended 1st through 8th grade in a one room schoolhouse in in a very rural area. After 8th grade she quit school to help take care of their home and her brothers when her mother's health began failing. At 20 years old, she realized how much she'd missed out on and began studying for her GED and obtained it. She always proudly displayed it hanging in a frame in her home.

I was very close to my grandparents, and spent a lot of time with them. My grandma would ALWAYS talk to me about school, tell me how important it was, and ask what I was learning. Many times I was learning something that she had never been taught or that she had forgotten, and into her 80's (even when I was in college) she would ask me to try to teach her what I was learning.

It was her dedication to learning as much as she could during her life, and her encouragement she gave me every step of my education that helped me find the determination and work ethic to not only become a first generation college graduate, but to also obtain a post-graduate degree.

Who has most inspired you?

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Replies to This Discussion

My whole maternal lineage going back 4 generations is what inspires me. My mom is an awesome woman that raised me to be kind, honest, dedicated, educated, and not to let anyone stand between me and my dreams. My grandmother is a tough old lady that provides a dose of reality (and support) that requires me to think out my plans before speaking about them. My great grandmother raised her daughter without a husband in the 1940's in the deep south. She went on to earn her BA and MA and secure financial stability for herself, her mother, and her daughter. My great-great grandmother was the the the loving bedrock that my whole family stands on. She is love, honor, and everything good that resides in me.

Thanks for prompting me to think about these things.
Thanks so much for sharing this with us! We should feel so fortunate to have grown up surrounded by strong women role models!
I will add another strong woman to the category my mother, Miriam. Although I came from a household where both parents were in the picture, my mother was the spearhead of the clan. She was the motivator, working countless hours as a sewing machine operator to give my brother and me the one thing she always wanted and was never able to pursue - an education. She fought hard to make sure that we did not succumb to the street culture and lifestyle of the South Bronx where we grew up. My parent met in this country, my mother an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, and father from Puerto Rico. Any one who is familiar with the mentality of these cultures especially back in the 60's when they met knows that it is like oil and vinegar - they do not mix. Yet somehow, they made it work. Raising us through the incredible urban blight of the South Bronx in the 70's. I can remember us having to sleep with bags packed and our coats on because we always lived with the fear of our building where we lived being burnt down. We all lived with that fear in the Bronx back then - a memory that I have of my life as a 5 year old in the Bronx - I am 38 and the memory still haunts me now.

Through those hard and difficult times, I can always remember my mother stressing education. She worked 14 hours a day just to put us through private school. Why? Because she wanted us to grow up to have a better life than hers, she had to stop going to school after the sixth grade in her country and work – that is just how life was for her growing up poor on a farm. Because she saw that, the public schools in our neighborhood were just a breeding ground for thugs and criminals. She always warned, and yes into us too - LOL, the notion that what we saw on the streets, what we had to fight through, (and yes we had to fight our way to and from school sometimes - being the only kids in the hood going to school in preppie uniforms we stood out – LOL)

Therefore, she worked, and worked, and on a couple of occasions, almost sewing her fingers off because the fatigue of the long hours affected her precision. All to give us what she felt was the opportunity to make more of ourselves than what her and my father could ever dream. Her hard work paid off – my brother and I both graduated from one of the best academic catholic high schools in NYC. We both turned our academic prowess into college scholarships and we both have college degrees.

The greatest part of the story in my eyes is that when my mother first came to this country she worked for wealthy family from Spain, in Larchmont NY, as a house cleaner. When I first came home from college after my first year, my mom took me on a train ride from the Bronx to the Upper West Side in Manhattan where the woman of the house where she previously worked for now lived. Through the years, they remained close friends, but my mother took me there with one purpose in mind. When I walked into this woman’s apartment and my mother introduced me I was greeted with open arms and tears of joy by a person who was a complete stranger to me. Now I could not understand why, and as this overflow of joy was being spread my mom asked me to pull out my wallet and show the woman my college ID… huh, I thought. As I showed the woman my college ID, she cried and hugged me even more and walked me to a wall by her fireplace and showed me her son’s diploma, and I instantly understood and started to cry.

The diploma on the wall was a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cornell University – the son of the house cleaner, was now attending to the same school, and eventually graduated, that her former “employer’s” son had the honor of attending and graduating from as well. As Don King would say, “Only in America.” That is why she is my inspiration and that is why I am a big advocate of fighting to preserve the American Dream for us all. My main goal in life before I die, is to establish a scholarship in my mothers name so that other kids from the Bronx just like me can have the opportunity of a quality education and the fruits that that labor can bestow upon the ones who choose to take that path
Carlos, your story and the story of your mom's dedication to your career literally brought tears to my eyes. This is such a beautiful and moving story. She must be so proud of what she was able to give her children... an education. She sounds like an absolutely remarkable woman.
Thank you, not the reaction I expected - I was just caught in the moment so to speak when I was responding tp your post. I'm honored by your reaction and response.

Education is key, and through education, as a culture we will make a positive contribution to our communities and this beautiful country as a whole. And yes she is a truly remarkable woman. Once again thanks
Wow yes Carlos your story moved me to tears actually all these stories. For me I would have to say my cousin Nisa Reyes. I grew up in a 2parent home up until highschool when my parents divorced, was very difficult for me, I became rebellious, even flunked out, grew up in the barrio where alot of violence went on or my friends were getting pregnant,then moved to Austin TX to live with my dad. I was back and forth. When speaking to my cousin Nisa I would ask her, how or why do you do what you do. Her answer to me even when we were kids was that she wanted so badly to get out of her parents house that she was so motivated about doing good in school so she wldn't have to depend on them or anyone for that matter, she graduated from TX Weslayan University with a degree in law, I am so inspired that she is continually growing, succeeding and knowledgeable in so much and me being a single mother, now I am back in school online because of her support and encouragement.
Thank you Marie, Your cousin sounds like a remarkable woman as well. And Congrats on going back to school!! Right On! Knowledge is power, and think of how proud she will be of you to know that she was your inspiration and that you are looking to follow in her footsteps! Great job!
thanks so much!! FYI- I failed to mention that I did live in Santa Ana, CA for about 4mnths, I did like visiting there but not to live, I was there thru the brush fires of 2004 and I know that and traffic is continous.
Jesus/Christ #1 and Presidents Andrew Jackson and John F. Kennedy (not because of his popularity) and too many others to list here who "publicly" took a stand for justice, mercy, and selflessness (many if not most who were murdered because of it), as supported by the preponderance of evidence/suppressed world history, logic, and my love for humanity - these are my heroes. More on this later; you're gonna love it!!!


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