We Are All Americans
Louise Vallone is a community activist, author, and grassroots organizer who has worked diligently to protect the environment and educate voters on issues – including those involving health and wellness. She has received various awards and recognitions in this field.
THOSE WHO CAME HERE EARLIER AND THOSE WHO HAVE REMAINED, COMING OVER FROM GOOD COUNTRIES, HELPING AMERICA TO GET STARTED, TO GROW, AND TO PROSPER.
I have seen many changes but there have been certain basics that have remained true and constant. The knowledge that no matter what the time period, immigrants have waited to come here legally into this great country because they knew the wait had value.
America has always been a port of entry whereby people knew through their talents, their sweat and their sacrifices they could carve out a better life. And they knew they had the opportunity for a better life because their entry into America was done in a planned way; only allowing as many people to enter through our ports as we had the resources, the jobs, to support them.
In my area of the country, I have seen these immigrants flood to Endicott Johnson (EJ) shoe factory where George F. Johnson employed as many of them as he could. He didn’t look at them as people with different cultures or different colors or customs, rather he looked at them as men and women with a dream, a vision to reach for the stars while having their feet planted firmly in New York.
He secured them jobs and healthcare and shorter work days and entertainment because he wanted to demonstrate his gratitude for their help in growing his business. Later these immigrants’ children and those new to the area secured jobs at IBM. And now the immigrants keep coming and yet I wonder if we remember it was our forefathers who were once in the same position as them. Asking for the opportunity to make a better life, for themselves and their family, a life they worked hard for and deserved.
We in America realize we are all immigrants. Some of us are legally just entering the country and earnestly learning the subject matter to pass the citizenship test and to be useful members of this civil society. Others may be second, third, or even more distant immigrants to this great country. But no matter the length of time here we all share one common denominator. We are all Americans. And as such we must remember that being an American means we not only are afforded rights and privileges unheard of in almost any other country but that we must also remember that these benefits come with responsibilities toward our country. We need to work hard to make a better life for ourselves and our families while working hard to make America the place that future generations continue to dream of living.