Humans of McNeil: Through the Looking Glass

Students share what it’s like growing up in the U.S.

America has always been referred to as a land of opportunities. Some have it in the palm of their hands, some move across the country, and some move across the world for opportunities.
Two generations ago, my family sailed from Puerto Rico to sign their names here, and two generations ago my family crossed the border. And my roots are as strong as the ones my father and his family dug up while picking vegetables under a blistering sun. They’re also as courageous as my grandpa’s when he uprooted my mother and his family from the southside of Chicago for a chance at a better and longer life. Their decision to leave all they’ve known, the decision that most immigrants make, are all in pursuit of the American Dream.
Today I have the privilege to chase mine. I also have the privilege of being surrounded by so many resilient people like the ones I interviewed in “Humans of McNeil: A Series” who are embracing their cultures and using it to achieve their own American Dream. However, in this day and age, it’s been increasingly hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It seems that most people believe the United States has been cast in the green light of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Being a Latinx youth in America is difficult. Being a minority in America is difficult. It’s being caught between two cultures. It’s contemplating on if the word dancing on your tongue is going to be rolled, accepted, or silenced. It’s your skin tone saying more about you than sometimes phrases ever could. It’s being scared that your family is going be torn apart, but also knowing that you have a whole community supporting you. This is America. This is our America.
Interviewing these students have confirmed what I have learned in my 16 years of life: life is unpredictable. My only salvation from this unpredictability is to write. Everyone has a story. That is why I write.