I will ALWAYS work harder than you.
This past May I spent two weeks in Jamaica. The majority of my time was spent in the parish of St.Thomas where my husband and I grew up, I left when I was 7 yrs old and he left at 18 yrs old. This community is also one of the poorest and most underdeveloped parishes on the island.
As I was Taking in the fresh island air, views and just overall good vibes. I couldn’t help but think “ I truly need to be grateful for the access and opportunities I have living in America“. I also thought about how privileged I was to have grown up in the United States and in New York to be specific.
If you aren't familiar with the way the immigration and Visa system let me break it down for you. Most often people only get Visas for Working or going to school. You spend hundreds even thousands of dollars applying for those visas and there is no guarantee that you will get the Visa. Let's say you are one of the lucky ones who get the Visa.
You then get to travel to the US and you have a limited amount of time that you are allowed to stay in the country that can range from 1 month to a few years ( time ranges based on the visa purpose). Most people try to get school visas then land a job before the visa is up so that the job can then sponsor them ( When you see job applications ask " will you need a visa sponsorship?" that's why that question is there).
Well, that was a brief overview ( I summed it all up fairly quickly but immigration is often a long and tedious process) but back to my family. My uncle was able to get a visa. He then came to the US and got a Green card which meant he was a permanent resident. After 10 years of permanent residency, you are able to apply to become a US citizen. He applied and got through. At that point, he was then able to "File" (Put in an application with immigration so that another member of your family can migrate to the US) for his parents ( my grandmother and grandfather). After spending time and money again they were approved and came to the US where they then also did their 10 years to become citizens. After these 10 years, my grandparents then filed for their children which included my mother, two uncles, and my aunt. You may be thinking "why didn't your uncle file for his siblings?" great question! Another fun feature of immigration is that you can only file for certain relatives such as parents, kids, and spouses. My mother was able to bring me and my two brothers with her because we were considered dependent children and grandparents can file for underage grandchildren. So myself, two brothers and two cousins were also able to make the trip to the US.
For me to be here right now sitting in the US as a citizen it had to start with my uncle getting approved for that original Visa. Over 30 years of time, and thousands of dollars. Let's remember that not all families are this lucky or have yet put in the amount of time it took to get their families to the US.
And this is why I will always work harder than you. On my back holds the future generations of my family. Before I was even born actions were being made to ensure i didn't grow up without access and opportunities. Steps were being taken even before my uncle was born, before my grandparents were born. Everything that happened from the first slave ship with my ancestors who were taken from African and brought to Jamaica to mine sugar cane has led me to where I am today. I am literally my ancestors wildest dreams.
In Black Panther Erik Killmonger said the unforgettable line “ bury me in the ocean like my ancestor who jumped off the shops because they refused to be enslaved”. My ancestors didn't jump because they had a dream. That dream was that one day their successors would be smashing ceilings and changing the world. So for me to be right here right now I must thank those who came before and set an example for my children and my successors.
My children are first generation Jamaican American with access and opportunities more than triple what I was born with an I have to make sure that my Great great grandchildren have even more than that. Which will take continuous hard work and dedication similar to what my ancestors have put in.
On this blog I plan to share my story while inspiring other humans to follow their passions, dive into the world of entrepreneurship,
and be amazing at everything they do.