A Letter by Marcos Rodriguez Maciel

To my nieces and nephew,

The three of you are still far too young to understand the myriad of challenges facing the country. And yet, these challenges are already beginning to shape what your futures could look like. Political polarization, climate change, and ballooning education costs are just some of the issues that have defined my generation. If nothing changes, they look increasingly likely to define yours as well. 

The optimist in me however believes that something will change. And the activist in me will push for something to change. Over the course of this country’s history, we have seen time and time again how it rises to meet what appeared to be the intractable challenges of the day. We have seen how leaders stepped up to push for reforms that addressed the issue at hand and created new opportunities. 

It is this history and the promise of better opportunities that brought your grandparents, parents and me to this country over 25 years ago. Like so many immigrants before them, your grandparents wanted to give me and your parents a better chance to succeed in life. It was their optimism about America that pushed them to work hard and make sacrifices in a new country. Their sacrifice paid off as we were all able to go to college and embark on careers that changed the quality of life we all have.  

As first generation immigrants, you have benefited from the work of your parents and grandparents. At the same time, you will grow up learning about our family’s immigrant history and deal with the challenges that others in your generation will face. While your parents and I will do what we can to tackle current challenges and build a better future for you all, there will always be issues old and new to address. 

In your journey through life, never lose the immigrant perspective you will inherit. I believe it is this perspective that makes me optimistic about the possibilities in this country. Do not forget why your grandparents and parents came to this country. Most importantly, as you grow up, work to make this a country that continues to offer hope and the promise of a better life for immigrants that will come after us. 

With optimism and love,

Your Uncle