June marks Immigrant Heritage Month — and people across the country are sharing their American stories. Whether you’ve recently embarked on your first day as an American or want to share how your ancestors came to arrive here, we want to hear from you. Add your voice to the conversation today.
I come from a long line of childhood immigrants.
My grandfather was eight when he emigrated from Argentina to Morocco. My parents both emigrated from Casablanca, Morocco to Paris, France in the 1960s, among a wave of North African Jewish immigrants that crossed the Mediterranean in pursuit of better opportunities. My brother and I joined the ranks when we immigrated to Florida in 1996.
My dad fell in love with America during graduate school in the States – he connected with the entrepreneurial spirit and the deeply engrained ideals of service and civic participation. He and my mother dreamt of raising their children in America and instilling in us these powerful ideals. That’s why, when I was seven, we immigrated to the U.S. on a H-1B Visa to begin our journey to citizenship.
Our journey was not without its challenges. We left family, friends and a cultural connection to begin anew in a mostly unfamiliar land. My mother gave up her practice as a surgeon. I remember my first day of school in America: Wearing a denim jacket and a bright pink backpack, I tried my best to look American, hoping no one would notice I didn’t speak English. It was awkward.
Even though we sometimes felt confused, we always felt welcome.