As American migrants living overseas the ease with which we travel across borders is in stark contrast to the difficult journeys of others who migrate not out of choice, but out of need. When debating US immigration laws and practices, as our country threatens to build a wall, and increases immigration raids putting immigrant families at risk every day we as migrants who benefit from a global migration system, must become leaders in reversing the lens and changing the debate. We as migrants ourselves, must become champions for the rights of migrants in the USA. This article by Dario Hassankhani, edited by Jenny Bencardino gives us a global perspective on what it means to be a migrant in the USA, one that as Americans living overseas we must constantly reflect upon.
By Dario Hassankhani, Edited by Jenny Bencardino, MD. The most valiant people are those who act on what is given to them. Many adversities may befall these bright minds, but they never falter and continue forward. In many cases, people who display these traits are immigrants moving from another country. Immigrants have to learn about the community they must assimilate to, and there are many prerequisites that must be followed as a non-native should you ever want to be accepted by society.
As a foreigner, much prejudice will be directed your way should you step out of the moral boundaries deemed appropriate in a culture that you are unacquainted with. However, expatriates push on and most do eventually settle into their role in the grand scheme of things here in the United States. Overcoming every challenge (whether it be social, economic, or socioeconomic) that dares to stand in their way, these proud warriors are the future of any country that hopes to thrive.
One of the more prominent groups of migrants to the USA is that of Hispanic descent. The influx of Latin American immigrants is so great that it is estimated that 120 million Americans will be of Latino descent by 2050. That is roughly one third of the population of the USA today—a huge number to put it lightly. Both hard-working and headstrong, many strive to reach the caliber of those who have lived in the United States for many generations. The success of Latino immigrants has positively affected this country in profound ways: From Hispanic doctors saving lives in emergency and operating rooms to cleaning ladies saving homeowners much time and stress to artists and performers entertaining millions, it is without a doubt that the Hispanic community in the States has been digested and incorporated into the typical Western way of life.
A documentary that fully recognizes the scope of the Hispanic population in the land of opportunity is the movie Four Journeys by Dr. Teresa Mular. Mular is an Argentinian who is a physician and an independent filmmaker. The documentary showcases four Latino immigrant women who succeeded in the New York City area and started a new life for themselves in America. These four pioneers exemplify that taking a huge risk can often end in a great reward outweighing the struggles involved in moving from one country to another. Two physicians, a professional pianist and a physical therapist are each shown to have taken risks in order to reach new heights unimaginable if they had not each immigrated to the Home of the Brave. Through the film we see each of the women candidly explaining everything that befell them along the way, and yet they pushed forward thanks to no one but themselves.
In the end, it’s not where you come from that defines you, but how you got where you are now. Some of the most venerated people on the planet are immigrants, because of the grit and drive they possess and use so skillfully in order to triumph against opposition and wrestle their way to the top.
A quick note on Four Journeys:
The film is about 55 minutes long and can be watched using this link: https://vimeo.com/172257007. Password: Rooster (Please make sure to type uppercase R)
Since the time of its premiere this past December 3rd, 2016 to the time of this writing, the film has been nominated to Best Educational and Scientific Film and Best Short Documentary at the Milan Film Festival and it has received the International Platinum Award in Jakarta, Award of Merit from the Best Shorts Competition, the Top Winner Award at the Cinema Grand Prix in Bali, Laurel Certificate from Lakeview International Film Festival in Punjab, India and Award of Excellence by the International Film Festival Women-Social Issues-Zero Discrimination. Four Journeys has also been recently chosen as a 2017 official selection at the NYC Independent Film Festival running from May 2nd to May 7th.
Dario Hassankhani is a first generation American citizen currently living in the United States.
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