As a Brazilian-American, there has always been a sense of loyalty within the family. It is ingrained in our culture to stand by and unite with family no matter the circumstances.
But being Brazilian, or any immigrant, in the United States isn’t always a walk in the park. There is plenty of judgment and reminders of a “go back to where you came from” culture.
But that did not stop my parents.
They are fighters. Two of the most hard-working individuals I have ever known in my life. Not only did they risk everything to come to the United States, but they did it for my brother and me.
There was a sense of a new beginning in the United States. The risk seemed worth it, but it wasn’t going to be easy.
There were many challenges – language, culture, finances, living arrangements, etc. – but at the end of each day, one thing remained: Happiness.
Happiness is a huge part of my family identity. They have always taught me that happiness is the ultimate goal in life.
Although times were difficult, my parents made it work.
They found joy in the little things in life like going to New York City, buying a disposable camera to capture all the memories, or even just using a payphone to talk to family members in Brazil.
Growing up in this family, I also learned that it was fine to wear generic brand clothing, have your mom cut your hair, speak another language, and that my favorite part of every day was having dinner with my family.
Even the most basic rice and beans brought our family together. (And by the way, I absolutely love rice and beans!)
Looking back, I now recognize how hard my parents worked every single day to keep food on the table; a struggle many families in Westchester face.
My hope at Feeding Westchester is to help families put food on the table so they can spend more time being together.
Together we are Feeding Westchester.