“My mom is from Mexico. We have been living here for sixteen years. My grandparents from Mexico are here visiting. They came last summer and that was the first time I had met them. It was exciting to meet them. We try to keep up the traditions here like Day of the Dead. We do the altar and celebrate the family who has passed away. We decorate the table and put out their pictures and eat the food they liked and listen to their favorite music. We remember my grandfather and my uncle. I am about to be 17 and I am really close to my mom. She has a store that sells food from Mexico. It has been open for about a year and I work the register every day after school. I want to help her business grow.
My mom was one of 12 kids and dropped out of school when she was 11 because she was one of the oldest and had to help take care of her family. She cooked and went to work. I was born in Mexico and she wanted me to have a better life so she and my dad came here. A cousin helped them out with a car and a job. She told me stories of being barefooted and couldn’t shower a lot because they didn’t have much money. My mom wanted to keep going to school but my grandma told her she couldn’t because she needed to help the family. That shows me I need to work hard and help take care of my family, too. Sometimes I miss a lot of school because my mom has a heart problem and my brother is autistic and I have to go with them to the doctor and to therapy because I have to translate. Friends help me catch up with school work. I know a lot of people don’t want us here but my mother has had a tough life and am thankful to have a better life than she did.”