by Marvin Figueroa
This election is one of the most important in our lifetime, and I couldn’t be more excited to join Hillary Clinton’s historic campaign as her political director in Virginia.
I’m with her because she sees people like me. You see, I was born in Honduras to a schoolteacher, who worked hard but decided to leave our home because of a lack of opportunity. Two years after my father’s departure, my mother saved enough money to fund the immigration proceedings and, with the sponsorship of a family member who lived in the United States, we were awarded visas. In January of 1990, we boarded a plane to New York City and settled in the Bronx.
My mother thought that life in the United States of America would be easier, especially since the people who returned to our village told us stories of abundance. The truth when we arrived hardly matched their recollections. Due to her inability to speak English, my mother could not secure employment. She worked seasonal factory jobs, but they required her to work long hours with inconsistent pay. For our first years living in America, we stayed with family members, often sleeping in living rooms.
Yet, despite these difficulties, we persevered. Our instability ended when she became a home health aide coupled with the public assistance we received. I persevered through high school, being one of 100 students to graduate out of a class of 300. I also earned a full-tuition scholarship to Vanderbilt University. Later, I earned a Master’s degree from Harvard University and went on to become a senior advisor in the United States Senate.
My story of struggle and perseverance is not unique. It’s the story of immigrants who leave everything behind for the promise of something better in the land of freedom and opportunity. It’s the story of millions of single mothers who wake up every day willing to take on the world if it means providing better lives for their children. It reflects the ethos of American idealism, where anyone, regardless of background, can aspire to and achieve the best for ourselves.
Donald Trump doesn’t believe in the America that made my story possible; Hillary does. When she graduated from law school, she joined the Children’s Defense Fund to advocate for the less fortunate, rather than joining a prestigious law firm. As First Lady, she worked with Republicans to provide healthcare to uninsured children. She believes that when we work together to open doors for our fellow Americans, this country becomes a better place.
What happens in 2016 affects all of us. The outcome of this election will determine whether our economy lifts people from poverty, whether millions of young adults have access to an affordable education, and whether millions of hardworking Americans and new Americans alike finally have access to the opportunities this country promises.
I have decided to join the Hillary for America campaign because she will fight to make the dreams of something better a reality for families who are like my own. I hope you will join me in supporting her.