Graduation Cap and Gown

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
My mother graduating CSU San Bernadino.
My mother graduating CSU San Bernadino.

Immigration has had and continues to have a negative connotation to it, especially in America. The harsh reality is, regardless of how smart one is in their native language, there will always be those in a new country, such as the United States, who look down upon them, whether it be because of their broken English or their poor socioeconomic status. I would like to counter this stereotype. When my mother was in college, she made the decision to move to the United States to pursue a higher education. While this meant she would have to leave behind her friends, her own mother, and siblings, she moved nonetheless because of certain pull factors; she wanted to give her children a better chance at also obtaining a higher education, as opposed to the lack of opportunities present in Thailand, a third world country. As an immigrant in a new country, my mom was constantly teased about her accent and faced microaggressions as an Asian woman. She was seen as an outsider, just as Asian immigrants during the late 1800’s were seen as outsiders to the American community. This type of exclusion can cause loneliness and make one feel ostracized, but my mom didn’t let that stop her from her goal. The photo I have chosen today is a picture of her on her graduation day. She went to two colleges in California: CSU San Bernardino and UC Irvine. She persevered through the teasing and the isolation and achieved her ambitions. The gown she wears symbolizes to me that anything is possible with the right mindset and self-preservation. 

Place(s): Thailand, Irvine, San Bernadino
Year: 1995

– JA

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant