This picture tells the story of my uncle, who due to poverty in his hometown in Mexico, he crossed the Mexican-American border at the age of 16. He had heard stories that in the US there was plenty of work for all people no matter their education or age, which was what motivated him to leave his family and search for a better opportunity. He somehow arrived in Los Angeles, where he would often go outside Home Depots to find people who needed workers to do manual labor. For many years he worked for other people as a gardener until he was able to fund his own Gardening company. Without any school he managed to keep a company and expand it. He became the income for his parents, brothers, and sisters including myself. He took me into his house so I could attend high school. My uncle is a savior for me. He allowed me to have a high school education and therefore I’m the first one in the family to attend a 4-year University. This was possible thanks to my uncle’s work motivation. He has worked for approximately 40 years now and keeps on going. I hope that one day I can give back a little of what he has given me and my family. The Mattock represents the knowledge he carried from Mexico, where he was a farmer, and amplified here in the US as a gardener. My uncle is just one of many stories of people who built this country. Just like the Irish, Chinese, and other Mexicans, my uncle risked his life in an immense and dangerous voyage to reach a promised land of jobs and opportunities because his homeland was unable to provide those jobs.
– Erick Salazar